Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #33
"VINDICATION" PART 2
As with all my “production notes,” consider a “Spoiler Warning” attached. Please read the books first.
#33 stands on its own in a number of respects — being almost entirely a
flashback issue set in the middle of “Vindication,” establishing
Haazen’s origin story. One of the interesting things about it is that,
while I knew the events of the story all along, it was only very late
in the game that we chose the manner in which those events would appear.
Back in 2006, when I submitted “Homecoming” for what would become #9, I already had Haazen’s background worked out — as well as histories for Krynda and Lucien’s father. Theirs would be a drama that would cross many years, starting before the Great Sith War (and most of the Tales of the Jedi comics) and continuing during it — with, of course, more to follow afterward. I knew that I would likely not get into that full backstory until very near to “Vindication” or within it — and further, I didn’t know whether we’d actually depict it or just cover it in dialogue or shorter flashbacks. It was something that was going to need to be played differently depending on exactly when it was conveyed.
Fortunately, we found ourselves in the happy circumstance of being able to devote and entire issue to the story — and here, the example of “Flashpoint” was instructive again. There, we had one artist on “Flashpoint” and another on “Homecoming” — and when “Homecoming” was ready before the final chapter of “Flashpoint,” it was slotted for release between the issues. As “Vindication” was coming together originally as a three-issue sequence following “Turnabout,” we saw an opportunity: Expanded to a full issue, the backstory could be done by a second artist without looking too far out of place when collected; it’s a flashback to a different time, after all, and stylistic differences actually could serve the story. And by planning it in advance, we knew that we could buy a few extra weeks to finish the storyline overall. So what might have been a shorter segment, handled differently, in the original three-issue “Vindication” became an integral part of a four-issue “Vindication” — not the accidental interlude that “Homecoming” became, but something that flowed more organically with the story around it.
That settled, the question became exactly how much of the world seen in Tales of the Jedi to depict. My preference was not to overdo it — and since the first sequence was seven years before anything we saw in those comics, that choice became easier. We looked more at settings from that era, like Arkania — and at trying to depict what was really a different feel. Life was a little more formal back then, before things flew apart; and while both that era and the one shown in our series are worlds with a lot of money flowing around, I considered that “old money” was probably a much bigger deal in that time. By contrast, resources are a lot more spread around in our series’ time. (I got into how that transition happened a lot in my Republic chapter of the Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide.)
I also sought here to raise again (though not present conclusions about) the relationship of money and class with the Jedi, something I intended to be in the picture when concocting the Draay Trust. Again going back to the Campaign Guide, I tried to describe there that the relationship between the Jedi and the society around them was a complicated one, with a lot of different threads to it. I think the galaxy’s sociology students would have had a lot of things to write about!
Anyway, the result is an issue with a completely different feel on a number of levels — something that, when writing, felt a lot like a tale that might be at home in an issue of Thor, off in Asgard in the days of legend. Bong Dazo seems to have had some of the same thoughts — several images, including that gown on Krynda at the party, remind me of Arthur Adams’ Asgard annuals for X-Men and New Mutants!
- Yes, that’s Master Vrook Lamar running like heck on the opening page. If flaming zots were raining down on you, your combover would be a mess, too.
- While, as mentioned above, I had known the history of Barrison back when writing “Homecoming,” I actually didn’t have a name for him until #12. I always referred to him as Lord Draay.
- Alok Adasca is indeed the father of our Lord Adasca from “Daze of Hate,” where we first raised the relationship between his family and the Draays.
- While we do not depict the Sunriders from the Tales comics, we did establish here that Krynda’s father was the Miraluka Master who rehabilitated Chamma, the eventual teacher of Andur Sunrider. We visually depict the Master, established in a text piece in the West End Tales of the Jedi Companion, for the first time, here. So that’s our tangential connection there to Nomi Sunrider — while her story wasn’t ever part of where our saga was headed, she’s been announced as part of an upcoming prose novel, so her fans can look forward to more to come.
- Gotta like those collar-link things Arca Jeth has on. They must have come from Mysterio’s closet!
- “Arca” is misspelled in one caption — we’ll catch that in the trade.
- Yes, the painting in #31 is indeed inspired by the battle scene here. There was initially some thought that the figure in the painting behind Barrison might become Haazen if we wanted him to be — it’s the reason we did depict a character with no lightsaber. If we had needed him to be Haazen as “Vindication” too shape, it would have just been a matter of coloring his hair black in the painting. But as #33 began to come together, we knew pretty quickly that Haazen wouldn’t have been in that scene.
- It’s been asked what weapon Dossa is wielding on Toprawa. I didn’t name it in the issue so I won't name it here, but her specialty is nasty, banned weapons of all kinds — both conventional and Sith-related. So it’s safe to imagine it’s something new from her arsenal.
- The Yoke of Seeming is the artificial clavicle-thing jutting out of Haazen’s back, just above the shoulders; the three “shoulder-pad” thingies that extend to his front are part of it. As I said on the Dark Horse boards, in addition to clouding his intentions, the Yoke transmits the sense of himself he wishes to convey. So while others accurately see his true form, they tend not to react viscerally to it. When he chooses, he can minimize its effects — as you saw in #9, where he wants to convey revulsion. So it's a Living Force cloaking device, but not a true physical cloaking device. It really works on more of an emotional level. Since it only works in person and with Force-sensitives, there are obvious limitations — which we see reflected in his lifestyle. Krynda and Lucien know what he really looks like, but he tends to wear the robe and hood anyway for the benefit of the occasional non-Jedi on the compound.