Legends of the Force: Part XXII – Droids – Special & Rebellion


This month I’m covering the next installment of Dark Horse’s Droids comic.

Opening Credits: Star Wars Theme from Super Star Wars on the SNES.
Closing Credits: Chiptune Cantina Band from Chiptune Inc. – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvJtiGFudFlvYMfjiU1NKJg

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Legends of the Force: Part XXI – The Crystal Star


We now com to what is quite possibly the worst Star Wars novel to date.

The Crystal Star is available from Amazon.com in Print and Kindle editions. Buying anything through those links helps support the show.

Opening Credits: Star Wars Theme from Super Star Wars on the SNES.
Closing Credits: Chiptune Cantina Band from Chiptune Inc. – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvJtiGFudFlvYMfjiU1NKJg

Please support my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/countzeroor
Buy me a coffee at Ko-Fi: https://ko-fi.com/countzero
Member of The Console Xplosion Network: http://www.theconsolexplosion.com/
Watch my Live-Streams on http://twitch.tv/countzeroor/

Legends of the Force: Vlog – Solo: A Star Wars Story


The next Star Wars Story installment is out, and I talk about this film’s depictions of Han and Lando, and how they compare to what we’ve seen in the Legends continuity thus far – with the Han Solo and Lando Calrissian Adventures novels in particular.

Opening Credits: Star Wars Theme from Super Star Wars on the SNES.
Closing Credits: Chiptune Cantina Band from Chiptune Inc. – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvJtiGFudFlvYMfjiU1NKJg

Please support my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/countzeroor
Buy me a coffee at Ko-Fi: https://ko-fi.com/countzero
Member of The Console Xplosion Network: http://www.theconsolexplosion.com/
Watch my Live-Streams on http://twitch.tv/countzeroor/

Legends of the Force: Episode XIX – Dark Empire II


Veich and Kennedy return, with another story of the Emperor Reborn (or, rather, Emperor Reborn^2).

Dark Empire II is available from Amazon.com (http://amzn.to/2Bsu0Pm) – buying the book (or anything else) through that link helps support the show!

Opening Credits: Star Wars Theme from Super Star Wars on the SNES.
Closing Credits: Chiptune Cantina Band from Chiptune Inc. – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvJtiGFudFlvYMfjiU1NKJg

Please support my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/countzeroor
Buy me a coffee at Ko-Fi: https://ko-fi.com/countzero
Member of The Console Xplosion Network: http://www.theconsolexplosion.com/
Watch my Live-Streams on http://twitch.tv/countzeroor/

Legends of the Force: Episode XVI – Dark Apprentice


We return to the Jedi Academy trilogy to see how Luke starts to train his students. Spoilers: Not everything goes well.

Opening Credits: Star Wars Theme from Super Star Wars on the SNES.
Closing Credits: Chiptune Cantina Band from Chiptune Inc. – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvJtiGFudFlvYMfjiU1NKJg

Please support my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/countzeroor
Member of The Console Xplosion Network: http://www.theconsolexplosion.com/
Watch my Live-Streams on http://twitch.tv/countzeroor/

Book Review: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Part the Fourth – Verily A New Hope


I like Shakespeare. While certainly presentation can mean a lot when it comes to a play, a good cast and some good staging can take some of the Bards more “meh” plays and make them enjoyable (such as with Henry VI), and his work can be adapted to a variety of other settings.

So, when I found out about the adaptations of the Star Wars Original Trilogy (and, later, the Prequel Trilogy), to something similar to the work of the Bard, my interest was piqued. However, plays are best when they are performed instead of simply being read off of the page – as anyone who has had to silently read Shakespeare for High School English class will tell you. That is, in part, why most English teachers worth their salt will have the class read the play aloud.

Consequently, when I found said trilogy was also available as audiobooks from Audible, I was now much more interested in picking them up. The audiobooks imagine them as a (mostly) full cast play, with a few of the readers playing multiple parts. For example, the reader who voices Leia also reads the Stage Directions, and I think that the reader who does Obi-Wan also voices the Chorus.

As with the Bard’s plays that featured dialog in other languages (like French in Henry V), dialog in the various constructed languages – like Huttese, Shyriiwook, or R2-D2’s beeps – are not translated, though it’s still rendered in iambic pentameter. R2-D2 does have asides in regular English, which gives him some more explicit character depth. This makes sense as while he had some character depth in the films, it was more implicit, drawn from the sound design by Ben Burtt and the operation by Kenny Baker.

The text of the play has a mix of modifications of the dialog of the films, and some original dialog. Well, original-ish. The play on multiple occasions cribs heavily from Shakespeare’s other work. Luke is possibly the worst offender in this regard, though C-3P0 has a bit that weirdly cribs from Richard III at the start of the play. It’s something that causes a problem with the flow of the story – things are moving along at a nice clip, and your mind’s eye has you both in the midst of the film, and with how the imagined play is performed, before you run into something cribbed from another work of Skakespeare’s canon, and you’re bounced right out of your groove.

