Siege of Saleucami Part 2 (of 4)
Story: John Ostrander
Art: Jan Duursema
Inking: Dan Parsons
Coloring: Brad Anderson
Lettering: Michael David Thomas
Cover: Jan Duursema, Brad Anderson
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (04/28/2005)
While a battle rages in a Separatist-occupied city on Saleucami, Quinlan is sent by Count Dooku to kill his former master Tholme, who has been sabotaging the Separatist's operation for months. Meanwhile, a group of Anzati infiltrate the Republic encampment to assasinate Oppo Rancisis, the Jedi Master whose battle medition has been preventing the Separatists from attaining victory. Will either of these killings succeed, or will both?
This issue is all about diversions: Quinlan uses the battle as a diversion to separate himself from the Jedi and meet with Count Dooku's forces; Dooku creates a battle another battle as a diversion so Oppo Rancisis goes into meditation; and Sora Bulq uses Anazti assassins as a diversion to sneak up on Oppo Rancisis.
My doubts about Quinlan's motivations are confirmed in this issue, as he talks with Tholme. He doesn't really want to kill his Master, as he asks for his help in killing the second Sith, Sora Bulq, which has been Quinlan's goal all along. But he will if that will help him achieve his goal of proving his loyalty to Dooku. He won't let the Jedi or the Separatists get in his way. He is on a quest to save the galaxy. The exchange between the two is truly well-crafted by Ostrander. Tholme's disappointment in training Quinlan, Quinlan's determination to succeed, and his admition of guilt are all truly poignant and believable. Quinlan has become quite the complex character in the course of this ongoing series, (Spoilers! highlight to read)and that will make his demise in Revenge of the Sith all the more poignant.
The eventual duel with Tholme seems to be very inspired by the Anakin vs. Obi-Wan duel from Revenge of the Sith: the fight takes place over a chasm of fire, and when Tholme falls, even though Quinlan didn't cause the fall he doesn't try to save him either. The difference here is that Tholme probably doesn't survive, which is not spoiling anything as we all know that no Jedi must survive the Clone Wars.
Oppo Rancisis' fight is way more impressive, in my opinion. For starters, we haven't seen Oppo do much until now, aside from sitting on his chair in the Jedi Council room. Here we see him in his full fighting form, using his lightsaber and serpentine tail with deadly results. I never even noticed before that he had four arms! This old Jedi Master who appears so peaceful fights so savagely that he actually kills a group of five highly-trained Anzati assassins. Too bad the fight exhausted him too much to feel the presence of Sora Bulq behind him. Another Jedi Council member to die in an EU source (after Yarael Poof in the Zam Wesel one-shot and Yaddle in Jedi Quest #6: The Shadow Trap.)
The ongoing battle between the Republic and the Morgukai clones takes second stage, as this issue centers on those two dramatic fights. And the way they are both cut together like in a movie, alternating between each from one page to the next, once again shows that Ostrander is a master of storytelling. Another favorite sequence of mine is when Tholme is communicating with T'ra Saa, Yoda and Zao while meditating, and then a dark storm announces Quinlan's approach.
The death of two important Jedi Masters, what does Ostrander have in store for the next two issues?
I must admit the cover art is really impressive, one of my top ten favorite covers, although the fight between Oppo and Sora doesn't really happen this way (I wish!) It doesn't mean that the actual fight in the comic is not as good. On the contrary, in the space of four pages Oppo Rancisis has quickly become one of the more interesting Jedi characters thanks to Duursema's amazing depiction his fighting abilities.
I can't give any more praise to Duursema's artistic genius that I haven't given already. One cool bit I'd like to point out though is in the first panel on page 17, there is a blue Twi'lek Jedi making a non-speaking cameo in the background, and it is clearly not Aayla. Could it be Xiaan Amersu, who was last seen in Jedi: Aayla Secura and whose master was killed back in "The Hunt for Aurra Sing"? Also check out the TX-130 fighter tank from the Clone War video game.
Some major events unfold in this issue.
Rating: 8.5 / 10 Highly Recommended