Star Wars: Knight Errant #2
"AFLAME" PART 2
Kerra Holt comes face to face with Lord Daiman!
Out of the frying pan of #1, and into the fire. Issue #2 of Knight Errant sends Kerra forward on her mission -- or, at least, her mission as she understands it -- despite the deaths of everyone she arrived with.
One of the more important things to convey in this issue was the nature of the oppressed people on Chelloa. Having studied a lot of totalitarian states, I knew there was a wide range of ways to portray the subject people and their attitudes. Here, I didn't want to show a people ripe for rebellion; it's more North Korea than 1989 Eastern Europe. The people in this region had spent such a long time under various Sith Lords, the will to resist is basically gone; there is no hope for overthrow, partially because the Jedi order isn't around. Gorlan supplies hope of a different sort, helping people to make it to the next day.
We meet Daiman this issue. I'd imagined Daiman as a mash-up between Alexander the Great and Caligula, with a healthy amount of Narcissus thrown in. The universe is his video game, and just about every move he makes involves a certain child-like curiosity: "What happens if I do THIS?" It can, as Odion observes, make him oblivious to certain important details -- but as we're beginning to see, Daiman is no stranger when it comes to making cold calculations, himself.
Daiman lives for his own amusement; it's pretty obvious in their encounter in his palace that this Sith Lord isn't really in any danger from Kerra, who's been a Jedi Knight for all of a week. She's a creature the likes of which he's never seen before. He lets her speak -- for a while, anyway.
Visually, we wanted to show a lot of ash flying around; I provided the artist with images of lava fields and volcanic activity. If Jenith isn't quite Pompeii, it's on the bus route!
- The Republic Hammerhead cruiser seen in the opening flashback recalls the design seen in the KOTOR era -- but it's not the exact same kind. We haven't characterized what it is or what it's doing here, but you can imagine a few possibilities. The Republic could be down to using mothballed ships -- or perhaps it's just that certain shapes of vessels recur because they offer tactical advantages. (Hence, all those triangular-looking capital ships!)
- The original design for Daiman -- which can be seen in issue #0 -- gave him a little more of an unkempt punk look. We altered the look a bit for his debut here; Daiman's pretty big on looking nice (even if it's just so he can admire the image in the mirror).
- Daiman's eyes are mismatched, something that's touched on in the novel and the chapter of it that's reprinted in #0. But Michael Atiyeh came up with a visual device where both of his eyes go Sithy whenever he's using Force lightning.
- Gorlan's got a real Kris Kristofferson thing going this issue. No, I didn't have a specific actor in mind in imagining his character, but I figured he'd be one of those hard-bitten guys who's seen a lot of strife.
- The mechanism for the Kinetic Corruptor revealed here was inspired in part from reading about how natural gas was freed from shale. It struck me that if a mythical explosive compound were being mined, some kind of injection device might be imagined to trigger a reaction. Obviously, whatever happens to the baradium doesn't require oxygen underground; I'll leave it to a chemist to figure out what's really happening!
- Don't look for Knights of the Old Republic connections in "Aflame," but I can't deny the nod in "I'm not a grifter -- I'm a Jedi."
- The ten sites Gorlan mentions appear on the surface map of the mining zone on Chelloa in the Knight Errant Essential Atlas Supplement Note that the lake had already been drained in the initial mining; the spaceport and surrounding area -- up to the edge of Jenith -- is part of the blast zone after #1.
- The Mobile Munitions Complex is partially inspired by the pyramidal shell that the NASA Mars rovers land in. The walls petal open to reveal a larger area inside.
- My assumption is that Gorlan uses the macrobinoculars in his work for the mining operations; that's why he has the set here.
This issue has been reprinted in the following collection:
Star Wars: Knight Errant Vol. 1 (Dark Horse, 2011),
available from Amazon.
The issue is also available digitally from Marvel.com.
Be sure to also check my shop for the availability of signed editions.