Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #26
"VECTOR" PART 2
Zayne and Gryph are surrounded by enemies and trapped in close-quarters with a deadly agent of the Covenant!
The second part of the “Vector” storyline represents a major change of scenery for the series, which had spent several months in claustrophobic locales such as the Lower City and Undercity of Taris. Even the Arkanian Legacy sequence was mostly indoors. The creation of Jebble, first mentioned in #0’s holofeed, gave us the chance to get outside again in a new setting – and to show a Mandalorian version of the Republic Army camps of Serroco.
Both in the comics series and for the Star Wars Roleplaying Game, I’d been continuing to develop the changes going on in the Mandalorian forces. The video games had established the scope of the Mandalorian movements in this period; that suggested all manner of problems to be solved, from the logistical to the cultural. Here on Jebble, we got to see some of their solutions in action.
It doesn’t take long to figure out the score between Pulsipher and his troops; even if Pulsipher weren’t a blowhard, he might have had a hard time winning the respect of such a results-driven people. I find one of the fun things about studying wars past is looking not just at the soldiers, but at the various people working on ancillary (and often dead-end) contributions to the cause. Churchill alone suggested any number of potential strange war-winning devices for his people to look into. (Not all of them panned out, but, hey, he was the boss!) The cultivation of Pulsie and Demagol’s various inquiries should suggest a number of things about the Mandalorians in this period…
We also got to see a lot more of Zayne and Gryph’s interactions with Celeste Morne – and this recalls a story from earlier in the series. When I was developing Jarael’s character, I had initially intended a much harder, more acidic edge to her. We certainly see that in her introduction in “Commencement.” But as I continued thinking about her, I realized how much of her attitude would have been shaped by the difficulty of her life on Taris. The further I took her away from those concerns, some of that resentment began to melt away. Celeste’s outlook, too, would have been dictated by the nature of her lifestyle: visits to one nasty place after another, in service of her larger goal. No change of scenery would affect her while her mission remained -- even in the bright daylight of Jebble, she’s a Shadow. She’s a very different character from anyone else in the series, for that reason.
We developed a very specific set of rules for how the Rakghoul plague traveled; I won’t get into it now as there is more to be seen, but the chaotic events we see here are consistent with it.
- This issue began a marvelous stretch of covers by Dustin Weaver, who previously had been exclusively an interior artist on the series. Dustin’s cover style is different – more realistic – and continues to amaze me. Great stuff!
- I love the tuft of fluff on Pulsipher’s head. Perhaps he should look for a Sith hairpiece!
- We spent a lot of time figuring out how the Muur Talisman looked and how it moved; I think the snaky-scarab version the art team came up with is pretty cool.
- This is the first series mention of the chilly conditions on Cadomai, Gryph’s homeworld. We’d mentioned the planet before in the Handbook.
- Ah, Wargo and Frazznik – “Benno’s boys” from Taris back in #3. We had actually intended Frazznik to appear in one of the earlier “Adjudicator” pages in the bounty column, but he was cut for space. Here, they underscored that a lot of people unwelcome on Taris were finding a place (sort of) with the Mandalorians.
- We got our first comics mention of the “Resol’nare” or Six Actions guiding Mandalorian life here; that came from Karen Traviss.
- The color code for the Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders is something that was established long before; the actual name of the mid-level rank is mentioned here for the first time. I also prefer “crimson” to “red” for naming their color; I’m guessing the Mandies would, too.
- We make note of the transports coming from Taris, another thing inspired by World War II. Britain had hoped for landing ships for a possible invasion of southeastern Europe, but many of the LSTs and LCTs were already bound for their role in D-Day. We figured that there would be a similar lack of large troop transports to meet the Mandalorians’ needs here.
- Neo-Crusader armor has a number of improvements over the garden variety – one of them, mentioned here for the first time in the comics, relates to their hardiness.
- Anybody for a Mandalorian Gryph action figure? It’s what all the Snivvians are wearing these days!
This issue has been reprinted in the following collections:
Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Old Republic Vol. 2 (Marvel, 2017),
available from Amazon.
Star Wars Omnibus: Knights of the Old Republic Vol. 2 (Dark Horse, 2013),
available from Amazon.
Star Wars: Vector Vol. 1 (aka KOTOR Vol. 5) (Dark Horse, 2009),
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.