Story: John Ostrander
Art: Brandon Badeaux
Inks: Brandon Badeaux
Coloring: Brad Anderson
Lettering: Michael David Thomas
Cover: Tomás Giorello
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (02/24/2005)
Chancellor Palpatine honors the death of his long-time friend, Master Ronhar Kim, who died at the Battle of Merson. But events from the past may reveal that the way they met and became friends in the first place might have been part of a bigger plot...
This gripping, self-contained story uses the flashback-within-a-flashback style of narration. The tale starts with the death of a famous Jedi, to how he died, to how his enemy knew where he would be, to how his enemy learned where he's going, to how he met Palpatine at his father's funeral, to how his father died... you get the idea. The "enemy" I mentioned of course is Dooku and Darth Sidious. However, the events are set up so we clearly know that Chancellor Palpatine is the only one who knows Ronhar Kim has a plan to uncover the Sith rumored to be among the Senate, and he also knows that Kim is going to Merson. So how could Darth Sidious know something that only Palpatine knows? Unless... And at the end when we find out Kim was the son of the Naboo Senator whom Palpatine replaced, the plot thikens.
The story also has a fair share of nods and references: the Jedi go to Merson to patrol for pirates (a reference to a 25 year old tale from issue #24 of the Marvel series, also previously referred to in a HoloNet News story); Senator Viento is an early supporter of Palpatine's who vouched for the Chancellor to have his own personal guard (leading to the eventual presence of the red Royal Guards; Ostrander probably saw no need to create a new Senator for such a minor role, so he used Viento who was killed last issue, but here he appears 10 years earlier); we find out how Palpatine became the Senator of Naboo; all fun little bits of info that will certainly be appreciated by fans.
This type of structure of reverse chronology can be sometimes confusing, but here Ostrander uses it to reveal the intrigue piece by piece until it reaches a more than satisfying conclusion.
Is it a coincidence that this is my favorite issue since #61, and they are both illustrated by Badeaux? Of course Ostrander's stories are a major part of it, but Badeaux's art, almost unfinished although he does use inks in all the right places, really contributes to its appeal. Last time I remarked that is style is pseudo-European; here it looks inspired by Japanese manga. The colors by Anderson have to be seen to be believed. The combination of the two creates a visual feast that alone makes this issue worth buying.
An amazing story, full of Palpatine/Sidious' machinations and told in a different style. The art is amazing too. My second all-time favorite.
Rating: 9.5 / 10 Highly Recommended