Writer: Scott Allie
Artist: Mahmud Asrar
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Cover Artist: Stéphane Roux
Set 53 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars: Jedi Volume 1 – The Dark Side looks at an early adventure of Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Xanatos. After a political figure is killed on Telos IV, the Jedi are called in to investigate the assassination. But the Jedi quickly find themselves in the middle of a brewing civil war and will be tested to the limit, especially Xanatos, a noble born native of the planet.
Scott Allie delivers a script full of intense battles and deceptive political twists. He dives deeply into the emotional state of Xanatos who has deep, conflicting feelings for the father who allowed him to be taken to Coruscant and the Jedi who trained him. We even get some emotional bits into Qui-Gon Jinn that make the Jedi Master more human than the strong Living Force believer he is in Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Scott does have a few moments where the flow of dialogue is disrupted, however. A character would ask a question, but it would be ignored for another topic of conversation to be brought up. Then, on the next page after a change to the setting, the ignored question gets answered. Aside from that one flow disruption, the story by Scott dives deep into the emotions of characters and how far some will bend before their emotions break them.
The art illustrates the script beautifully; Mahmud Asrar capturing key emotional moments in a single panel. Characters we’re familiar with are identifiable in any panel, even when undercover. Xanatos is the key character to watch in this story, and the reader can tell what feelings the young apprentice is dealing with whether he fears for his own future or is angry with the latest development of the investigation. I’ve read other series illustrated by Mahmud, and his addition to the Star Wars Expanded Universe is one of his best works to date.
Dealing with the temptations of the dark side is a key theme in the Star Wars universe, and the story by Scott Allie and Mahmud Asrar captures that theme wonderfully. If you’d like to learn more about Qui-Gon and his apprentice Xanatos or would like a politically intriguing story on par with Palpatine’s plan from the films, then Star Wars: Jedi Volume 1 – The Dark Side is a graphic novel worth looking into.
Reviewed by J. Lawrence Davis
All staff members can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org