Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #20
"DAZE OF HATE" PART 2
As with all my “production notes,” consider a “Spoiler Warning” attached. Please read the books first.
the heading of now-it-can-be-told: Zayne’s former Master Lucien didn’t
just invite himself to Lord Adasca’s Exogorth summit meeting: He
invited himself to the story!
My very earliest thoughts for the Arkanian Legacy sequence — the midsection of the "Days/Knights" year — actually did not include Lucien at all. Lucien and Zayne would simply miss each other when the Courageous failed to reach Telerath. Zayne’s prison break would have been handled differently — I won’t suggest how, but he would have had a number of potential allies on the ship by this point.
But we would have gone roughly a year without Lucien reappearing, which was something I didn’t want to do. A simple scene showing Lucien waiting for a prisoner that would never arrive (as appeared in #18) wasn’t enough. But there was already a lot going on, and there were very definite plans for Lucien soon enough. How would a face-to-face meeting now fit in?
That’s when I flashed on the picture of Lucien and Zayne, imprisoned and bound together — and suddenly, everything made sense. Not a face-to-face meeting, but back-to-back, in a prison escape in the grand tradition of The Defiant Ones. It all clicked with what I already knew about the Draays and the Adascas — and the likelihood of the Covenant foreseeing the Exogorth threat.
The challenge became both logistics — and making it all fit. With the “density of incident” in the storyline already high, a number of set pieces were impacted by Lucien’ arrival. We would have to begin the Deadweight’s space escape in #18 at the end, rather than see it from the start. Jarael’s attempted escape from Adasca at the beginning of #19 would also have to contract.
Once I’ve got a balance established, I generally hate to trade action pages for story pages or vice versa — but this cause was worth the effort. The idea had always been that the rush of events beginning with “Flashpoint” would have sidetracked Zayne from making plans to clear his name, with him reaching his lowest point during his weeks of imprisonment. Now, with the situation permitting the exchanges between the two seen in this issue, he — and the readers — are shocked back into that story.
On the logistical side, there were also things to consider, ranging from how Lucien would find the meeting to whether he — and the galaxy at large — knew of Gryph’s fate in #15. (That’s answered both in the story and on the text page of this issue.) It required, again, a practice in air-traffic control for characters — but it was consonant with what we were doing this year, anyway. Fortunately, not every story in the works has a cast of thousands!
My thanks again to editor Jeremy Barlow and the art team for helping to craft what is a pretty jam-packed issue!
- This issue was printed on a slicker, thicker stock, and we have a cover that is actually a panel from the story – or it could be considered as such.
- I kept calling the Observatory a dome, despite its being more oblong; I didn’t know what else to call it. The idea was that it would be the size of a football stadium, and perched high over the rest of the ship.
- The design of Mandalore’s axeblade goes all the way back to Mandalore the Indomitable, many, many comic books ago. Another one of our Tales of the Jedi links... Dario Carrasco’s design, I think. Clearly the main function of the version seen here, with the ceremonial staff, is as a battlefield standard, and the huge blade size serves that purpose well. (Though as we can see, it has other capabilities, yet to be described...)
- What was the Adascorp Project name for the slugs that was obscured in #19? We get the other half of the phrase here, when the Command Platform executes its ninth official test. Five points to the first fan who recognizes why “Black Harvest” would be an appropriate name for a secret Star Wars project…
- I’m digging on the gnome hats the Command Platform guys are wearing. And check out the corporate logo on the back of Camper’s shirt!
- Mandalore’s face plate seems to change depending on the angle — it is three dimensional, after all, and with him being so tall we get it from a lot of different directions. It’s interesting, as it almost gives him expressions he wouldn’t otherwise have.
- How the nomadic Mandalorians go from the glorious chaos of different armors to the color-coded sameness of the video game armors seemed to me to be good story fodder from the beginning – and it became one of the mysteries Rohlan was pursuing in #8. Now, there are some answers. You can see that even within the Neo armors, there still remains a certain amount of diversity; it’s functional, either relating to the physical needs of the host species or the purpose for which the armor is geared (as in the shock troopers). So it’s not identical toy soldiers -- but you can see from the coloring that uniformity and regimentation are continuing to spread.
- As readers of #21’s preview — which was up almost immediately after #20 came out — saw, we give Rohlan the wrong color armor in this issue. My fault – I didn’t specify in the script. He’s given a golden suit, but we’ll see later it’s crimson, more suited to his former role and the lower profile he wishes to keep. (Yeah, you can call it red if you want to – but remember how I got started.) Realizing this too late to change it, we looked at addressing it in dialogue — but we decided instead to fix it in the trade. For now, just figure he asked for a different suit.
- Mandalore’s statement that it’s “not a very Mandalorian War” echoes Squint’s own “Not a very Jedi galaxy” from #0. Even between enemies, there are always similar concerns.
- We had to remember not just what characters knew, but the placement of all kinds of widgets. Jarael’s locator bracelet, introduced in #8, makes a comeback. Zayne’s vambraces stayed with him from #13 – when not activated, they just look like ornamentation.
- One of Bong’s choices I like a lot is the spacesuit stowage area on the Control Platform. I had envisioned a small enclosed locker room; he came up with the idea to combine that room with a bubble with remote manipulators. That, once again, put the Exogorths out where we could see them.
- Zayne sure goes Jack Torrance there when he gets mad. Hey, he hasn’t bathed in a loooong time. You'd be irritable too...
- Regard the serving droids: They’re GG-series. Adascorp owns the Telerath bank, where we saw the model in #11 and #18.
- Ah, the magic tray that splits the droid’s head. The idea of the tray hurled by the Force, of course, was a direct riff on Frank Miller's Bullseye, whose successful escapes included well-placed shots with all manner of mundane items, from pills to playing cards. My initial idea was it would just be a damaging shot to the eyes — as Jarael did successfully with the chain in #14; as depicted, it’s somewhat more debilitating. Of course, the factory-reject nature of the -24s is now established, so this can be just one more item for Adascorp's eventual civil suit!
- Adasca lays out in the demonstration what Exogorths might be capable of if you sped them up and Fedexed them to places you didn’t like. I couldn’t use the phrase von Neumann machines, but that’s what they are, in a sense.
- Meet Mandalore, political philosopher. His Mandalorian spin on Carl von Clausewitz’s famous quotation about politics seemed very apropos to the situation – and to how he thinks!
- Alas, poor lobotic assistant – loyal to the end. I’m not sure what the proper blood color was, but we toned it down for print. It’s still uber-creepy…
- The Adjudicator gives a hint as to the species of the columnist. Did you catch it? And can you find where the fellow currently thought to be Kelven Garnatrope last appeared? More fun from Dark Horse!