Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #23
"KNIGHTS OF SUFFERING" PART 2
As with all my “production notes,” consider a “Spoiler Warning” attached. Please read the books first.
penultimate issue of the “Days/Knights” sequence continues the rush of
events established during the year — and brought home some of the
challenges involved in this kind of pacing. I had purposefully began
the year with a couple of slower-paced issues knowing the very busy
weeks that were coming for Zayne and company; still, reaching the end,
I found I wished there were thirteen months in the year!
I didn’t regret the pacing — when I wrote “Flashpoint” at three issues rather than the four or five I had originally considered, I was happy with the energy it conveyed to the events. “Knights of Suffering” has more going on, though, and so the challenge was to get the plot events pared down to give the actual story space to happen.
One of those story elements was Zayne’s encounter with Shel — which became a fun thing about the issue for me. Apart from the “meet cute” that’s her first appearance, we don’t really know Shel — or the nature of her previous relationship with Zayne. I think she had something like one line before #22. So we got to establish it from an interesting perspective — after that relationship has deteriorated to the point that she’s literally ready to murder him.
I also relished the chance to have Gryph speak in defense of Zayne in his own words — and to have Zayne interact with another of his pursuers. As drawn by Dustin Weaver, his interplay with Raana Tey produces a couple of my favorite panels in the series. (“Crazy Jedi Alert” should be a bumper sticker or something. You can’t see it, but Gryph is probably whistling back there. “No, don’t pay any attention to the Snivvian. Dum de dum de dum!”)
Finally, one of the things I was sensitive to was the nature of the mission the Resistance proposed. After September 11, 2001, I felt the proposed destruction of a skyscraper — even a fictional one during wartime — was not something I should approach lightly. Zayne’s response, expressing concern what might happen to innocents in the neighborhood, was, I felt, an appropriate reaction and one worthy of someone schooled by the Jedi.
- I’m sure it must have been difficult to come up with dramatic word balloons for the cover of this one, which depicts a moment that's actually relatively peaceful, considering what's going on around it.
- Not really having an established nomenclature for Mandalorian ships in this time period, I consulted Karen Traviss’ dictionary for the ships Cassus mentions. Parjai means “victory,” Gratua means vengeance, and Jai’galaar means “shriek-hawk,” whatever that is.
- Some time back I mentioned the Jedi Tower would be attractive real estate for someone; now we know whom.
- Much of “Knights of Suffering” flows from “Reunion” in #11-12, and it took some careful continuity work to get the pieces moved from one place to the other. We now realize that Raana’s assignment to find the Senator and get his testimony had actually begun back in #12; in her appearance in #16, she’s on her way from Coruscant in a fast spaceliner. (It’s not the ship she’d land in, but it gets her to the border.) And since Lucien knew in #21 that she was on her way to Taris, he understood what Zayne was heading into. And the text pages in #15 and #18 suggest the nature of her assignment. Whew!
- There wasn’t room to get the line in, but Brejik did indeed steal the Constable’s speeder; it’s how he wound up with the kids. Gadon’s giving him a piece of his mind in one panel…
- With Goravvus’ story, we begin to see some of why things on Taris in the comics are the way they are, despite what we’re told in the video game. From what we learn there, you’d assume no alien could ever make it to the upper echelon of Taris society, much less become Senator. Here, we see that the people of Taris were not necessarily the power on Taris.
- Our code-names are now three: Mastermind, Minion, and Muscle. More to come…
- I decided the Moomo Brothers would be more fun if they had a passion. I met a guy once who was one of the most addle-minded people I’d ever met — but, boy, could he play the banjo. The Moomos, as we’ve seen, like implements of destruction — and so it made sense that they’d devote the few thoughts they have to them!
- Alek’s exchange on emotional connections was a long-promised follow-through on something we’d hinted at for a long time. Where we were talking “rules” in the Clone Wars time, in this corner of the continuity, it’s more like “schools” — as in, competing schools of thought. This doesn’t speak for any other time — but we can well understand why there might be different, sometimes conflicting currents flowing after the Sith War.
- I enjoyed the Mon Mothma vibe I got from seeing the Resistance studying the hologram. There should be a “planning session” in every Star Wars story!
- The issue also allowed us to address a story detail so small I don’t know if anyone even noticed it. In #6, Zayne uses the Force to hurl the four Masters’ lightsabers out the skylight. (I assume they found them later, or built new ones.) But eagle-eyed observers will note that the four Padawans’ sabers were in the holder, too. Why didn’t the Masters go for them — and why didn’t Zayne’s action cause them to fly out, too? As we learn here, the four sabers were latched into the tray, without their crystals. So Zayne’s action didn’t move them — and neither did the Masters take an interest in them. They wouldn’t have worked!
- The events of the story in the issue are reflected immediately in the text page, as can be seen in the elements about Lhosan and Gryph. So much for getting cleared!
- The bounty hunter’s column also reminds us that Gryph was never thought dead and that Zayne was, until Omonoth, thought to be in custody. But we also see new charges for Zayne, reflecting what Karath said on his return.