It’s been a while since I’ve revisited the time period of Knights of the Old Republic. The last time I dipped my toe in that era was in the BioWare game of the same name, and that was quite some time ago. However, it’s a favorite era of mine, especially as I’m playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, which has no small amount of references to that period of Star Wars history. Volunteering to review this comic seemed only natural to me.
Knights of the Old Republic: War #2 is published by Dark Horse Comics and tells the tale of failed Jedi Zayne Carrick as he gets sucked into the middle of a war between the Mandalorians and the Republic. The Jedi are in the midst of the Mandalorian Wars, too, but in a very strange twist, they’re fighting against the Republic! That’s right, the Mandalorians have their own Jedi, led by Master Dorjander Kace, and his Mandalorian Knights are apparently more than happy to take the fight to the Republic they once served. It’s up to Carrick to find a way to end hostilities and minimize casualties on both sides, but can a pacifist ex-Jedi survive on the front lines long enough to make a difference?
The story, scripted by John Jackson Miller (Star Wars: Knight Errant and Mass Effect: Invasion) puts you right into the action and keeps the story marching along at double-time. This is good news when you’re trying to tell a war story in five issues, but it also means you feel like you don’t have time to really get to know these characters as they’re thrown to the boar-wolves (and you get bonus Force points if you can name that reference in the comments below without doing a Google search). Some would say this is a drawback of the story, but if you think of it, it’s perfectly fitting for a war story. The reality of combat gets fired at you point blank on the battlefield, quite literally, and you don’t have time to stop and reflect and get to know the people around you when you’re fighting for your life. That being said, this issue does have a bit of downtime later on where character development is made around one of the few moments of rest a soldier finds: an evening meal.
The art of Knights of the Old Republic: War, however, receives my biggest criticism. While I understand that it’s a war zone and it should be dirty and gritty, the style is a little too rough for my tastes. Then again, this is the penciller behind Dark Horse’s Rage limited series, Andrea Mutti, so rough and gritty should be expected. I do, however, greatly appreciate the wide variety of alien species shown, even if only briefly within the military ranks. The inks by the other half of the Rage art team, Pierluigi Baldassini, are likewise a little too heavy for me, but it’s balanced by the gorgeous coloring work from Michael Atiyeh, who has yet to disappoint me in his various comic book projects. Everything from the explosions on the battlefield to the illumination of the moons to the starship lights are beautifully colored and practically glow off the page. Honestly, I wish the interior art looked more like that amazing cover by Benjamin Carré, but what can you do?
All that said, it’s been fun watching the Mandalorians fight in their iconic armor, and I love the fact that the war story is told from a pacifist’s point of view. That’s a tricky angle to play in a story, and yet it works considering that Carrick was trained to be a keeper of peace as a Jedi. I’m very interested to learn more about these Mandalorian Knights led by Dorjander Kace, too, and I hope we find out more about them in the next issue. The big question I want answered, though, is whether Carrick will remain a pacifist by story’s end or if he’ll sacrifice that belief on the field of battle. Either way, it should make for an entertaining tale!
Knights of the Old Republic: War #2 is in stores now.