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Comic Review: Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic: War #1
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Knights of the Old RepublicStar Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic: War #1
Written by John Jackson Miller
Pencils by Andrea Mutti
Inks by Pierluigi Baldassini
Colors by Michael Atiyeh
Cover Art by Benjamin Carré
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: January 11, 2012
Cover Price: $3.50

Following the highly anticipated release of the new MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dark Horse has published a new related series in the form of Knights Of The Old Republic: War. Similarly to recent novel, Star Wars The Old Republic: Revan, the new KOTOR story arc promises to help build the bridge of continuity, adding more insight into the events during this era of the Star Wars universe.

Like the initial Knights Of The Old Republic comic series, the new War series follows former Jedi Zayne Carrick, this time entering the famed Mandalorian Wars that precede the events of the first KOTOR video game. Contrasting the previous series though, this one finds Carrick in completely different surroundings, in an escalated context, estranged from his previous companions, but surrounded by new ones.

Issue one of KOTOR: War rather literally kicks off with a bang. Republic forces (made up of its Navy, different militia groups, and several Jedi Knights) land on the planet Essien, recently taken under the control of the Mandalorians, to bring the scrap to the nomadic warrior army and “liberate” the planet. Carrick finds himself on the side of the Republic, but it is an uneasy conscription, finding both good and evil and both light and dark in both sides of the conflict.

Sometimes, it’s difficult with the beginning of a new comic series. There is often a need for essential background story exposition to take place, and sometimes this can be a agonizing and tedious process for readers.

Not so with KOTOR War: there is a lot of exposition throughout the writing, giving some necessary background info to orient new readers, but it’s masterfully embedded during several carefully chosen moments in the writing. This effort, on the surface, is seamless – and for long-time readers who will spot this careful and meticulous approach to keep the story pace going, it will be much appreciated.

On the topic of the writing, John Jackson Miller does a very good job at tying connections across Star Wars media simultaneously while trying to introduce a brand new storyline. The final impression is a smooth integration, obviously crafted delicately with much respect for the original source material. On top of that, Miller also manages to include some surprises in the plot within the very first issue alone!

The artwork is new and different with this series – and I was surprised it was the case. I guess I had become over-familiar with the previous artistic styles used in the previous KOTOR series, where the character of Zayne Carrack was explicitly modeled after a young Christian Slater. In this new series, however, and perhaps rightfully so, we have a new artistic perspective from the team of Andrea Mutti, Pierluigi Baldassini, and Michael Atiyeh. All contribute a new vision for this age of the Star Wars universe – and while reading the issue, it fits quite well – perhaps because the rise of the Mandalorian Wars is a massive change from the context of the previous series.

Knights of the Old Republic: War

The cover art by Benjamin Carré is good, and straight-to-the-point. However, I do feel that a more detailed piece might have been appropriate for the context of the issue. From the get-go, you feel that you (like Zayne) have been flung head first into a challenging campaign during the Mandalorian Wars, and I think this may have been better represented on the cover. No disrespect intended, for I do indeed love Carré’s cover art here, and I do look forward to any future efforts he contributes.

With a new era of Star Wars being opened up by The Old Republic video game, it is nice to see the creative teams in other media keeping on the ball with regards to the related storylines that came from where it all began with KOTOR. Star Wars fans are notorious for being sticklers about continuity and attention to detail, so it is great to see Dark Horse stepping up to the plate and continuing a story about the intriguing Zayne Carrick, but also addressing many other aspects of the KOTOR/SW:TOR line of work.

I believe players of the new Star Wars game could find this issue of interest, but the true rewarding experience will be reaped by those who were or still are fans of the original KOTOR games and the previous KOTOR comic series. The first issue of Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic: War is a tremendous effort from Dark Horse, with a launch into the Mandalorian Wars – also, thank you, Miller, for including some Mando’a dialogue as well!

Overall rating: 4 out of 5

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