Knights of the Old Replay: Demon and War

How to make yourself finally commit to going through all the omnibuses of a comic you’ve really wanted to read: do a project! I’m glad that I finally went through these because it was definitely a treat! But hey… there are two more story arcs to talk about!

Demon
Script by John Jackson Miller, Art by Brian Ching, Colors by Michael Atiyeh, Lettering by Michael Heisler

A lot happens in this arc. Like… A LOT. Or rather… maybe it would be more appropriate to say that we learn about a hell of a lot in this arc. Demon, despite not being the actual last arc in these omnibuses, was the last arc in the original KOTOR comic run which lasted 50 issues. If you know comics, you know that’s a solidly respectable run especially for something that’s not creator owned.

All of this, however, is beside the point. It turns out that Rohlan has actually been Demagol since Flashpoint and Demagol is actually Antos Wyrick (aka one of the teachers at the school Jarael attended before she was captured) and the REAL Rohlan has been in a coma in the custody of the Republic who believe that he’s Demagol. Everyone still with me? Good because there were a few minutes while reading where even I got lost. I knew there wasn’t something quite right about Rohlan though! I just knew it. He was too creepy even amongst the other creepy men in Jarael’s life. (I’M LOOKING AT YOU, DARTH SQUIGGLYPANTS.) Continue reading

Knights of the Old Replay: Faithful Execution through Destroyer

Back when I first started this project, I thought that I’d read through most of these comics way back in the day. Turns out I was definitely wrong because I’ve remembered absolutely nothing since they took down the crazy cabal and even some from before that. (I may have been a little bit rubbish about keeping up with and reading Star Wars comics back in my younger days.) But hey! That’s part of what makes this project fun! I’m getting to experience stuff that’s both brand new and stuff that I know like the back of my hand.

Faithful Execution
Script by John Jackson Miller, Art by Dean Zachary, Colors by Michael Atiyeh, Lettering by Michael Heisler

Faithful Execution does a lot to reset the board, so to speak. Actually, I feel like it does even more to do so than Prophet Motive did and Dean Zachary’s art has a lot to do with that since it’s so visually distinctive from the other work we’ve seen in this book. It’s a relatively small-scale murder mystery story but it does a lot to reup the overall story’s intrigue. Now I really want to know more about Zayne’s vacation and what the heck is going on with Jarael.

More importantly though… someone needs to give Elbee a hug.
Continue reading

Knights of the Old Replay: Exalted through Prophet Motive

There is a slight chance that you will be able to tell how tired I was when I wrote this column. Just a slight one. But that should definitely not detract from my unbridled enthusiasm for some of these issues because hot damn, KOTOR! Hot damn!

Exalted
Script by John Jackson Miller, Art by Bong Dazo, Colors by Michael Atiyeh, Lettering by Michael Heisler

Another one bites the dust DUN DUN Another one bites the dust DUN DUN Another one gone and another one gone Another one bites the dust!

See your way out of that one, Feln! Actually, it should have been pretty easy… common sense says that blowing up a giant warehouse full of Sith objects isn’t a great idea if you’re going for a contained explosion.

The crazy busy pages seem to be Bong Dazo’s niche for this book. None of the other artists on this book manage to capture the chaos of a fight quite like he can. It’s starting to feel like his trademark.

I really don’t have much to say about this arc. Maybe it’s because I read it while stuck in a never-ending loop of Christmas hold music and my brain just went numb. That’s probably it. No wait! I do want to point out that letting Lucien on the Council is just Dumb with a capital D no matter what Vrook and Vandar think they’re being oh so clever about.

Okay, now I’m done. Continue reading

Knights of the Old Replay: Daze of Hate through Vector

One of the fun things about doing this retrospective is that a creator just might pop his head up with some commentary. Last post, I mentioned that Days of Fear/Nights of Anger felt like one big story. Turns out that they are! Those two arcs plus the first two I’m covering in this post are just all one big story split into bite sized chunks for the retailers. (Thank you to the esteemed John Jackson Miller for this insight!) It’s a shame that the entire story couldn’t be in the same omnibus but that’s the way of comics, I suppose.

Daze of Hate
Script by John Jackson Miller, Art by Bong Dazo, Colors by Michael Atiyeh, Lettering by Michael Heisler

I will not ship Alek and Jarael I will not ship Alek and Jarael I will not ship Alek and Jarael I will not— damnit. Here’s the thing: I’m fairly sure that I didn’t have any strong, ship feelings about these two when I first read this comic. I don’t know what changed now unless JJM has some magical ability to go back in time after making me fall for Hera/Kanan to make me fall for another ship? (I used to live such a happy ship-free life, kids.)

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Knights of the Old Replay: Homecoming through Nights of Anger

The Awful Adventures of Zayne Carrick continue and, well, we actually get a really neat mixture of stories and character backstories. I might be doing this whole thing backwards though because I’m pretty sure I wrote the most about the shortest arc this time around. Oh well?

