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ADVANCE REVIEW: Star Wars Jedi: The Dark Side #3

Posted: Tuesday, July 26, 2011
By: Zack Davisson

Scott Allie
Mahmud Asrar
Dark Horse
ADVANCE REVIEW! Star Wars: The Dark Side #3 will come out on July 27, 2011.

Someone on the Jedi Council must really hate Qui-Gon Jinn. All of his padwan learners are reckless jerks who never listen to a word he says and are Dark Side–bound.

In Star Wars: The Dark Side Qui-Gon’s pesky sidekick is Xanatos, a reckless and temperamental boy with a grudge against his own father and seemingly everything else. Jealousy. Pride. Anger. Fear. Xanatos is a prime recruit for the Dark Side of the Force. The Jedi Council decides to tackle the issue directly, sending Xanatos to his home planet where they hope he will finally learn to control his emotions and be able to graduate to Jedi Knight.

Xanatos, of course, thinks the whole excursion a chance for Qui-Gon to him so Qui-Gon can take on a new Twi'lek Jedi apprentice.

By the third issue of Star Wars: The Dark Side, things are starting to move as the mysterious figure from the second issue reveals himself, and the plots move forward. Xanatos is right in that there is a conspiracy afoot, he is just wrong about the conspiracy’s intention and direction. Instead of the Jedi Council, it is his own trusted sister Nason that is out to get him. Allied with the dark-cloaked, skull-faced figure, Nason is part of a plot to see political unrest on the planet and that seeks to assassinate and replace Nason and Xanatos’ father. Somewhere lurking in the background in a person with dark Jedi powers, manipulating events and supplying weapons to the revolution.

I have been enjoying the Star Wars: The Dark Side series, and the longer I spend with the characters the more the story improves. Xanatos was a bit silly at first; you might as well have had "Dark Side Bound" tattooed on his forehead for all the clumsy foreshadowing we get, but I sense (hope) that Xanatos might be a red herring, as Qui-Gon drops a hint this issue that the true dark power might be someone who appears more trustworthy.

One problem I have is with the internal Star Wars logic of the series. It is strange that, keeping in mind Jedi Academy lore, someone like Xanatos could advance in the Jedi Order to the extent that he is being considered for Knighthood. Most normal people have more control over their emotions than Xanatos, who flies off the handle and overacts to everything. In one panel, Xanatos’ father musses how the Jedi have been training Xanatos for 13 years and he is still an impetuous hothead. I had to agree. What exactly does it take to fail at being a Jedi? When does the Council just give up on someone?

Mahmud Asrar’s art in this series is very good, doing an impressive job capturing Qui-Gon’s face, and in putting emotion in alien eyes. He seems to like drawing the female Jedi Tahl, who gets all the best poses when lightsabers are drawn and the battle begins.

Asrar does draw one ridiculous scene, although it probably isn’t his fault. It is actually the scene from the cover, when Qui-Gon puts on a rubber mask and tries to infiltrate a gang of weapons smugglers. Rubber masks are all well and good, but you have to ask… where does the beard go? A great big bearded fellow can’t just slap on a form-fitting face mask and expect to get away with it.

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