*Image from DarkHorse.com
Issues #0-6 (includes Crossroads)
By Chris Pence
The first arc in Knights of the Old Republic, Commencement spans from issues #1-#6 and introduces us to all the main characters, events and locations that lay the groundwork for the future of the series. With John Jackson Miller’s story writing and art by Brian Ching, Travel Foreman, Travis Cherest and Michael Atiyeh, Commencement showcased the finest in Star Wars comics to launch the series.
This series begins before the first Knights of the Old Republic video game, just as the war between the Mandalorians and the Republic is heating up. We meet Zayne Carrick, a slightly incompetent padawan studying under Master Lucien Dray at Taris’ Jedi embassy. When the group of Jedi Masters stationed on Taris see Zayne and his padawan classmates turn to the dark side in a Force vision, they plot to kill the would-be Jedi before they’re graduation ceremony. Incompetent and late as always, Zayne arrives to the embassy late to find his former master standing over the body’s of his dead classmates.
After escaping the horrific scene with the help of con artist Gryph, a criminal that Zayne had planned to turn into his masters before the padawan massacre, Zayne travels to the the lower levels of Taris. Realizing they’ll have to explain the death of four Jedi padawans to the authorities, the murderous Masters decide to cook up a plot saying that Zayne Carrick single-handedly killed all four padawans. Zayne and Gryph instantly become Taris’ most wanted criminals
When Gryph introduces Zayne to Camper, a senile old man who can smuggle to two off Taris, and his body guard Jareal, Zayne’s former masters catch up the the two renegades and attempt to capture them. They escape in Camper’s ship, the Last Resort, Zayne is captured by a group of bounty hunters and delivered right back to the Jedi Embassy on Taris. As Lucien prepares to kill Zayne with his lightsaber, Jareal, Camper and Gryph rescue the innocent padawan from certain death by attacking the Jedi Embassy with the Last Resort and hauling Zayne onboard.
Weeks later, with Zayne having escaped, Taris has erupted into a battle ground of crime and disorder. The masters receive of message from Zayne, in which the framed padawan states that he’s going to clear his name by making the masters tell the truth. Issue #6 ends with the the fitting words “The Beginning.”
I think this was an awesome arc. With excellent story, character development, action and amazing art by Brian Ching and Travel Foreman, this really was a great beginning to Knights of the Old Republic. I also really enjoy the amazing cover art for this arc by Travis Cherest and the great color work by Michael Atiyeh. All these aspects really go to make this a arc, one that I’d highly suggest to any fans of the Knights of the Old Republic video game or the earlier Tales of the Jedi comic series.
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