Loyalties Part 2
Story: John Ostrander
Art: Jan Duursema
Inking: Dan Parsons
Coloring: Brad Anderson
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Jan Duursema, Brad Anderson
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (06/28/2008)
Cade, Jariah and Deliah are visiting Uncle Rawk and his family on Iego. But after the report of Darth Krayt's attack on Dac is shown on the holonews, Cade feels he is putting his friends in danger. An old Jedi-turned-bounty-hunter friend of Cade's named Azlyn Rae helps them against Imperials who come to investigate, and then Cade takes her with him and his crew aboard the Mynock to the secret location of a hidden Jedi temple which Rawk revealed to them. But some other parties seem to be interested in this information as well.
Wating to lay low for a while and escape the galaxy, Cade Skywalker and his two companions Jariah Syn and Deliah Blue spend a few days at Rawk's Nest, the nearest place to a home they have. Actually, this issue opens 4 days after their arrival last issue. While Rawk's "kits" are playing remote in the pool, Cade goes in the workshop with the old man where he tells him what happened since they last saw each other, which is basically the story of the whole series so far. Of course, old Bantha Rawk doesn't agree with the choices Cade has made, such as infiltrating the Sith temple by himself, bu when Cade mentions that he also met his mother, Rawk feels like he owes him an explanation. Turns out Rawk used to be named Nat Skywalker, Kol's older brother and Cade's true uncle, although aside from his wife Droo his family doesn't know. Rawk did know about Morrigan Corde, although he barely knew her when she left Kol. Cade was very young at the time and was being raised by his uncle on Ossus in preparation for becoming a Jedi. There doesn't seem to be any good reason for Rawk not to have revealed her existence, although he hasn't followed her career and had no clue if she was still around.
As they come back to the rest of the group, including Rawk and Droo's kits Skeeto, Ahnah (who is infatuated with Syn) and Micah (an adopted non-Human with cybernetic legs), some bad news reach them via a holovid report. They then watch Darth Krayt's message from the Mon Calamari world of Dac that was shown in issue #22 followed by a wanted report for a terrorist named Cade Skywalker. Too bad for Rawk's friend and client the Mon Calamari shipmaster Ure'monbarak to whom he was supposed to deliver some new starship drives. Cade then confirms to his cousins that the reports are true and he is a Skywalker, and that he and his friends have to leave because they're putting everyone in danger. But Rawk insists that Cade sleep on it. During the night, Cade feels an urge he hadn't felt in a while and sneaks back to the Mynock where he hid a deathstick. He is also visited by the spirits of Luke Skywalker (returning from issue #12) and his father Kol (last seen in issue #18) warning him not to use the drug and be wary of an upcoming danger. At least this scene offers the explanation that Kol hasn't appeared to his son in 7 years because of Cade's anger issues.
While Cade's tripping on the deathstick outside, he is attacked by the mysterious bounty hunter named Azlyn Rae who has followed him from Socorro in the last issue. She easily overtakes him but Rawk intervenes, forcing Azlyn to use the Force to defend herself. When Cade comes to, he reveals that he knows Azlyn from their old Jedi Academy days on Ossus. Over a late night cup of caf with the other adults, Cade and Azlyn say that they thought each other dead for all those years, but when Azlyn heard about the bounty on a Cade Skywalker she thought she'd investigate to see if her old friend would deserve to be captured or if he was still a good guy. Obviously she still likes him so she decided on the latter. Before Deliah Blue can begin to get jealous, the long-range sensors alert them of an Imperial Star Destroyer in orbit. The group decide to hide Cade, Syn and Blue (though I have no clue how they manage to hide the Mynock) and thanks to Azlyn's mind tricks Captain Gurlock is convinced that the reports of Cade's presence on this planet (provided by the Black Sun pirates who attacked Rawk's Nest last issue) were false.
Cade finally decides to leave, and his uncle tells him that he has to change his identity, his ship and his crew and lay low. But Cade is not one for running. His own plan is to kill Darth Krayt, the one who put the bounty on his head in the first place. This is the only way Cade sees that he will be left alone to live as he wants. But he needs some allies, and that's when Rawk reveals the existence of a hidden Jedi temple. The last page shows Azlyn contacting the Imperial Knights Antares Draco, Ganner Krieg and Marasiah Fel and telling them about the hidden temple. So this is the mission the three Knights were preparing for last issue. And apparently, the double-crossing Azlyn wasn't telling the truth when she said she became a bounty hunter after her Jedi Master was killed. She is actually an Imperial Knight on an undercover mission. The three Knights don't seem interested in Cade Skywalker, and they don't seem to trust Azlyn although they are perfectly willing to investigate the existence of this temple.
I'm starting to think that most of Cade's bad decisions are the result of bad scripting. I was very frustrated when Cade didn't leave the planet as soon as he heard the news report. Of course he had to stay one more night and of course the Imperials came by. Cade himself said that the Dark Sun dudes could report seeing the Mynock, so why does he stay and put everyone in danger? Of course it all turns out well in the end, but not without creating some far-fetched scenario that Imperials would not detect a ship like the Mynock in the vicinity (although this could be explained by Rawk's workshop having some kind of sensor-jammer). But this is not the only time something like that happened. What is good in the series though, and is well exemplified in this issue, is the writer's ability to introduce new characters and make them fit perfectly with the on-going story. I mean, I buy that never-before-mentioned characters from Cade's past keep popping up, mostly due to the writing and dialogue being convincing. The stories are filled with themes of alliances and betrayals, friendships and enmities, and even love and family. That is enough to keep the series interesting, and make me forget the annoying plot holes that occasionally come up in the storyline.
This issue has a lot of characters, and Duursema handles them all equally well. Most of them are Human, but there is a great variety among them, and the character designs are incredible. I feel instantly interested by the looks of these characters, and they feel as part of the Star Wars universe. They are very convincing, and they are identifiable upon first looking at them. As soon as you see Bantha Rawk, you know he's some kind of fatherly fringer/mechanic who's had a hard life. Same thing with Azlyn Rae, you just know she's a bounty hunter from her suit of armor. The entire look of the planets and starships just have a great feel to them, thanks in part to the inking and coloring as well. Duursema's talent is a major factor in making the series as succesful as it is. Too bad she can't illustrate every single issue. A few characters get punched in the face in this issue, and the "recoil" poses remind me a lot of the great Al Williamson's style, which is not a bad style to be inspired by.
On a side note, Artoo has an even smaller cameo in this one, for a total of one panel. Wouldn't is be funny to see Luke's spirit next to Artoo? Although I doubt a droid would be able to see a Force ghost, but the ghost can see the droid.
A short R&R for Cade and crew, but it's not long before they head for adventure again. This issue reveals more about Cade's past allies, so it has to be read.
Rating: 7 / 10 Recommended