Friday, March 20, 2015

7 Days of Legends: Dawn of the Jedi–Prisoner of Bogan

Prisoner of Bogan

I have never been so glad to read optional tangential material in the order that I did with Dawn of the Jedi. Of course, this seems to be fairly intentional. Despite the fact Force Storm actually starts around the same time as Into the Void and ends several days later (not counting the novel's epilogue), Into the Void was released later and appears on most accounts of the metaseries after Force Storm. This could be for the very simple reason that the comic was the progenitor of the series, but the benefit to it all is that almost all of the background ideas in Prisoner of Bogan are introduced in Into the Void.

This starts in the prelude novella, Dawn of the Jedi: Eruption. Originally featured in Star Wars: Insider, Eruption was included in Into the Void as a crossover between Hawk Ryo from the comics and Lanoree Brock of Into the Void. While Force Storm treated Hawk as a generic Jedi without having much to say about him, Eruption mentions the fact that he has a history with the Dark Side and is a bit more comfortable giving into his anger than the average Jedi. Into the Void, by comparison, features Lanoree Brock traveling from planet to planet within the Tython system, including spending a good amount of time on Nox.

Nox, along with several other planets, is featured in Prisoner of Bogan, although not in as great detail. Perhaps more importantly, the general opinion of the Je'dai throughout the system is equal between the two: generally, they're feared, but not very well liked. Not much different than the Jedi around the time of the Clone Wars, actually.

In Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm, a Rakata starship in search of territory to invade crash-lands on Tython. The one survivor is Xesh, a human slave of the Rakata and a powerful Force-sensitive who the Rakata trained in the use of the Dark Side. After being defeated by the Je'dai – largely because he chooses to save their lives against a Tythan monster – Xesh is then sent to dwell on his predilection toward the Dark Side on the moon Bogan, from whence this story begins.

Prisoner of Bogan is, like Into the Void, a chase across the Tython system. Unlike Into the Void, there are two different hunting parties chasing the query. The titular Prisoner of Bogan, Daegan Lok, is a madman who has seen visions of an army of Force-saber (or possibly lightsaber, which is a similar technology) wielding soldiers advancing. His goal is to raise such an army, take over the Je'dai by Force, and lead the Jedi in the defense of the Tython system. Once he discovers Xesh's knowledge, he takes him with him and begins to act on this. The Je'dai are hunting them, for obvious reasons, but so are the Rakata, trailing Xesh.

Unfortunately, this concept is as far as this story goes. Unlike most modern comic collections, Prisoner of Bogan does not tell a story. It tells a middle chapter. There is really no beginning or end here, despite the fact that Force Storm clearly functions as a self-contained event and there is no reason to give Force War extra baggage when it's got, you know, a war to tell.

The one other writing problem is that it recognizes the inherent problems of Bogan without doing anything to address them. The concept of Bogan is that it is a prison where individuals who are falling or have fallen to the Dark Side are exiled in order to meditate and find their way back to the light. It is sort of like locking violent criminals in a wrestling ring with no hope of respite for the violence, or like trying to cure slash fiction addicts by locking their browsers to only slashfic.org. If somebody really wants to get back to society and truly feels that they've made a mistake, this is a terrible prison, and they might be able to meditate themselves back to rehabilitation. For anybody who is honestly falling to the Dark Side, on the other hand, this is the most worthless form of rehab imaginable.

Those are pretty much the only complaints I have about the writing. As installments of a monthly comic, this is fine. It's not the best story ever, but it is perfectly reasonable as a continuation. Unfortunately, “perfectly reasonable as a continuation” limits the amount of people I can recommend this to.

The artwork is much of the same. It's fine. It lives up to the high standards of what we expect from the current Star Wars comic team. And that's about it. There's nothing I can particularly glorify, nothing to complain about. For many others this would be an artistic accomplishment, but for the team behind Republic/Clone Wars, Legacy, and now Dawn of the Jedi, it's run of the mill.

There is one issue I've had with the visuals, but since I can't seem to find any other reference to this online, it might only a be a problem with my specific copy. That problem is the lettering. It seems the spaces between words – or even letters – was left out, and all of the text is crammed as tightly within a section of the speech bubbles as possible. Unfortunately, I have no way to tell without buying another copy if this is a standard problem or just one with the copy I bought. If anybody else owns this, please let me know whether you've faced any problems with the lettering.

While this volume doesn't give much to recommend it on its own merits, it is the middle chapter of a great series so far. Dawn of the Jedi has something for fans of any element in the Star Wars universe, or for Science Fiction or fantasy fans in general. My recommendation is to take a look at Force Storm and if you like it enough to continue the series, pick up Prisoner of Bogan and Force Wars both.

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