Review Shooter: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: War 5

Writer: John Jackson Miller
Artist: Gigi Baldassini
Review by: Tim Taylor 

Zayne Carrick is back to finish off the last issue of the Knights of the Old Republic: War mini-series. The team has remained the same throughout the limited run with Miller on the script, Mutti on pencils, Baldassini taking inks, and Atiyeh providing colors. Before we start, since this is the last issue of the limited series, I’m assuming you read the previous issues, so there will be spoilers from that material. If you’ve not read any of the arc, I suggest reading one of my reviews on an earlier issue, rather than this one in particular.

Since the same creative team remains on this issue, the art is very much the same as seen previously. To sum it up, it’s a rather unique combination of busy and minimalist. It’s a little hard to explain, so hopefully the screenshots help out some. The inks are very heavy and cut pretty harsh lines, leaving the colors to shade and even things out. To be honest, I’m not much a fan of it, but that’s more of a personal choice, really. It’s not that the art is bad by any means, it just … rubs me a little wrong, I suppose. It feels more busy to me than it needs to be.

In terms of the story, I have some stronger issues, unfortunately. We join up with Kace as he gets to the Jedi Temple, executing his plan to kidnap all the younglings. After telling his soldiers not to harm the students, one of his “Neo-crusaders” (I’m seriously not joking, he really calls them that) force flings the bejeezus out of a youngling like the poor child was full of candy and hanging from a tree. So much for unharmed. This is just a small example of how I feel the writing was handled as a whole.

Motivations are confusing and I have trouble understanding why some characters do what they do. Zayne has his same nobody-has-to-hurt-anyone-else attitude, which, having read the Knights of the Old Republic series, I have come to expect. Kace, on the other hand, befuddles me. He wants to end the war sooner to save lives, but he believes the Republic cannot change. The Republic is also corrupt because a Jedi killed his Mandalorian love during combat and he hates Republic Jedi for that. A stretch, but okay. However, if that’s the case, why is he so gruff and uncaring about killing others in this war? I have a hard time reconciling the hatred for Jedi due to killing during war and then he goes and treats this war the same way–people are casualties and that just happens. On top of that, if he’s mad about losing his child, why is he then running off to kidnap other children? Clearly, I’m investing a lot of thought into this character and his choices, but isn’t that a major portion of reading?

The dialogue is rough, obtuse, and sometimes confusing. Kace rounds up the younglings and tells them all they will become Mandalorians. A student actually responds, “But–the Mandalorians are the enemy of the Republic!
Aren’t they?” I get that they are younglings, but this kid is getting kidnapped from his home and his teacher was literally just put in chains, yet five minutes after the fighting stops he’s confused if the Mandalorians and the Republic are enemies? I think our padawan may be a little slow. Things like this plague the pages of the whole mini-series, and this issue as well.

 

Recommendation: Borrow Overall, if you have invested the time in the previous four issues of the series, you may as well go ahead and round out the arc with this final installment. If you are considering this for younger children, feel free to pick it up. The arc is very black-and-white in its handling of what’s good and bad, acceptable and morally reprehensible. That makes it decent material for a younger audience, but also muddles characters’ motivations and makes for a relatively shallow reading experience for more mature readers. If you haven’t kept up with the previous issues in the limited or are not buying this for your kid, I’d suggest steering pretty clear of this one. Its simple and clumsy handling of what could have been complex and morally ambiguous topics leaves me frustrated.

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