The Sith have a rich and tumultuous history within the framework of the Star Wars universe. From their beginnings on Korriban, to the rise of numerous Imperial threats against the Old Republic, to the Rule of Two that culminated in Palpatine’s rise to power, and beyond to Darth Krayt’s One Sith ascendency of the galaxy. Since Star Wars was released in 1977, Expanded Universe creative teams have enriched the tapestry of Sith history, and the current Knight Errant creates a new thread in this tapestry.
Set 30-odd years before Darth Bane extinguishes the old misguided Sith and institutes the Rule Of Two, Knight Errant focuses on a time where the Sith Empire is nothing more than a large galactic territory shattered by the greed and quest for control among bickering Sith Lords. The ruling Sith impose authoritarian regimes upon the people who populate their worlds, rich with propaganda and continually destroying the wills of the populace.
The backdrop puts in place the situations that will eventually see Lord Kaan unite the Sith Lords into an all-out war against the Republic, as portrayed in the Jedi vs. Sith graphic novel and Darth Bane: Path To Destruction. It is an indeterminate time for the galaxy, with the Republic and the Jedi mostly unwilling to penetrate Sith territories, and rather focus on the needs of their own populations.
Notwithstanding this, a few Jedi have made incursions into the Sith region. Jedi Master Vannar Treece runs a raid into the Sith territories, but the attack is failed. Jedi Knight Kerra Holt is left stranded, the lone survivor of the foray, and lost behind enemy lines with no way home. She finds herself compelled to remain however, determined to fight for the innocent lives being subjugated to the tyranny of Sith rule.
Volume Two of Knight Errant finds Holt determinedly placed in her outlook of trying to help those she can. On Aquilaris, a planet controlled by Sith Lord Daiman, she arrives to gather displaced peoples and transport them as refugees to a safer location. The arrival is met with discontent, as she discovers the people she is trying to save are hooked on an incredibly addictive spice called Deluge; designed to enslave and control the masses – a type of drug warfare.
The planet then comes under assault from Zodah the Hutt, a gangster warlord looking to increase his power (and profits) in the Sith territories – with the use of perhaps the most unique weapon ever created for Star Wars: weaponized vaporators called Stormbringers, which combine the moisture at any given atmospheric area to create storms and floods. To her surprise, a group of fighters join in the defense of the planet, seemingly representing the Republic; and Holt joins them in their endeavors to help the people suffering under the Sith. However, not everything is as it seems.
The script in Knight Errant is of a very good quality, with John Jackson Miller continuing the already excellent work he accomplished in both Volume One and in the Knight Errant novel. His focus on Kerra Holt as the main hero is fascinating, such an unlikely character caught in an exceptionally difficult situation, never losing sight of her young idealism, but unafraid to highlight her anger and frustrations when need be.
That brings me to a key point on the appeal of Kerra: she expresses anger through the Force in a few scenes. Being stuck behind Sith lines on her own, and continually frustrated at having to make things happen on her own, is dragging her closer to the line that divides the Light Side from the Dark Side. Her positioning in the story places her in an intriguing situation when you begin to ponder or predict how things will pan out for her. It raises many issues, and creates a mood that turns the material into a real page-turner.
The artistic depiction of Holt is appealing as well. It would have been easy to create a busty, hardly-dressed superheroine for the lead character; but instead they ground her in reality. Short cropped hair, and general/simple costuming – it empowers her heart and her mind become the main focal point of the Kerra Holt character, and helps in making the entire story highly appealing. I find myself often reminded of Zayne Carrick from the Knights Of The Old Republic series as an equitable contrast – both young, somewhat inexperienced warriors left to literally fend for themselves through bad situations.
As far as the complete artwork is concerned, the creative team behind Knight Errant have created a lovely display of highly appealing scenes for readers. From the diverse landscaping of specific planets, to the deep space battles, emphasis is deliberately made on foreground material. There’s nice attention to color and shading in specific settings; notably during Lord Daiman’s scenes in which his opulent and lavish lifestyle is on display. The creative teams change over several issues, presenting a wide array of talent, but keeping a consistency on portraying the events surrounding Kerra Holt.
The introduction of Jenn Devaad in the plot is interesting, presenting a new female character to contrast against Kerra. I found myself enjoying much of her appearances in this collection, and some delicate attention has been paid to her character development over this story arc. I am interested in seeing more of her in future issues.
Knight Errant Volume Two is a definite must-read for Star Wars fans. It explores an era of Star Wars lore that has not been explored much, and does so in a unique manner. We’re presented by new concepts and visuals at each turn: an active armored Hutt who loves to fight; a sharp godlike Sith Lord who appears more appealing and generous than he actually is; unique weapon concepts previously unused in Star Wars“¦ Miller does an exceptional job at providing the readers with new non-repetitive concepts and ideas that interweave extremely well into the story and art.