*Image from DarkHorse.com
Writer: John Jackson Miller
Penciller: Scott Hepburn
Inker: Joe Rimentel & Dan Parsons (#26), Dan Parsons (#27, 28)
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh
Cover Artist: Travis Charest (#25), Dustin Weaver (#26-28)
Starting a few weeks after the end of issue #24, Knights of the Old Republic #25 opens with the Masters receiving a vision of an ancient Sith artifact, the Muur Talisman, and it’s creator, Karness Muur. After coming to the conclusion that the artifact is on Taris, Lucien dispatches a Covenant agent, Celeste Morne, to retrieve it.
When the search for the Talisman leads Celeste to the Taris under city, she runs into Zayne Carrick and Marne Hierogryph, who have been waiting for the members of the Moomoo Wilraw to pick them up. When Celeste quickly dispatches the group of deadly rakghouls chasing them, Zayne and Gryph get the idea to follow the agent for protection.
When the three get the ground blown out from beneath them by an explosion, they fall into a Mandalorian excavation dig. The Mandalorians have been blast-excavating in the Taris under city, trying to find the Muur Talisman. Before Celeste can grab the Talisman, the Mandalorians find it and leave to take it off planet for examination. Celeste follows the Mandalorians via jetpack, and Zayne and Gryph unknowingly join the quest to retrieve the artifact from the Mandalorians.
When John Jackson Miller said you wouldn’t have to be a seasoned expanded universe fan to enjoy Vector, he meant it. Former characters have very minor roles in this issue, while Celeste Morne takes the spotlight and the Zayne and Gryph duo adds comic relief to the plot. Still, I’m a little disappointed about the content of the issue. Practically nothing was revealed about anything, other than the Talisman was going to play a big role in future issues. Most of the story takes place in the Taris sewers, with too many pages taken up by Zayne and Gryph’s bickering.
Newcomer Scott Hepburn pencils this issue while seasoned veteran of Star Wars comics Michael Atiyeh does the colors. While Hepburn’s cartoony style is very different from what I’m used to in Star Wars comics, I think it’s a nice change of pace, especially combined with the great inking job by Joe Pimentel. Hepburn does a great job illustrating new characters like Celeste Morne, and I really like the way he lays out his pages. The Rakghouls are definatly the highlight of the issue, along with some really cool Mandalorian armor designs at the end of the issue. My only gripes with Hepburn’s style are that Gryph looks like a monkey and some of his backgrounds are rather lacking in detail. Atiyeh, as always, does a great job coloring.
Overall, this is a great issue with good art, but for a series as hyped as Vector, I can’t help but think it’s a little bit of a letdown for a first issue.
Celeste, Zayne and Gryph have stowed away on the transport taking the Talisman to the Mandalorian-held world of Jebble. As the trio watch through an air vent, the Talisman comes alive and attaches itself to Pulsipher, the Mandalorian scientist who led the dig on Taris. Once on Jebble, our heroes manage to make it off the shuttle unseen, until they run into a group of prisoners undergoing training to become Mandalorian troopers. We learn that Jebble is apparently a staging ground for the upcoming Mandalorian attack on Alderaan.
Gyph dons some Snivian-sized Mandalorian armor and sneaks Celeste and Zayne inside the compound, claiming they are his prisoners. Once inside, Gryph accidentally fires his rifle into the roof of the snow base, causing a collapse that separates him from Zayne and Celeste. Deciding that getting the Talisman is more crucial then finding Gryph, Zayne and Celeste begin to search for the artifact. When they are found by the Mandalorians, they’re imprisonment is cut short when the soldiers start turning into Rakghouls.
Somehow, the plague has spread from Taris to Jebble, and the rakghouls are rapidly multiplying. Zayne points out that if they don’t do something soon, and the troops stationed at the staging point get shipped out to Alderaan, the Rakghoul plague is going to become a galactic epidemic.
Finally, the Talisman in action! While we learn a few clues as to what it actually does, we see it come alive and bond to Pulsipher, who promises to be a very interesting character in the rest of this arc. He’s the Star Wars equivalent of a mad scientist. We get to see and learn more about the Mandalorians in this issue, as the prisoner recruits are introduced to the Six Actions, sacred Mandalorian rules that govern the invasion forces. The issue ends with a great cliffhanger, and the storytelling is reminding me more and more of J.J. Abram’s Lost.
Once again, Scott Hepburn and Michael Atiyeh do the art.The art in this issue is wonderful. Jebble is a new planet, and Hepburn gets to design it from the ground up. He doesn’t disappoint. How do you draw snow in a cartoony way? Well, Hepburn pulls it off. I’m really liking the way he draws faces, especially Pulsipher’s on the first page of this issue. We are treated to more great Mandalorian armor designs, the greatest being Gryph’s blue suit of Snivian-sized armor and the assortment of other alien-specific suits issued to the prisoners. My only complaint about the art in this issue is actually with the colors, as the snow seems a little too blue.
