Storms Part 1
Story: John Ostrander, Jan Duursema
Script: John Ostrander
Pencilling: Jan Duursema
Inking: Dan Parsons
Coloring: Brad Anderson
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Daniel Dos Santos
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (09/08/2009)
Cade brings a dying Azlyn Rae to his aunt Droo, who is a healer, at his uncle Bantha Rawk's compound on Kiffex. He is determined for he to live even if she doesn't want to. Meanwhile on Korriban, a plot is undergoing where Darth Wyyrlock wnts to make the other Sith believe that Darth Krayt is still alive to maintain order and peace among the One Sith Empire.
This issue is pretty much the aftermath of "Vector", taking place right after issue #31. Darth Krayt is still apparently very dead, but Darth Wyyrlock brings his body to Korriban to put it in stasis. The purpose of that is to preserve the Sith Lord's body and pretend that he is just under one of his regular healing trances so the other Sith won't know their Master is dead and fall into chaos. Wyyrlock's goal doesn't seem to be to take control of the One Sith; rather, he seems sincere in wanting to preserve Krayt's goals, at least for now. And it doesn't look too weird to have Wyyrlock act as the leader while Krayt is in stasis: this is how it's been done for decades. In this issue, we even meet another Wyyrlock-in-training, Wyyrlock's daughter Saarai. She protects the stasis chamber and blocks the way for Darth Stryfe when he demanded to see his Master. After an intense fight where Stryfe is loosing, Wyyrlock stops his daughter and brings Stryfe inside. He assures Stryfe that their Emperor is still alive, and secures his loyalty.
Meantime, back to our regular program. At the end of "Vector", Azlyn Rae was critically injured by Krayt's Force lightning and Cade wanted to take her to his aunt Droo on Kiffex. We go back to Bantha Rawk's compound (last seen in issue #24) where the Mynock lands in a hurry. Cade kept her alive all along by using his Dark Side healing power, even though Azlyn begged him to let her die in peace. Now he makes Rawk promise he will do anything to keep her alive. When Cade wakes up later, recovering from his own loss of energy, he finds himself barred from helping Droo when Bantha refuses to let him use the Dark Side. Feeling helpless, Cade decides to go in town get a drink with his buddy Jariah Syn. On the way, they meet Shado Vao who decides to leave on his own ship to go back to the Jedi Temple and report Darth Krayt's death. Meanwhile, finding that Azlyn has no will to live but keeping true to his word, Bantha Rawk decides to place her in a cybernetic suit prototype that he conveniently built for Kiffu Guardians in order to repay Sheyf Zharia Vos (yes, that Vos) for her hospitality. Droo fears that this may turn Azlyn into the next Darth Vader even though she never displayed any tendency toward the Dark Side.
I was a bit disappointed by this simplistic story. It feels like the writers were out of ideas and decided to add drama by keeping Azlyn alive against her will. The results are predictable: she will hate Cade for what she has become when all she wanted was to die. And the thing about Bantha Rawk having a suit to preserve her life is way too much of a coincidence. In order to compensate for the lack of story, they had to write in some exciting visuals like the fierce storms between Kiffu and Kiffex when the Mynock arrives, and the fight between Darth Stryfe and Saarai. While I was never a huge fan of the series (it has its ups and downs) and the main characters, I've read better stories than this from Ostrander. This is not his most inspired work.
NOTE: This issue is the subject of a Making of a Comic feature on DarkHorse.com. Click on the link to see to process of creating the first 6 pages, from script to pencils, inks, coloring and lettering.
With this issue lacking in the story department, what we have is the art. And Duursema never disappoints. Combined with the inking by Parsons and colors by Anderson, this is certainly more of a visual feast. As always, the characters, backdrops, vehicles, etc... are represented in a realistic and exciting way, the action scenes are intense and the panel layouts and visual angles greatly enhances the storytelling. It's safe to say that the artwork compensates for the story's flaws by making it feel like a cinematic experience. It's the equivalent of a Hollywood big-budget effects movie.
Cade wants to save Azlyn at all costs, even if it makes her a monster. What will happen next?
Rating: 6.5 / 10