On with the KOTOR!

Homecoming
Script by John Jackson Miller, Art by Brian Ching, Colors by Michael Atiyeh, Lettering by Michael Heisler

Homecoming is really the only thing that this standalone issue could have been called. Lucien and the other Masters return to Coruscant to report back to both the Jedi Council and their manipulators: Lucien’s own mother (Krynda) and Haazen (a failed padawan.) We get a hell of a lot of backstory and our very first encounter with the person who will become Revan! Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Go/No-Go: Rise of the Empire

nasa-mission-control-3Welcome back to Go/No-Go, Tosche Station’s regular feature where we offer our spoiler-free opinion as to whether or not you should spend your hard-earned money on a book, film, or other entertainment. Today on the launch pad: Star Wars: Rise of the Empire.  It’s a unique book we’re looking at today as its a compilation of A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, Tarkin by James Luceno, and three brand new short stories by Miller, Melissa Scott, and Jason Fry to link them all together.  We’ve reviewed both books in the past but is this compilation worth your money? To mission control for the verdict!

Bria: First things first, this book is huge.  It’s about the size of Game of Thrones for reference but it’s absolutely worth every page.  One of the complaints I’ve seen about the new canon is that nothing really links together.  The three short stories in this book should remove that complaint as one could easily sit down and read Lords of the Sith, the entirety of Rise of the Empire, and then Aftermath and it would flow awesomely.  Can we discuss how rad it is that Rae Sloane has become the cohesive glue that ties together to many of these stories in addition to being a kickass character?  Reading about her at the Battle of Endor was just spectacular.  Melissa Scott does a great job of writing a younger Hera who’s not quite the confident rebel we know from A New Dawn and Rebels but definitely shows her leadership potential and doesn’t forget about her amazing pilot skills.  I even found John Jackson Miller’s story about Tarkin and Vidian to be delightful in its own way.  It’s like watching a chess match between two very confident chess masters from different schools of strategy.  The book is absolutely a must buy if you haven’t picked up one of the two novels yet but is it worth it if you already have? I say yes. Not only its it a nicely put together compilation but the three short stories are just so fun. It’s a strong GO from me.

Nanci: Disclaimer: I have not read Tarkin, nor do I have any plans of doing so soon. (There are way too many other books I haven’t read yet before I play catch up.) A New Dawn is excellent, though, enough to warrant picking up this bind-up if you don’t already have a copy. The short stories, though, are what make this book worth the price of admission. “Mercy Mission” by Melissa Scott ties more into Lords of the Sith (another book I haven’t read, oops), than either of the novels in this bind-up, but it features a young Hera learning the importance of working for the good of the galaxy. You can definitely see how she becomes the young revolutionary we see in A New Dawn and the awesome pilot we see in Rebels. “Bottleneck,” by John Jackson Miller, features characters from both novels forced to work together against their will. Miller does a great job with both Tarkin and Vidian; I found I liked the latter character a lot more in this story than I did in A New Dawn. (Also, the cameo from another A New Dawn character made me very happy.) Last but not least, “The Levers of Power” by Jason Fry makes this book an insta-buy. Rae Sloane at the Battle of Endor is everything you ever expected: bad-ass, in charge, and taking no shit from anybody. Definitely GO and get it, now.

Brian: Right from the start, let me say that if you don’t have either A New Dawn or Tarkin in your library, you should pick up this compilation. That said, I imagine most folks who are reading this review are far more interested in the all-new short stories that are appearing in the book. Mercy Mission is a solid look into a much younger Hera. While there were points where it felt like an incomplete short story that was taken from a larger work, it was still an engaging read. Bottleneck, however, was classic John Jackson Miller. It’s really the Tarkin and Vidian buddy cop story you never knew you needed in your life. The real winner though, and the reason this book is worth every penny, is Levers of Power. I’ve made no secret that I think that Jason Fry is one of the best talents creating Star Wars literature these days. Now, combine that with one of the greatest characters to appear in the new literature canon in Rae Sloane. This is an incredible short story, and it’s one you’re definitely going to want to read. The book would get a go from me just for that, but when everything else is factored in it’s a huge GO.

Flight Director’s Verdict: Rise of the Empire is GO for launch!

Del Rey Updates: Rise of the Empire and Battlefront Descriptions Announced

mill__cvr_all_r1.inddAmong all the Monarchy Discussions and The Force Awakens news drops this week, we’ve also gotten some updates from Del Rey regarding upcoming novel releases.

First, blurbs for the three new short stories in the Rise of the Empire novel bundle have been released.

MERCY MISSION by Melissa Scott
Years before she led the crew of the Ghost, Hera Syndulla was a young pilot looking to make a difference in the galaxy. Hera sets out with Goll — a close ally of her father, Cham Syndulla — on a dangerous mission to help the citizens of her homeworld, Ryloth, now languishing under the might of the Empire.