This was a good issue, due mostly to the fact we got so much newness visually. The story, though interesting in some parts, was somewhat lacking, and it leaves a lot of loose ends for issues #27 and #28 to finish.
Stranded on an ice planet engaged in a battle between Mandalorians and rakghoul disease victims, Zayne Carrick, Celeste Morne and Marn Hierogryph must battle for their lives and retrieve the Murr Talisman from the treacherous Mandalorian scientist Pulsipher. Taking refuge in a small comm station, Celeste contacts Lucien Draay, the leader of the Jedi Covenant, who tells her to kill Zayne. Wary of the Covenant after hearing Zayne’s part of the story, Celeste decides not to kill him.
Zayne, after sending a message to Cassus Fett warning him about the rakghoul plague, decides to go and search for Gryph in the war forge. Under the command of Pulsipher, rakghoul victims capture Zayne and bring him to Pulsipher’s lab, where the Mandalorian scientist interrogates Zayne in hopes of learning how to unlock the Talisman’s true power.
When the talisman comes alive and un-bonds itself from Pulsipher’s arm, chaos erupts as Celeste Morne arrives to free Zayne. The Talisman immediately senses Celeste’s powerful force presence and bonds to her around the neck, and Morne experiences a strange Force vision from a Sith lord. With the talisman bonded around her neck, the Rakghouls bow down to Celeste in worship, apparently identifying her as they’re leader.
This issue answers a few questions, and then also opens an entire new lot of them. We get an explanation on how Celeste survives to Dark Times: using a Sith torture device in which victims are kept mentally alive for eternity while they’re bodies are held in stasis. The purpose of the Talisman is now clear: it creates a plague that turns victims into savage, super-strong monsters under the control of the wearer of the talisman.
I think this was a great issue. Hepburn and Atiyeh keep up the consistently good quality of the art in this issue. The design of Pulsipher’s laboratory is very cool. The only thing that I dislike about Hepburn’s art is the way he draws Zayne’s face; it’s very narrow and child-like. Other than that, Scott did a great job penciling this issue.
The story was interesting and intriguing, though it may leave a dissatisfied feeling on readers. Overall, this was another okay issue in the Vector crossover series, and it promises an explosive next issue.
Knights of the Old Republic’s chapter of Vector ends in Knights of the Old Republic, issue #28, Vector part 4. In an attempt to escape Karness Muur’s dark influence, Celeste Morne locks herself inside Lord Dreypa’s Oubliette, a device which will imprison Karness’ spirit and disable the Talisman while holding Celeste in stasis. Before closing the Oubliette, Celeste tells Zayne to travel to the Sanctum of the Exalted and ask the artifact researchers there to help remove the Muur Talisman from her.
After locking Celeste inside the Sith stasis tube, Zayne is rescued from Jebble by Jareal, Alec, Shel and Rohlan and taken aboard the Williwaw. As they reach orbit, the Mandalorian fleet arrives at Jebble and, heading Zayne’s warning about the spread of the Rakghoul plaque, bombard the planet from orbit.
Aboard the Williwaw, Zayne plans on traveling to the Sanctum of the Exalted to confront the Jedi Covenant. Unknown to him, Celeste Morne is still alive inside the Oubliette, which has sunk to the bottom of Jebble’s oceans after the Mandalorian’s planetary bombardment.
While Knights of the Old Republic #28 was a little less epic than I had hoped it would be, it was an overall good issue. The story ended how it had to end: with Celeste getting inside of the Oubliette so that she can live on to Dark Times. I am, however, disappointed to find that Celeste will be the talked about character that lives on to be in Dark Times and all the continuing issues of Vector. I don’t particularly like her character; especially after this issue. I hope Celeste is fleshed out more as a character in future issues.
I absolutely loved Scott Hepburn’s pencils in this issue, especially seeing his renditions of Rohlan, Jareal, Alec and Shel. Michael Atiyeh, as always, does a fantastic job coloring. The color schemes in this issue really reflect what’s happening in the story. My one problem with the art of this issue would be on one of the last pages, when Zayne is sitting inside the Williwaw, he looks terribly disproportionate.
Looking back, the reason I think the reason KOTOR’s slice of Vector wasn’t the greatest was because they had to spend so much time laying the groundwork for the rest of the series. Overall, this was a pretty good issue with good art, and a very fitting end to Knights of the Old Republic’s part of Vector.
Summaries & Reviews by Chris Pence
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