Star Wars #24
Infinity's End 2 (of 4)
Scripting: Pat Mills
Pencilling: Ram?n F. Bachs
Inking: Raul Fernandez
Coloring: Dave McCaig
Lettering: Vickie Williams
Cover: Andrew Robinson, Matt Hollingsworth
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (12/20/2009)
On Dathomir, Zalem and her witch clan are digging for an ancient Star Chamber that was built long ago by the Kwa. The attack releases a guardian whuffa worm, which sufaces and attacks the slaves working on the star temple above. Quin vanquishes the guardian, which earns him and his friend Yag Shusin a promotion to lizard keeper. The lizards are in fact Kwi, descendants of the Kwa, whose right fore paws are being cut off by Zalem's slaves in order to be used as keys for the activation chambers. Quin rebels against this butchery and cuts down the offenders, prompting him to reveal his identity as a Jedi and to accelerate his plan: Yag knows where how to get control of one of the subterines used for digging, and Quin plans to get inside one to access the Star Chamber. But he is distracted by Zalem's diformed daughter Ros "The Rancor" Lai whom he follows and discovers she has plans of her own, and they don't include interference from a Jedi.
Last issue, we saw that the witches are using converted star cruiser (including Yag Shushin's) to dig beneath the surface of the star temple. Now we see what their objective is: an underground Star Chamber. We also find out, from two exposition scenes (one on Coruscant between Mace Windu and Saesee Tiin on page 10, and one when Quin does psychometry on one of the Kwi slaves on page 17), that a source of power was contained inside an underground chamber that was built by the Kwa and they used that power to travel the universe through "Infinity Gates". The star temples were built to protect and control the gates, and when the Kwa society was declining they sealed up access to the chamber and bred giant whuffa worms to guard it. Zalem's digging causes one of the guardians to attacks, but she repels it with a proton torpedo. The guardian worm then heads for the suface where the slaves, including Quin and Yag, are working on digging up the star temple.
The worm immediately starts eating up slaves, and in order to stop the beast and protect his indentity, Quin gets himself swallowed and kills the wuffa from inside. Yag witnesses the lightsaber attack and realizes his friend is a Jedi. Quin's exploit brings him to the attention of the matriarch Zalem who makes him and his friend "lizard keepers", basically cruel slaves who like to torture the Kwi, descendants of the Kwa who look like blue lizards. Zalem is with her main slavemaster Vonya, and another witch then drags in Ros Lai whose death last issue was greatly exaggerated. Still, Lai allowed a rival clan to almost succeed in stealing their male slaves, so Vonya feels "The Rancor" should be punished. Zalem doesn't object, and Ros Lai is fed a painful artery worm.
At their new post, Quin and Yag are coralling some Kwi and hear some pained screms coming from an enclosed pen. Yag explains that Zalem is getting the paws cut off from the sentient lizards so she can use the appendages to operate the temple machines. But she is only having limited success because the Kwi are not genetically the same as their ancestors who built the temple. Quin is outrages and proceeds to chop down the cruel slaves with his lightsaber, acting not very Jedi-like. Yag also holds his own, fighting with only his bare fists. Quin then frees all the Kwi and sends Yag to retrieve one of the witches' subterines so they can go below to the Star Chamber. Meanwhile, Quin follows Ros Lai and she leads him into one of the ancient traps of the temple. He manages to get out and finds a not-so-diformed Ros Lai talking to her Jedi father's ghost (whether Quin sees the ghost or not is not clear). He offers to unite their forces since they both want to take down Zalem, but discovers that "The Rancor" is only looking to take Zalem's place after the Star Chamber is open. She then proceeds to Force choke him.
This issue again has a lot of action and humor. While crafting an intriguing story, Mills creates a lighter tone than say a Tim Truman or a John Ostrander, which sometimes can go a bit over the edge. One example is when Quin attacks the lizard keepers who have small laser cutting tools. Quin activates his lightsaber which is 3 times bigger causing a bit of an awkward moment. That's acceptably funny. But then Quin proceeds to slice those guys up mercilessly (sure it was self-defense but he did provoke them and they are also slaves) and at the end he says "Chop and drop". I'm anxious to see how that Infinity Gate and Star Chamber business will turn out, because it seems like such a powerful cosmic tool would have surely fallen into the hands of the Empire in later years.
Bachs' style really fits this type of story: lots of action and drama. I really love the look of the whuffa worm with its nasty jagged teeth. When Quin slices its brain sac from the inside with his lightsaber, Yag's expression is priceless and it's hard to show emotion on a Givin face. The witches have a cool look; Zalem seems to be based on a concept sketch from The Phantom Menace but the other witches all look like Vonya so it's hard sometimes to differentiate them especially in the opening scene aboard the subterine cruisers. The fight with the lizard keepers is pretty cool and cinematic. I like that when various limbs and torsos get sliced by a lightsaber they are cauterized, leaving no trace of blood. another highlight is the two guises of Ros Lai: she goes from one really ugly woman to a beautiful and evil witch. She looks pretty calm as she announce to Quin that she is going to kill him. Really good work overall.
Getting closer to revealing the secret of the Kwa.
Rating: 7 / 10