Some work better than others though – after getting out of the Stormtrooper armor when they’ve escaped from the Trash Compactor, Luke gives a variant of the “Alas, poor Yorick” speech, while examining the Stormtrooper’s helmet. This works a little better than some of the other speeches, because while Luke has seen death prior to this part of the story – the troopers who boarded the Falcon would make for the first time he’s actually killed anyone, and everyone else he’d shot after that point had clearly been in self defense instead of in cold blood, so it makes sense for him to get reflective.

I really enjoyed listening to the play, and given the choice between either just reading it or listening to the audiobook, I prefer the audiobook – though reading along while listening to it wouldn’t hurt as well. The publisher also put together teaching resources to go with the book, and I could see this being really useful for teaching a High School English class about Iambic pentameter and how Shakespeare’s plays were structured, through presenting a story that the class is already intimately familiar with in addition to Shakespeare’s plays.

I’ve already picked up the rest of the original Trilogy, and will review the rest of those as I come to them. Sadly, the Prequel Trilogy version have not gotten an audio book adaptations, so I’ll have to go with the written versions once I get to those.

Shakespeare’s Star Wars is available from Amazon.com, and purchasing the book through that link will get me a commission based on your purchase.

Legends of the Force: Episode XV – The Last Jedi Vlog


There’s a new Star Wars movie – I take a look at it and (while avoiding spoilers for the rest of the film), takes a look at Luke’s teaching style in this movie.

Opening Credits: Star Wars Theme from Super Star Wars on the SNES.
Closing Credits: Chiptune Cantina Band from Chiptune Inc.

Please support my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/countzeroor
Member of The Console Xplosion Network: http://www.theconsolexplosion.com/
Watch my Live-Streams on http://twitch.tv/countzeroor/

Comic Review: Tales of the Jedi (Part 2)


Having finished the second book in the Jedi Academy Trilogy, this seems like as good a time as any to take a look at the comic book storyline discussing the rise of Exar Kun – The Freedon Nadd Uprising and Dark Lords of the Sith.

Credits

Freedon Nadd Uprising

Writer: Tom Veitch
Pencils: Tony Atkins
Inks: Denis Rodier
Lettering: Willie Schubert
Colorist: Suzanne Bourdages
Covers: Dave Dorman
Publication Date: August – September 1994

This is available independently in a Kindle/Comixology edition from Amazon.com.

Dark Lords of the Sith

Writer: Tom Veitch & Kevin J. Anderson
Pencils: Chris Gossett (1-5), Art Wetherell.
Inks: Mike Barreiro (1, 3, 5-6), Jordi Ensign (2, 4),
Lettering: Willie Schubert
Colorist: Pamela Rambo
Cover artist: Hugh Fleming
Publication Date: October 1994 – March 1995

This is available independently from Amazon.com.

Both stories are available in a combined form in Tales of the Jedi Vol. 2 (along with the next two arcs of the comic).

Plot Notes

Following the defeat of Queen Amanoa in the events of the first Tales of the Jedi storyline, Jedi Master Arca Jeth has decided that it’s best to remove the remains of Sith Lord Freedon Nadd from Onderon to the nearby moon of Dxun. As Jeth, and his students Ulic and Cay Qel-Droma, Tott Doneeta, and Master Thon’s former pupil Oss Wilum, move Nadd’s sarcophagus and the remains of the former queen, Amanoa, to Dxun, they are attacks by followers of Nadd, stealing the sarcophagi.

The Jedi consult current Queen Gallia’s father, King Ommin, for assistance. To their surprise (but not exactly mine), Ommin turns out to also be a Nadd cultist, betraying the Jedi. Arca Jeth is captured, through the rest of the Jedi get away. Meanwhile, another group of Jedi, including Nomi Sunrider are sent to help defend the planet.

While all of this is going on, two other Sith Cultists – Satal and Aleema Keto – heirs to the throne of the Empress Teta system, steal a book on the Sith from the Galactic Museum, which leads them to Onderon. They manage to steal a few relics of Freedon Nadd and return to their world home system, and murder their parents to seize the throne.

Once again, the Jedi are drawn into action to take down the two. As Republic and Jedi forces work to retake the Empress Teta system, a Jedi Knight named Exar Kun raids the crypt of Freedon Nadd and takes several relics. Nadd’s spirit directs Exar Kun to Yavin IV, and the temple and Sith laboratories of an earlier Lord of the Sith known as Naga Sadow. Nadd manages to corrupt Kun to the Dark Side of the Force, making him accept the mantle of the Sith in order to heal an otherwise mortal wound.

