Thursday, April 19, 2012

Review: STAR WARS: DAWN OF THE JEDI – Force Storm #1


["Star Wars Central" review page is here.] 

STORY: John Ostrander and Jan Duursema
SCRIPT: John Ostrander
PENCILS: Jan Duursema
INKS: Dan Parsons
COLORS: Wes Dzioba
LETTERS: Michael Heisler
COVER: Gonzalo Flores - variant (Jan Duursema – main cover)
36pp, Color, $3.50 U.S.

In the Star Wars Expanded Universe timeline, there is a period known as “Before the Republic.” This era occurs from 36,000 to 25,000 years before the Battle of Yavin, the climatic battle in the 1977 film, Star Wars, in which Luke Skywalker destroys the Death Star. Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi is a new series of comic book miniseries situated in the “Before the Republic” age.

The first miniseries is Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi – Force Storm. It takes place a few centuries before that time, 36,453 before the Battle of Yavin (also known by the acronym, BBY). The series takes readers back to the beginnings of the Jedi, then known as the Je’daii. On the planet Tython, in the center of the galaxy, these Je’daii (a word in the Bendu language that means “mystic center”) form an order of warrior monks that strives to maintain peace and to balance the mysterious power known as the Force.

In Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi – Force Storm #1, Je’daii Master Ketu recounts the birth of the order to two of his students. This includes the first great conflict in which the Je’daii must take an active role, The Despot War (a conflict that takes place 12-years before Ketu tells the story). Meanwhile, on the lush world of Tatooine, Predor Tul’Kar of the Infinite Empire culls Force sensitives with the help of his Force Hound, Xesh.

I was surprised when Dark Horse Comics sent me a copy of Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi – Force Storm #1. It must be obvious to them (and even some of you, dear readers) that I enjoy reading Star Wars comic books. I certainly enjoyed reading the Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi – Force Storm comic book.

The first 11 pages of issue #1 recount the beginnings of what would become the Jedi Order (thus, the term, “Dawn” in the title). I expected a different story. To me, at least, it lacks grandeur, as if this was something Stan Lee and Steve Ditko cobbled together for Strange Tales back in the 1960s. The story that is set in the present (Infinite Empire) is more interesting, and the character, Xesh, seems like a budding star.

The art by Jan Duursema is good, looking as right for Star Wars as any other comic book art. The storytelling is good, though a bit calm for Star Wars, but the Ostrander-Duursema team is a good one for Star Wars comic books.

[This comic book also includes a 4-page preview of Conan the Barbarian #1 by Brian Wood, Becky Cloonan, Dave Stewart, and Richard Starkings & Comicraft, with cover art by Massimo Carnevale.]

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