Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #34
"VINDICATION" PART 3
Revelations and confrontations galore as Zayne confronts the founders of the Jedi Covenant!
Early when I was developing what would become the first major meta-story for Knights of the Old Republic, I had expressed to my editors that I wanted to explore the tensions between the Unifying Force and the Living Force. Even though those words weren’t in the original trilogy of movies, we kind of got a sense some division might exist. The Unifying Force (to simplify greatly) gets a lot into destiny and the threads tying us to the past and the future; it’s Big Picture. The Living Force gets into, obviously, the living — and so you have Obi-Wan and Yoda worried that Luke is going to spoil the show by saving his friends, and so on. (I got into that a little in an old Star Wars blog post, here.)
I liked that theme, and so in “Commencement” we really set it up. The Covenant aren’t just into the Unifying Force — they’re WAY into it, to the point that it impacts how they value the living. And over the course of this first chunk of the series, we see the contradictions that raises. They’re “activist seers,” to coin a term — even if, in so doing, we realize those two words are in opposition. There ought to be some kind of Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle for prognosticators: Maybe the act of seeing itself is an alteration!
And that brings us to this, the penultimate chapter of “Vindication” — and the bunch of prophecies that it addresses. Note that I don’t say “resolves” — because I’m more interested in readers knowing what the characters think, and then judging from there to what extent the whole story resolves those prophecies. But it would be hard to read what I’ve written before about the tensions Force-users face without taking a close look at the Rogue Moon Prophecy itself. A circle of seers, their eyes closed, see danger in a figure — whose defining characteristic is that he cannot see. You can work out quite a lot from there, especially if you can take the step (as they could not) of considering a spacesuit not as a spacesuit — but what it also is: a vessel for something else. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar — but not this time.
As I said, I’m not going to finish the explanation here — that’s for the reader to do — but the story does, through the wildly different figures of Gryph and Krynda, provide counsel on the subject. Sadly, it’s a little too late for the Covenant members!
A word is perhaps in order about the prophecy-that-wasn’t. It won’t surprise anyone to know that the final speech in “Commencement” was one of my earliest ideas for the series — but what’s not known is that what we learn about that speech in this issue was also present in the series pitch. It is not something we decided later on — rather, all the clues were there, right from the beginning. You certainly could still read the speech as a vendetta out of “Death Wish” — indeed, we provided just enough story support to make that possible — but go back to see how much of that came from events, and how much came from the Masters’ paranoia. And so while Gryph is really not talking to those readers here in this issue — as the series progressed, I would imagine that, as stated, anyone watching Zayne carefully would have come to the correct conclusion. A surprise that shouldn’t be a surprise.
One more chapter to go in “Vindication.” We don’t really have double-sized event issues in comics the way we used to — but I really do perceive #34 and #35 as two parts of the same chapter. I’ll be curious in the trade collection to see how noticeable the break between the two issues is.
- It isn’t noticeable until you’re done, but the cover could be interpreted as the last panel of the issue. It really isn’t our intention to tease; at the cover-design stage we weren’t entirely certain where the break would fall between #34 and #35.
- We’ve tried hard not to put elements key to the story anywhere outside of the comics themselves — which explains part of why, while the function of the Vanjervalis Chain is fully explained between the Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide and Handbook, we still went ahead and depicted the thing in action in #31 to the extent that we did. After all, you can read all the brochures you want, but nothing beats a test-drive!
- I’m very pleased with Brian Ching and Michael Atiyeh’s depiction this issue of Force powers and the Sith magic. We see the swirling clouds surrounding Haazen — Brian says he reminds him of the Spider-Man villain Mysterio, which I think is apt — and we see both the glowing effects of the Kressh Gauntlet and a new look for Force levitation. Cool stuff!
- Note that Haazen’s Force lightning emerges from his left, human hand, and not his cybernetic one.
- Check out Lucien’s hands — and what happens to them after the disruption of his lightsaber. Somebody get the Bactine! (Whoops. Forgot the era. Make that, the "Koltine.")
- The Hayze name is, ironically, not a guide to how I have been pronouncing Haazen. It’s HAYZ and HAH-zhun. But you know, switching up the pronunciations is just the sort of thing a sneaky dude like Haazen would do.
- Note that it is Haazen’s cane-saber that he passes telekinetically to Lucien. I don’t know what he did with the other half!
- Poor old Ninebedee. Actually her second appearance, but her third mention (the other being in #30).
- I’ve mentioned a number of ways in which “Vector” influenced the direction of the series this year: One of the smaller ones was in the Crystal Oubliette. My plan had been for a simple medical stasis device all along — but when we came up with the Oubliette for #27, it fit so well I can’t imagine our not using it here. Like that one, it’s a unique thing — hence the “prototype” mention — but it’s exactly the sort of thing Haazen would have tucked away around the house!
- We actually have in the Oubliette scene a little of how I perceive Miraluka Force Sight to work. While the Crystal Oubliette blocks the perception of the living mind inside, a sighted person can still see the occupant. Since Miraluka can read like sighted people (that’s in the Campaign Guide) and we’ve established that Q’anilia could tell the color of the red spacesuit, it must be more complicated than simple Daredevil-style sonar (or darkvision, from the game). In any event, she “sees” Krynda without eyes, and still doesn’t see the truth. Yes, I got a discount that day at the Metaphor Store.
- From behind, that hat on Haazen looks like there’s a lobster on his head. Which is consistent with the Lovecraftian creepiness of the dude — and ironic, since he’s allergic to seafood. (What, you didn’t read his profile in Tiger Beat?)
- This is, again, a wonderful issue for showcasing Brian and Michael Atiyeh’s work. Check out how the detail on the characters fades in and out on the final scene — and compare Lucien’s eyes to those in the child in #9. Fun stuff.
- I’m thrilled with the way Brian worked the flames on Lucien’s coat into the angry final scene. I don’t know if he always planned to do a scene like that, but it’s too cool!
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.