30 January 2015

Late To the Party #2: Dark Horse Comics

I'm on a really big Star Wars kick right now. The whole thing started with someone posting the news on Facebook that with Lucasfilm being sold to Disney, they had rescinded the license that had belonged to Dark Horse Comics to give to Marvel. As a result, after the end of 2014, the comic books that Dark Horse had previously published would no longer be available (at least in digital format). I took the opportunity to purchase three digital comic series.

WARNING: SPOILERS

*If you plan on reading any of the following comics and want to be surprised, do not read any further.
(Dark EmpireTales of the Jedi: Volume One or TwoThe Jedi Academy Trilogy, or I, Jedi)




The first was the series called Dark Empire. The basic gist of this one is that the Emperor has a secret stronghold and clone facility where he keeps extra clones of himself (the reason being, the Dark Side of the Force corrupts his body at an accelerated rate, so he needs new ones). Luke senses that there is something amiss and is lead by the Force to an unknown world steeped in the Dark Side. There he finds the Emperor reborn. Luke chooses to become the Emperor's new apprentice to undermine his efforts and learn how to defeat him. He does succumb to the Dark Side's lure and in the end is brought back by Leia. I had always wanted to read this story, because it contains information that is recalled in another favorite book I, Jedi and the three-book Jedi Academy series. I will admit, I was not terribly impressed with this one. It certainly wasn't bad, but it was not a great first impression. The next two were decidedly better...





The next two digital comic books that I bought were compilations of comics set about 4,000 years before the Battle of Yavin (BBY). They are stories set in a time when the Sith and the Jedi were legion and focuses on a handful of stories from that era. It tells about the Sith and their home- and tomb-world of Korriban. As with other things in this era, I am intrigued to watch how the Jedi and the Sith take very different approaches to how they interact and work with the Force. Some of the things that the Sith do are so depraved. But, as Yoda once said, its allure is in the fact that it is "...quicker, easier, more seductive." (Empire Strikes Back) I find it interesting that two of the most destructive Sith from these stories (Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma) were lured to it by a combination of arrogance and thinking that they could use the Dark Side to more quickly achieve the goals they were striving for. The last portion of the stories I read was actually the completion of the tale of Ulic Qel-Droma. Exar Kun escaped and was stopped as he managed to seal his spirit in one of his temples on Yavin 4. He would survive there until after the Galactic Civil War (the original Star Wars trilogy) when Luke would try to establish his Jedi academy on Yavin 4. He and his students would then confront and defeat the spirit of the ancient Sith Lord. Ulic, on the other hand, had his connection to the Force severed by his old friend Nomi Sunrider. She had fallen in love with him and because she could not bring herself to end his life, did this to prevent him from doing any more harm to others. The final comic book in Tales of the Jedi: Volume Two, Ulic is actually brought back to the Light Side by Nomi's daughter. She insists that Ulic train her to become a Jedi. Even though he is still blind to the Force, he teaches her how to sense and use the Force. He teaches her how to construct a lightsaber and even trains her in its use. Through this, his heart is changed and he atones for his deeds done while in the grasp of the Dark Side. The end is bittersweet. Ulic is gunned down by a space pilot out to make a name for himself by killing one of the most destructive men to still alive. Ulic becomes one with the Force, an indication that he had truly returned to the Light Side of the Force. A sad ending, but still uplifting.

...This was not the direction I was originally planning to take this. But, that's okay. My topic has definitely changed and I actually have an okay post. I guess at this point, I'll just say a big THANK YOU! to Dark Horse Comics for a good many years of quality material. I have only looked at a scant few of the comics they have published, but I have definitely enjoyed them. I'll likely now be looking for others at libraries and possibly at card shops and comic book stores to see if I can find a few more. Wish I'd gotten on this one a lot sooner!

(I know this is the first post I've made in a while. Yeah, it's mostly just my ramblings, but hey, hopefully, it's a start.)

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