Knights of the Old Replay: Commencement and Flashpoint

And so the KOTOR project actually begins! Interestingly enough, we start with that I remember least. Despite making it my goal to get all of these comic omnibuses as Dark Horse released them, I haven’t actually cracked them open yet so it’s been a very long time since I’ve read these comics. Essentially, I remember the first arc and that’s uhhh mostly it. (Look, it’s hard keeping so much Star Wars in your brain when you read almost everything regardless of era.)

Point is… this is going to be fun!

Commencement
Script by John Jackson Miller, Art by Brian Ching and Travel Foreman, Colors by Michael Atiyeh, Lettering by Michael Heisler

When you make a list of the Jedi that you don’t want to be, the first name on the list should probably be Anakin Skywalker. The second name on the list should be Zayne Carrick. There are a lot of different ways that you could subtitle this first comic arc. Zayne Carrick: Not Great At This Jedi Thing. Zayne Carrick: Having A Really Bad Day. Zayne Carrick: Doesn’t Deserve This Crap. Zayne Carrick: Proud Member Of The You-Try-So-Hard Club. Somehow, they’re all accurate. That poor boy.

Commencement really shows how screwed up some of the Jedi Order was even thousands of years before the Republic fell.   Four powerful Jedi Consular seers go out of their way to try and have a big vision of the future and then they and another Jedi somehow decide that the only reasonable response to said horrible vision is to murder all of their padawans. THAT IS NOT NORMAL. Oh and hey, Master Vandar, buddy: I’m looking at you too! No wonder Revan and Malak gave the Council the bird. THE JEDI COUNCIL SUCKS, PASS IT ON. (Except for Master Kavar. He can get it.) I really don’t know how no one picked up on how deranged these Consulars were before this but oh well.

Bright side… Super Old Republic Times means that we get to see some rad costume designs. Everyone gets to dress way more colorfully and be individually expressive with their robes. I am definitely a fan! The artists are going to switch off but I consistently love how vibrant the galaxy is.

Commencement makes me want to yell at the characters a little bit more than I remembered but it still functions really well as the set up story arc. It’s hard not to feel invested in Zayne when he’s just trying to do the right thing and survive. Gryph though… Gryph’s just funny.

HENCHMAN! On to the next arc!

Flashpoint
Script by John Jackson Miller, Art by Dustin Weaver, Colors by Michael Atiyeh, Lettering by Michael Heisler

Somehow, this arc title is not JJM making a sly comics reference as apparently the Flashpoint crossover event happened four years AFTER this arc was published. That’s not going to stop me from making a Flash joke though! It’s probably Barry’s fault that Zayne’s timeline got this messed up anyways.

One of the neat things about reading this omnibus style (as opposed to floppies or trades) is that there’s no break between issues. The only divisions are between arcs. It’s a very different reading experience than I’m used to and really helps the story flow. It would be so easy to just get completely lost in these omnibuses for an entire day or two.

I hate it when stories are just non-stop Jedi nonsense so it’s nice that this second arc is very deliberately not about the homicidal masters. The Jedi are still there but we get Mandalorians! Good ol’ Mandalorians who just want to kill people. (Okay so that might be a gross oversimplification.) I like the introduction of the Mandalorian War as it slowly starts to become more and more of an actual war. It’s insane that the Jedi Council still wants to stay out of the war when the Mandos are capturing their people and sending them to their mad scientist Demagol. (I love that they even have a mad scientist type especially because he wears armor while doing his science stuff.)

The absolute BEST THING about this arc is the introduction of Squint aka Alek aka Future Malak. I may have a TON of feelings about Revan but Malak is definitely tied into those. I love that JJM used Alek here and let us see him before he goes to war and before he is corrupted. He’s definitely got the Jedi hero part down so far especially as he puts himself between Demagol and Jarael repeatedly. I always love getting to see the adventures of the “side” characters but a part of me really wishes that we could get everything about Malak and Revan in this timeframe. Not that I’ve spoken at length about that before or anything.

Oh! And Elbee the droid! There is literally no story that’s not made better by a comic relief and/or homicidal droid. It is known.

As far as cliffhangers go, I have positively no memory of what happens with their wayward Mandalorian stowaway. I’m going to assume that it has something to do with Jarael even though they only interact for a hot second in the issue. I have a feeling it won’t be good and am therefore concerned.

And hey! That’s it for this week! Tune in next week when uhhhh I think more bad things happen to Zayne and his former master probably continues to be a dick. You can follow my progress on Twitter at @chaosbria and via the hashtag #HKExcursion which I promise to try and use more often as I read.

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