REVIEW: Star Wars – Dawn of the Jedi #1

Posted by under *dislike, Comics |

This week sees the release of Dark Horse Comics’ Star Wars – Dawn of the Jedi #1. The new series, written by comics legend John Ostrander and set in an ancient era of Star Wars history, sounded like just the type of book that might draw a couple of lapsed fans here at MLD into the Star Wars comics universe for the first time. After poring over the detailed backstory for this series a few weeks ago in the encyclopedic Star Wars – Dawn of the Jedi #0, we were anxious to get to the meat of the story. Unfortunately, this series looks to be a no-go for both of us as a lot of the same information from issue #0 is represented again here and issue #1 was unable to pull us in.

Spoilers for Dark Horse’s Star Wars – Dawn of the Jedi #1 will follow.

PTB: Star Wars – Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm, that’s some title, but as Dark Horse has built a small empire of Star Wars titles I suppose it’s necessary. In keeping with the ancient Jedi focus, the first page presents a copy of The Je’daii Oath:

There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.
There is no fear; there is power.
I am the heart of the Force.
I am the revealing fire of light.
I am the mystery of darkness,
In balance with chaos and harmony,
Immortal in the Force.

KevinMLD: I see no reason why this oath was so important that they printed it on that first page. It comes across as kind of pompous to me.

PTB: The thing I like most about that page is the link to boards.darkhorse.com for fans to discuss the book. I’m sure it’s in everything they publish but I liked seeing that.

The oath that’s printed there worked much better when it was incorporated into the story and I think the history of the Tho Yor and Tython could have used the same treatment. I found the first half of this book kind of impenetrable even after reading issue #0. Reading that book may have even hurt my reception of this one since it wasn’t new information. It was too many pages with a similar set up, and the back story of the pyramids traveling to the Deep Core of the galaxy may have worked better as text.

KevinMLD: Twelve or so pages of just back story opening the issue really was just too much and damages the book beyond repair. I get that every Star Wars film opened with similar back story statements as their openings and maybe that’s what Dark Horse should have done here: presented just a single page of text laid out similarly to the classic scrolling Star Wars intro. Having said that I absolutely would have preferred the book open with characters and reveal the history within the context of the actual story. As it is presented in issue #1, all of that dry history killed any interest I had in this series.

PTB: There’s even a nod to that scrolling text in the first sentence. Why these pyramids took the sensitives of the various worlds is a mystery and it harkens back to what we discussed about the ancient history of the Star Wars universe having an ancient history of its own. I really don’t think any of that is going to come into play even after half the book was spent on it.

KevinMLD: It certainly doesn’t seem like any of the characters are interested in that mystery. So why should we care?

PTB: Once we got to individual characters things got a bit better. Unfortunately there weren’t a lot of pages left to get much of a story going.

KevinMLD: It may have become a bit more readable, but there’s nothing in issue #1 that got me excited for issue #2.

PTB: As we’re introduced to a small cast of villains, it’s clear that Xesh is the “Darth Maul” here and I can only hope he’s more than just a cool look. The villains he’s working for have their own “Infinite Empire” and serve a familiar role to the enemies we’ve seen in the Star Wars films. It seems their angle is to destroy the Force wielders who have migrated to the worlds outside of the Deep Core.

KevinMLD: These aliens are slightly odd looking, which I guess is good, but I think it will prove difficult to convey any personality in their faces. As for Xesh, there is a shot of him when Ore’mun is being killed that reminded me of Vader when Luke was being fried by the Emperor. I was already predicting a Xesh face turn until that last page. We’ll see…

PTB: Jan Duursema, Dan Parsons, and Wes Dzioba’s artwork is very nice particularly on the the opening pages. It held up for the most part but the design of the villains makes them look a bit cartoonish at times and Force Hound Trill’s hairstyle magically changed from panel to panel during her short lived battle with Xesh.

KevinMLD: I definitely think the art is the highlight of this book.

This is a series I thought had a lot of potential but it just didn’t work for me at all. Maybe if the issue had started with the scenes on Tatooine, we would be having a different conversation, but it didn’t. Dark Horse is the king of this type of licensed product. They must know their audience and I suspect that means there is an audience hungry for this type of book. I’m just not part of it.

PTB: I don’t know that I am either, but I may still give issue #2 of this 4-issue series a chance now that we’re (hopefully) past the universe building stage.

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