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Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi Omnibus Vol. 2

Writer: Tom Vwitch, Kevin Anderson
Artist: Various
Comics Creators Guild, August 2008
Dark Horse Comics have held the comics producing section of the Star Wars franchise since 1993, generating thousands of pages of material, much of it excellent, and some not quite. But as I’ve said before, die-hard fans simply aren’t that quality conscious when it comes to their personal obsession, whether it’s comics, the latest batch of action figures, or another film fiasco.

The company’s Omnibus line is a wonderful, economical way to keep the older material in print for such fans by bundling old publications into classy digests (they’re slightly smaller than US comic-books but larger than the standard manga volume, running about 400 full colour pages per book). Tales of the Jedi chronologically collects the various extrapolations set prior to the first film Star Wars IV: A New Hope.

‘The Freedon Nadd Uprising’ is by Tom Veitch, with art by Tony Akins and Dennis Rodier, coloured by Suzanne Bourdages and lettered by Willie Schubert, It’s set about 4000 years prior to the rise of Darth Vader and first appeared as a two-part comic miniseries of the same name in 1994. Set once again set on the Beast World of Onderon (as there’s such close continuity I strongly recommend first reading volume 1 - ISBN: 978-1-84576-471-5 - of this Omnibus series). There’s a resurgence of Sith sorcery on the newly liberated world, and the dispatch of Nomi Sunrider and a small Jedi team to ferret out the contagion leads to the resurrection of a hideous undying evil…

This is followed by ‘Dark Lords of the Sith’ by Veitch, Kevin J. Anderson, Chris Gossett, Mike Barreiro and Jordi Ensign, Pamela Rambo and Schubert. Set one year later this (originally) six issue tale follows the fortunes of the Sith-tainted royal siblings Aleema and Satal Keto as they first steal the throne of the Empress Teta system and then attempt to extend their rule to the rest of the Republic. Initially opposing them, only to fall prey to the Dark Side is the haughty young Jedi Exar Kun. As the war escalates the fallen Ulic Qel-Droma and Kun fall deeper under the sway of the ghost of Sith Lord Freedon Nadd…

As the Republic totters of the brink of darkness and disaster ‘The Sith War’ (by Anderson, Dario Carrasco Jr., Jordi Ensign, Mark Heike, Bill Black and David Jacob Beckett, Rachelle Menase, Rambo and Schubert) opens with all-out galactic war raging. Another six-part epic, this intense thriller concludes the dramas of all the major players in stirring fashion, paving the way for an excellent and much-needed change of pace.

‘Redemption’ (originally a five part miniseries by Anderson, Gossett, Andrew Pepoy, Dave Nestelle and Schubert) is set ten years later, as Vima, daughter of the great Nomi Sunrider hits her rebellious teen years. Ignored by Jedi masters overburdened by the task of rebuilding civilisation, she runs away in search of somebody, anybody, willing to teach her the secrets of The Force.

Hidden on the dangerous Moon of Yavin she finds the fallen Jedi Ulic Qel-Droma…

Rich in their own complex mythology these swashbuckling fantasy tales can be a little hard to follow, but the sheer bravura exuberance is quite intoxicating and makes this book a thoroughly engrossing reading experience. These are comics stories that act as a solid gold entrance into the world of graphic narrative and one we should all exploit to get more people into comics.
-- Win Wiacek

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