Back in the Empress Teta system, the Keto siblings are able to fight the Republic forces to a standstill using their Sith powers, and in particular Aleema’s ability to conjure illusions. As Kun turns to the Dark Side, a wave of power runs through force, that allows the forces of the Keto Siblings to attack a gathering of Jedi, with their battle droids killing a bunch of Jedi, including Master Jeth.

In response to this, Ulic Qel-Droma proposes a hazardous plan – to infiltrate the forces of the Empress Teta system, and to attempt to overcome the Sith from within.  Several Jedi masters, along with Ulic’s brother Cay and Nomi Sunrider, attempt to talk him out of this, but he decides to go forward with this plan anyway. Ulic manages to gain the confidence of Aleema, but Satal does not trust him – drugging him with a Sith poison that will kill him if he tries to draw on the Light Side of the force. Kay and Nomi attempt to pull out Ulic, but he insists on staying to see this through.

This all comes to a head when Exar Kun travels to the Empress Teta system himself. Kun kills Satal, and ends up doing battle with Ulic. Ulic puts on an amulet from the cache of Sith artifacts in Aleema’s possession – which resonates with a similar amulet that Kun had on his person. They get a vision of a Sith Lord far older than Freedon Nadd. He informs them that this moment has been planned for long before they were born – Exar Kun is to be the new, true Dark Lord of the Sith, with Ulic Qel-Droma as his apprentice.

Worldbuilding

  • That there was an ancient race known as the Sith, and they were enslaved by a group of Dark Jedi, who called themselves the Lords of the Sith.
  • The Force has something in common with Qi in Wuxia novels or humors in medieval medicine. It’s not just a matter of mindset when powers are used, it’s mindset and body chemistry in unison. Thus, when Exar Kun’s body is rebuilt by Freedon Nadd, he can block Kun off from the Light Side, and the same applies for the Sith poison that is injected into Ulic Qel-Droma.
  • We have the first mention in print of Korriban – Sith Tomb world, the place where they buried their secrets on their death, but specifically with the intent that later Sith Lords would come their to try and retrieve those secrets, and thus placed challenges that would have to be overcome to obtain those secrets.
  • First appearance of the Empress Teta system, and first major mention of Naga Sadow.

Characterization

Ulic Qel-Droma: Still somewhat naive and brash, but also somewhat driven and idealistic, as he’s willing to put everything on the line to infiltrate the Sith in order to end this war once and for all.

Cay Qel-Droma: Still the more mature brother, tries to talk Ulic out of his plan, and tries to pull him out with Nomi Sunrider.

Nomi Sunrider: At some point fell in love with Ulic. Is a little more willing to use her lightsaber, and she’s demonstrated the ability to use Battle Meditation to get her opponents to turn on each other.

Master Arca Jeth: Dies during the Battle Droid attack on the Jedi gathering.

Oss Wilum: Has a vision that he will be “learning a great deal” from Ulic Qel-Droma.

Other Notes

This installment does a great job of building up the backstory for the events that are going on in the Jedi Academy trilogy, while also forwarding the existing Tales of the Jedi storyline. That said, again – I feel this would work better as an ongoing comic than a bunch of short miniseries, but that’s how Dark Horse rolls in the ’90s.

Final Thoughts

This is a great continuation of the story from the last Tales of the Jedi series. This ups the scope to a more galactic threat, and gets across why this is a big deal.

The Keto siblings are generally introduced in an interesting manner. They are something of an archetype – rich, decadent spoiled brats who turn to occultism when bored – almost the Star Wars equivalent of Fenris from the Marvel universe (though with less implied incest).

That said, once Exar Kun is introduced in full in Dark Lords of the Sith, it’s made clear that the Keto Siblings are placeholder villains. They’re certainly dangerous, but the amount of attention that Exar Kun receives makes it clear that he’s the big bad – something that is made all the more clear if you read Dark Apprentice.

The action this volume is well done, and the environments panel layouts and art really works with the scope as well. We have some tremendous vistas in this story – which in the modern era of decompressed storytelling would probably be shown as massive two-page spreads, but here are kept a little more confined. Still, they’re given a lot of page real estate to play-up the impact of the art.

The end of this part is definitely a cliffhanger, and it feels almost like our Empire Strikes Back moment, but we’ll see when we get to Part 3 of Tales of the Jedi, with The Sith War.

However, on the novel side, we need to finish off the Jedi Academy trilogy with Champions of the Force, and after that we have, on the comics front, Dark Empire II.

 

Legends of the Force: Episode XIV – The Courtship of Princess Leia


This time we find out how Leia and Han got married.

Opening Credits: Star Wars Theme from Super Star Wars on the SNES.
Reference Footage: Pokemon.
Closing Credits: Chiptune Cantina Band from Chiptune Inc. – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvJtiGFudFlvYMfjiU1NKJg

Please support my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/countzeroor
Member of The Console Xplosion Network: http://www.theconsolexplosion.com/
Watch my Live-Streams on http://twitch.tv/countzeroor/