‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Lost Tribe of the Sith: Spiral’ (2012) (Comic book review)

During the Expanded Universe era, the Bantam/Del Rey books and Dark Horse comics didn’t collaborate too often, but when they did, it was often a treat. A prime example is John Jackson Miller’s “Lost Tribe of the Sith: Spiral” (2012). It spins off from “Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories,” nine novellas that give us the multi-millennial backstory of the sheltered Sith culture that finally springs itself on the galaxy in “Fate of the Jedi.”

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‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘The Clone Wars’ digests Nos. 10-11 (2013) (Comic book reviews)

 

“The Clone Wars” digests, like their parent show, came to a premature conclusion in 2013 with Disney’s purchase and rebooting of the franchise. As with the TV show, the digests were starting to be more consistently good when they ended. No. 9, “The Sith Hunters,” which I reviewed in a previous post, is the best and most essential issue, as it fills in Darth Maul’s story between “The Phantom Menace” and “The Clone Wars.”

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‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Knight Errant’ (2010-12) (Comic book reviews)

  

“Knight Errant” (2010-12), John Jackson Miller’s second “Star Wars” saga after “Knights of the Old Republic,” has one of the darkest possible premises: Lone Jedi Knight Kerra Holt tries to gather up slaves from Sith territory to bring to Republic space as refugees. This is a time – one generation before the “Darth Bane” novels — when the Sith are so dominant in one part of the galaxy that the Republic gives up on it, even shutting down communications relays. Kerra’s mission is not to win, but simply to save lives.

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‘Star Wars’ flashback: Ranking the 6 ‘Adventures’ digests (2009-11) (Comic book reviews)

 

Dark Horse’s “Star Wars Adventures,” a series of six comic digests from 2009-11, seems like a good way to experience character-focused stories set during the time of the original trilogy. However, these comics are aggressively aimed at kids, so there’s not a lot of depth for adult readers. Here are my rankings of the six volumes:

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‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘The Old Republic: The Lost Suns’ (2011) (Comic book review)

“The Old Republic” franchise – which is cranking out expansions to the game to this day – used the platforms of comics and novels primarily as teasers for the game from 2010-12, with almost all of the stories being standalones. The exception came at the very end of the tie-in material rollout, when the last comic-book series, the five-issue “The Lost Suns” (2011), led into the last novel, Drew Karpyshyn’s “Annihilation” (2012).

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‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘The Old Republic’ webcomics (2010) (Comic book reviews)

 

There are two ways to approach video game tie-in comics – in a way that appeals to comic book fans, or in a way that appeals to players of the game. The “Knights of the Old Republic” game (2003) used the former approach, as John Jackson Miller told a coherent and engaging 55-issue serial, with the game’s Republic versus Mandalorians war as the backdrop. “The Old Republic” game — which launched in 2011 and is still going strong, and which followed “Knights” on the “Star Wars” timeline – used comics to flesh out specific events of the Republic versus Sith Empire war rather than telling an ongoing narrative.

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‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Knights of the Old Republic’ Issues 47-50 (2009-10) and ‘War’ (2012) (Comic book reviews)

 

John Jackson Miller doles out the answers to long-simmering mysteries fast and furious in the series-concluding “Knights of the Old Republic” Issues 47-50 (2009-10). The author’s meticulous crafting of the plot pays off in this final arc, titled “Demon” (illustrated by Brian Ching), while he still keeps personalities, relationships and funny moments at the fore.

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‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Knights of the Old Republic’ Issues 38-46 (2009) (Comic book reviews)

With Zayne no longer hunted by Republic and Jedi officials, the focus of “Knights of the Old Republic” turns to Jarael in Issues 38-46 (2009). Earlier in the series, Jarael learned about her ancestry as an Arkanian offshoot, but because she didn’t grow up on Arkania, she never experienced that racism personally, and those issues weren’t truly her origin story. She had been keeping her personal history from her friends (and us readers) until the end of “Dueling Ambitions” (Issues 39-41), when we learn she had a good reason for secrecy: Jarael used to be a slaver.

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‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Knights of the Old Republic’ Issues 29-37 (2008-09) (Comic book reviews)

Nearly three full years into its run, “Knights of the Old Republic” finally wraps up the “framing of Zayne Carrick” arc. It’s satisfying in the sense that Zayne’s name is cleared and he can now move freely throughout the galaxy without fear of arrest (at least for that particular crime), but it also illustrates a common problem with stories about Jedi Masters and justice in the “Star Wars” universe: namely, that they are above the law. As I review issues Issues 29-37 (2008-09), I’m not sure if I should give credit to John Jackson Miller for illuminating this problem, or if I should be peeved that he doles out a light sentence to Master Lucien Draay and his cohorts.

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‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Vector’ (2008) (Comic book review)

Dark Horse editor Randy Stradley begins his introduction to the first trade-paperback volume of “Vector” (2008) by apologizing for the “crass commercialism” of the crossover project. But he needn’t have apologized. The idea of a story that travels through the four ongoing “Star Wars” comics of the time may have been commercial, but it was also just plain cool.

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