• Star Wars Dawn of the Jedi: Force War #5

    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: March 19, 2014

    We’ve finally reached the final part of this story, a tale set many thousands of years prior to the original Star Wars trilogy stories and one that helps detail the origins of the Jedi, known here as Je’daii.

    Rakatan forces continue to assault the Je’daii home planet of Tython, mostly as cover so that their leader, Skal’nas and his recently-turned “Force Hound” Xesh can access the Infinity Gate located beneath the main city/base of Anil Kesh. Skal’nas has found a way past the “Chaos Wall,” the natural barrier preventing access to the Infinity Gate and its all-universe portals within. But other Je’daii have learned of this key as well so Shae Koda (who still has feelings for Xesh) and Daegen Lok (who only wants to kill Skal’nas) give pursuit.

    Lok tries to convince Shae that Xesh is fully-turned evil but she still believes in what he was when he came to them in his memory-clouded state (thanks to Skal’nas). Meanwhile, on the planet’s surface, Sek’nos knows of what’s happening in the gate below and wants to warn the other Je’daii - but first he has some unfinished business with the turncoat Trill. But he’s stopped just short of killing her, taking her prisoner instead and not falling completely to the Dark Side.

    Lok and Skal’nas are finally engaged in battle, as are Shae and Xesh. Lots of talking for a fight scene but, hey, that’s how even ancient Jedi do their thing, I guess. Lok tries to get fancy and loses his fight while Xesh bests Shae but can’t kill her. Skal’nas has no such reservations, though, and just as she’s declaring her love for Xesh she’s struck down with Force Lightning. This sends Xesh over the edge who attacks his master and so now these two fight as the Infinity Gate is opening.

    However, up in Anil Kesh, blinded seer Tasha Ryo is instructed by the old holycron to merge herself with the native powers of the planet, in order to shut down the Infinity Gate entirely. So she sacrifices herself to do so, which activates the “Tho Yor,” a structure on the surface that vaporizes much of the attacking Rakata force. It also cause a cave-in at the gate, giving Xesh the upper hand and allowing him to strike down Skal’nas. He, a recovered Shae and an injured Lok all manage to escape being buried with it all. After the battle, with the Rakata forces decimated, the Je’daii look to the future. They want to put away their forcesabers, the Dark Force-fueled weapons that allowed them victory to an extent, but Lok doesn’t agree. He decides to head off on his own, leading whomever will follow. Xesh - now going by his Light Side-name of Tau - is welcomed back by the leaders so he and Shae set off to train and meditate together, in peace.

    It’s a pretty neat, swift, brutal story here and John Ostrander knows how to tell it. Jan Duursema’s artwork is consistently excellent here, too. It’s a great time period to explore as the possibilities are pretty much wide open so it’s neat to see Dark Horse mine it with some very talented artists at the helm.