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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #30

"EXALTED" PART 2

Zayne Carrick faces off against one of the Jedi Masters who framed him for the murder of his fellow Padawans in this shocking conclusion to "Exalted"!

It was very much the goal to follow “Vector” immediately with a story that was exemplary of the series: something very close to our regular balance of action, humor, and drama, all set in another of our new and unusual landscapes. Later stories might be heavier on one element or another, but “Exalted” fit the post-Vector needs very nicely, while advancing the larger arc storylines and giving more of the major characters some illuminating character moments. No, we didn’t see Jarael and the Moomo Brothers much at all in “Vector,” but we have a better idea of what they’re all about after “Exalted.”

“Exalted” is also Feln’s story, and I appreciated the opportunity here to flesh out a character we’ve only gotten to see in short takes until now. Most of those moments have been around Lucien, however, and we’ve been able to see from their dynamic thus far that he was, likely, Lucien’s best friend.

Not that it’s been a great contest for the title: while we’ve seen people like Lord Adasca who were linked by wealth, there weren’t going to be many people who shared both the lifestyle and the career goals. Feln did both, as I’d always understood him to be a king among his people from the beginning; he might not have the same colossal wealth, but he had the status. Thus, I looked on Feln as if he were Lucien’s older fraternity brother — a very big man from a much smaller campus. Snarky, a bit crude — and, as we see here, cruel as well.

The position of “Exalted” and the culture around it were influenced in part by the need to explain how Feln retained his status even after joining the Jedi. No Draay Trust solution was going to work here; Feln’s leadership would have to be something that couldn’t be abdicated. This fit in well with the Feeorin-grow-stronger-as-they-age business that already existed; if any race were cut out to be geriatri-archal (is that a word?), this would be the one.

The staging of the action presented some interesting challenges. I perceived of the village as basically on an incline, where as one ascends rooftops and ground level might not be far apart; such a setting might give Zayne a moment’s fighting chance. Bong Dazo visualized the village slightly more vertically than I did, but that worked out even better, incorporating bits I’d suggested like the khadarok cart and the rotten rooftop. There were also some smaller challenges, like making sure the characters were set up in such a way that Gryph was free to move about and make his switcheroo. 

 

  • The first mention of the name of the beasts of burden — the khadaroks — appears in the inside front cover.

  • It helps to watch the difference in the tendril decorations in the sequences with both Borjak and Feln, such as when Feln is waiting outside the anteroom of the Sanctum for Feln to make his call. Feeorin are pretty similar otherwise.

  • “Option Ossus” refers to the dire events on that planet earlier in Tales of the Jedi, something clearly fresh in Covenant minds.

  • Gotta like those “bone knives” everyone has. That’s totally Bong Dazo’s innovation, but it definitely works: There’s not much in the way of industry on Odryn.

  • “Little clown” tracks back to #6 — as does the toss-the-saber bit. It was the last time Feln and Zayne got together, after all!

  • Every time I’ve seen these characters with these goofy face-tentacles, I’ve been itching to do a story with some hand-to-hand combat. I imagine pulling hair is nowhere near as painful as what happens to Feln!
 
  • Yes, that’s actually 10, count ’em, 10 Zaynes on that one action page. More staging coolness from Bong!

  • Boy, that may be the coolest explosion we’ve had yet. Would love to see what the wood model shop would do with that special effect…

  • When it comes to the business with the stick as it relates to the prophecy in #5, it’s helpful to remember one thing: Despite the storytelling trick that brought the reader into the vision, the viewers of the hologram only got the audio of the vision.

  • “There… is… no… Sanctuary. There… is… no…” er, Sanctum. Sorry, my life-crystal was flashing for a minute there.

  • Feeorin bleed red, evidently. (And profusely, now that you look at it…)

  • Borjak’s granddaughter suddenly gets a case of facial tendrils on her later appearance here. Noxzema could do something about that. (And yes, she has a name, but since we didn’t mention it in the issue, I won’t now.)

  • Dig the furniture in the final scene: Lucien’s in his mother’s study, from #9.

  • Swiftsure was mentioned first in the text-page entry for #22, I believe.

  • Now that he’s gone, I might note of Feln that, while it’s not the reason I chose the name, his monicker comes along with what could be considered a tiny nod to my sister’s kids, who helped me sort through some of the more trivial aspects of the KOTOR games when I was just starting out. Just as H-A-L is a letter back from I-B-M — a coincidence as well, by the way — go back two letters from “Feln” and you find the first initials of my niece and nephews. The name was already on my list of possibilities, but once I realized that little improbable factoid, it made it easier to choose. "Veln" would have worked, but it would have left someone out!

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: Knights of the Old Republic Vol. 6: Vindication (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.

 

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