Dark Horse

Jason's Reviews: Star Wars Dawn of the Jedi

Hey guys, Jason here with a review for Star Wars Dawn of the Jedi #1. Let me start off by saying that this is a book I have been waiting for since Dark Horse first let us glimpse the teaser images. Dark Horse promoted this story as "A series that establishes the beginning of the Jedi." This is no mere hyperbole. In the sprawling timeline of the Star Wars universe, Dawn of the Jedi takes place approximately 36,000 years before Luke blew up the first Death Star.

This first issue sets up the history of what can only be described as the distant ancestors of the Jedi that we have come to know and love. A lot gets revealed in the first half of the book. How the different Je'daii (and yes that is the correct spelling) races are brought together and where, what their philosophy is, how they grew to understand the Force and use its power, and how that power has affected the galaxy as the Je'daii ventured out amongst the stars. It delves into what became of the Je'daii children who were not strong in the force, and their place in the grand mythology of Star Wars. It also gives us the Je'daii code, which sheds a bright light on how different these force users are from the Jedi and Sith we know...and how similar they are at their core.

The real story, scripted by John Ostrander, doesn't really start until the history lesson is over, and we see what the galaxy is like at this point in time. Enter the Infinite Empire and the mysterious Xesh, who has an affinity for hunting down Force-sensitive people and places for his master.This is the figure that dominates the issue's cover, touted in ads as a Darth Vader-like threat to the galaxy at this time. It is pretty obvious from this issue that the odds of Xesh and the Je'daii clashing are pretty good, and I hope that we get a solid protagonist among the Je'daii next issue to give him a challenge.

There are familiar alien races and planets brought to life by the beautiful art of Jan Duursema. While the races presented here offer the familiarity of having seen them in countless other stories, there's one place in particular that's radically different from what we see in the movies. Even so, the art doesn't disappoint. Nothing takes me out of a Star Wars story more than seeing an artists interpretation of an alien race that doesn't line up with what we have seen before, but Duursema gets it, and the fans will be very pleased and maybe a little surprised by the races that show up before the end of the issue.

The real question is how this five issue arc will play out and how much will be revealed about the origins of the Je'daii before its all over. I have faith, however, that the creative team will not disappoint us. They have already won me over with Star Wars: Legacy, creating the distant future of the universe, so I have no doubt that they will do wonders in giving us the definitive origin of the Star Wars saga. I will definitely be back for issue #2, and I hope you will to.

See you in 30.

It's Been a While

Hello All, It's been a while since I last spoke with you. I hope that your holidays were delightful and that this last bout of terrible weather didn't crush your spirits too completely. I had the joy of doing my civic duty last week as I was summoned for jury selection and had to do a whole lot of sitting around and waiting while the gears of justice turned. While I was doing all of my waiting and whatnot I did some reading (if you're ever summoned for jury duty then you really, really need to bring reading material, I cannot emphasize this enough). Knowing that I would be doing a whole lot of waiting and whatnot I brought plenty to read but what I wound up spending most of my time with was a book that I've started reading a few times but never managed to finish thanks to surrounding circumstances, Carla Speed McNeil's Finder. I don't know that I've ever read a series in which the world was so fully formed on the very first page. The book takes place in a far flung future where the world is quite different. The first book (the Anniversary Hardcover is featured at the right) follows a terribly unique character named Jaeger. Jaeger is what is known in this future as a Finder, something of an aboriginal detective, not attached to any police service nor really a private detective in the sense that most people think of in this day in age. Think of him more as the kind of guy that you'd want to know when your life goes to hell, or you desperately need to find something you've lost. The world in which he lives seems an awful lot like what our world might become should we continue on the path we're headed down. By which I mean cities that are covered in domes in order to keep them livable ... so ... yeah.

McNeil has been lauded for her work on this series and from every vantagepoint I really must agree with those who have spoken so highly of her work, and nominated her for several awards. Her art is simple and gorgeous, and at times reminds me of the simple line work of another of my favorite creators, Strangers In Paradise creator Terry Moore. The story is also brilliantly crafted and at the same time an anthropological wonder. The seamlessness of the world she has created is truly something to behold. 

Having only ever self-published the series it's something that you could probably be forgiven for having missed out on. However anyone and everyone should be adding it to their list of books to look out for in the next few months as a new collection of material that appeared primarily on Carla's website (LightSpeedPress.com) and then a new publication of a "Library Edition" of the first 21 issues both brought to print by Dark Horse Comics. It's an exciting time to be a fan of intricately produced science fiction. And if you're one of the people who haven't hear of Finder before and think that the world sounds interesting then you should keep your eyes open and possibly let your retailer know that you want to make sure to get copies of what might be one of the more exciting releases by one of the more oft overlooked creators in the industry this year.

The first release will be this upcoming week's Voice and it's only $19.99 for what is likely to be an incredibly entertaining and thought provoking 208 page book:

What you find isn't nearly as important as what finds you . . . 

Since 1996, Finder has set the bar for science-fiction storytelling, with a lush, intricate world and compelling characters. Now, Carla Speed McNeil's Eisner Award-winning series comes to Dark Horse with the original graphic novel Voice. 

In a society defined by its intricate network of clans, Rachel Grosvenor has grown up an outcast, straddling worlds. Now, her quest for admission to a highly exclusive clan sends Rachel spiraling into the dark underbelly of Anvard and a paradox that holds the key to her future: How do you find a Finder?

And then scheduled for March release is Finder Library Volume 1 which only hits the wallet for $24.99 and weighs in at 616 pages. Definitely something worth checking out:

Since 1996, Finder has set the bar for science-fiction storytelling, with a lush, intricate world and compelling characters. Now, Dark Horse is proud to present the first four story arcs of Carla Speed McNeil's groundbreaking series in a single, affordably priced volume!

Follow enigmatic hero Jaeger through a "glorious, catholic pileup of high-tech SF, fannish fantasy, and street-level culture clash" (Village Voice), and discover the lush world and compelling characters that have carved Finder a permanent place in the pantheon of independent comics.

This first of two Finder Library volumes collects the multiple Eisner Award-nominated story arcs Sin Eater, King of Cats, and fan-favorite Talisman.