Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #31
Zayne Carrick is on his way to the authorities in hope of clearing his name — if he can make it there alive!
There is a lot going on in this story, but many elements touch on events to come, so my comments here are carefully limited to a few issue-specific things.
From the start, I had always planned to have a story in which everyone Zayne had helped would assist him in one way or another in his quest. It’s sort of like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, where everyone comes back to help. Only there’s no Christmas party to come back to in this series: In fact, any contributions would have to be made while our main characters are in the middle of their run.
“Vector” proved useful in this regard, as the elapsed story time before and during that sequence gave us a chance to put characters into the positions they’d need to be in. We see Shel for something like a page between #24 and this issue, but it’s the stepping stone we need to get her from Taris to where she is now. The Swiftsure cast has time to go home and be in position at this moment. And Zayne’s father hasn’t appeared since #12, but we know what he does and who he’s been with, and so we understand how he would make his contribution, even when he does not appear here. You don’t have to show everyone for them to have an impact, even a small one.
Now, the subject I know many readers are interested in: Malak, whose name appeared in the series for the first time this issue — one of those secrets we intended the readers to know but the characters not to. I could get into a long discussion about the reasons behind giving him a different name earlier in his career and some of the considerations involved — and I will, one day.
In fact, I had started to write one now before realizing that it would, again, get into a number of things that I would prefer that the comics themselves reveal. So I’ll simply say at this point that I had always approached the name of Malak as nom de guerre or an alias — the Malak name appeared in the games in the same way that Lenin’s name appears in official and oral histories about him, regardless of how much Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov ever did under his original name. As we learn more about who he is and who he was, we’ll come to understand what identity means to him…
- We don’t have to show the recording Vandar was speaking of, because we’ve already seen it — in Dark Times! (Which is an important logical step in how Peturri came up with it…)
- If you think Malak’s immigration experience recalls that of a certain Vito from Sicily, you’re onto something!
- Regular readers may remember the injury, reported, but unseen, suffered by Karath in #21. Whatever landed on his foot was pretty bad, since the cast is still on!
- We laid out a good deal of the mechanics behind the Vanjervalis system in the Handbook, although it’s noted in this issue that the full package was not installed on the Courageous.
- Morvis’ ship’s name should easily be recalled from its bearer’s first mention back in #8.
- Alan Robinson depicts Xamar in his traditional outfit, which makes him more recognizable; my original thought had been for him to appear in something closer to a naval uniform, which resulted in the line about it. We should assume that he reported on board in uniform (at least until and unless we fix that line in the trade).
- Shad Camper is, of course, Zayne’s alias from #14. Someone should start a list of these…
- This issue had a saddle-stitched insert from the Science Fiction Book Club, making it a little fatter than other issues.
- And speaking of ads, I love the Star Wars Miniatures and Roleplaying Game ad that debuted on the back of this issue. It’s another send-up with characters doing wacky things, like the one for the Legacy set. (If you ever wanted to see Gryph looking lasciviously at anything other than a credit, here it is!) The art appears to be by Jan Duursema — if so, it’s her first work with this series’ characters (though not her first artistic input into the series, as she drew the initial designs for Celeste Morne and Karness Muur).
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.