BOTTLENECK by John Jackson Miller
When Grand Moff Tarkin is tasked by Emperor Palpatine to investigate a dispute slowing Imperial production on a backwater planet, he expects an easy mission. Instead, Tarkin must forge a tense alliance with Count Vidian, the Empire’s newest rising star and a most capable rival. Matching wits and risking betrayal at every turn, the two powerful Imperials duel to gain the upper hand…and elude, at all costs, the price of failure.

THE LEVERS OF POWER by Jason Fry
As Imperial and Rebel forces clash on and above the Forest Moon of Endor, Admiral Rae Sloane commands from the bridge of the Star Destroyer Vigilance. At a time where the stakes could not be higher, Sloane works to protect the Death Star and ensure Imperial victory, all too aware of the uncertain future for the Empire that may lie in the aftermath of the battle.

Young Hera? When Tarkin Met Vidian? ADMIRAL RAE SLOANE AT THE BATTLE OF ENDOR? Sign me up!

Second, Random House released a blurb for Battlefront: Twilight Company, the upcoming video game tie-in from Alexander Freed.

Among the stars and across the vast expanses of space, the Galactic Civil War rages. On the battlefields of multiple worlds in the Mid Rim, legions of ruthless stormtroopers—bent on crushing resistance to the Empire wherever it arises—are waging close and brutal combat against an armada of freedom fighters. In the streets and alleys of ravaged cities, the front-line forces of the Rebel Alliance are taking the fight to the enemy, pushing deeper into Imperial territory and grappling with the savage flesh-and-blood realities of war on the ground.

Leading the charge are the soldiers—men and women, human and nonhuman—of the sixty-first mobile infantry, better known as Twilight Company. Hard-bitten, war-weary, and ferociously loyal to one another, the members of this renegade outfit doggedly survive where others perish, and defiance is their most powerful weapon against the deadliest odds. When orders come down for the Rebels to fall back in the face of superior opposition numbers and firepower, Twilight reluctantly complies. Then an unlikely ally radically changes the strategic equation—and gives the Alliance’s hardest-fighting warriors a crucial chance to turn retreat into resurgence.

Orders or not, alone and outgunned but unbowed, Twilight Company locks, loads, and prepares to make its boldest maneuver—trading down-and-dirty battle in the trenches for a game-changing strike at the ultimate target: the very heart of the Empire’s military machine.

Rise of the Empire Short Story Authors Announced

mill__cvr_all_r1.inddAt Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, Del Rey announced a new bind-up of A New Dawn and Tarkin called Rise of the Empire, that will feature three new short stories bridging together the two novels and providing further insight into the power of the Galactic Empire.

Today Del Rey revealed the cover as well as the authors for the three short stories: first time Star Wars author Melissa Scott, John Jackson Miller, and Jason Fry!

Rise of the Empire will go on sale October 6.

Tosche Station Radio #95: A New Dawn with John Jackson Miller

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On this all-new Tosche Station Radio, author John Jackson Miller joins us to discuss A New Dawn!

Kicking off the show, the hosts highlight what’s New on the Blog. Welcome Ryorin, our new staff writer. She’ll be handling news and occasional columns. She wrote about some possible directions for diversity in the Sequel Trilogy. We hope to have her on the podcast sometime soon! Bria wrote about what Sabine Wren means for Star Wars. There’s loose ends in the old Expanded Universe, so we’re Lighting the Legends Fanfiction Signal. Nanci started her Thrawn Trilogy retrospective. Bria pleaded for everyone to stop being mean to Del Rey. We roundtable reviewed of Spark of Rebellion. Bria also reviewed Droids in Distress. Nanci wrote about why Wedge Antilles needs to be in Rebels.

In Fixer’s Flash, Nanci’s been keeping busy re-reading Heir to the Empire and is about to crack open Tarkin.

Deak’s Dirt starts with Random House releasing a 50 page excerpt of Tarkin. They also revealed the full blurb for Heir to the Jedi. The Ventress/Vos novel gets a title, Dark Disciple. It’ll be released in July 2015. Clone Wars story reels- Crystal Crisis on Utapau, online now. The Lost Missions DVD/Blu Ray will be released on November 11. Rebels gets an order for a second season. Also lots of new clips, including one featuring Hera and Sabine. ABC will air Spark of Rebellion on October 26, featuring a new Vader scene. The Star Wars: Battle Pod arcade game was unveiled at NYCC. Not a lot of other news out of NYCC, but a big comic announcement: Kanan by Greg Weisman

This week on Camie’s Concerns, author John Jackson Miller comes on to discuss A New Dawn. There are major spoilers in this discussion, so if you have not read the book yet, come back to this episode later! You can find John Jackson Miller at Faraway Press and on Twitter at @jjmfaraway.

Wrapping up the show, the hosts discuss news that Warwick Davis will be appearing in Episode VII.

Nanci and Brian are the co-founders and writers of Tosche-Station.net. You can find Nanci on Twitter with the handle @Nancipants and you can find Brian with @LaneWinree.

This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and Audible.com.

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