Force Storm is the first series in the Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi, a new setting illustrating the very beginnings of the Jedi Order, with the creative crew from Star Wars: Legacy at the helm. Will this series bring balance to the Force? What does that even mean?
STAR WARS: DAWN OF THE JEDI – FORCE STORM #1 (OF 5)
Story: John Ostrander & Jan Duursema
Script: John Ostrander
Pencils: Jan Duursema
Inks: Dan Parsons
Colors: Wes Dzioba
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover Art: Jan Duursema
Editor: Randy Stradley
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Previously, in the Star Wars universe: this IS what happened previously.
Dawn of the Jedi looks to tell the story of how the Jedi were formed, some 36,000 years before the Battle of Yavin. The duo of John Ostrander and Jan Duursema looked forward a hundred years or so with Star Wars: Legacy, and now they’re headed back to a long time ago (but in the same galaxy). Taken to a secluded star system by some enigmatic diamond thingies, the Je’Daii have developed in isolation a philosophy of balance regarding the dark and light sides of the force. But it looks like their separation from the rest of the galaxy is at an end, as the Infinite Empire will soon come a-calling.
APOSTROPHES MAKE EVERYTHING READ MORE EXOTIC
The majority of this first issue is taken up with world-building, in a telling, not showing, sort of way. Although this is a five issue miniseries, it is clear that Ostrander and Duursema intend to tell a lot more stories in this setting. That said, all the space given over to explicating the history of the planet Tython and its Je’Daii inhabitants leaves precious little time to introduce any memorable Tythan characters. We’re told about the Je’Daii doings in the form of a story told to a couple of kids on Tython, get a half page of philosophizing and then that’s all we see of the Je’Daii for the issue.
The actual meat and potatoes of the issue introduces Xesh, an enigmatic “Force Hound” clad in badass armor and his owner, all-around evil guy Predor Tul’Kar, a Rakata muckety-muck in the Infinite Empire. These two perform all the requisite Star Wars-y bits of badness – killing subordinates, killing civilians, tossing around Force lightning before engaging in some internecine bickering – and it is a bit familiar. But that’s okay; Star Wars has always been about archetypes, and Ostrander’s script is peppy enough that the clichés are noticeable but not overpowering. Star Wars should be fun, and this was a fun read. There are a lot of familiar things in the background – Tatooine (albeit with an ocean), Twi’leks, Wookies, proto-lightsabers – and they mesh comfortably with that long-winded intro, so any Star Wars fan will be at home.
WHAT A WOOKIE
Jan Duursema’s art on this issue is solid. She’s clearly comfortable drawing the various denizens of the Star Wars universe, with the ability to render alien characters distinct and unique. Her art is detailed without being fussy, and everything looks thematically appropriate to the universe. I like how she insets the panels for something a little different, and for whatever reason, I especially like her Wookies – they actually look furry. Wes Dzioba’s coloring is effective in building the mood, with different palettes for different worlds.
THE RIGHT STUFF
I’m not hip to much of what’s going on in the Star Wars Extended Universe these days, as I am one of those grognard Star Wars fans for whom the prequels spoiled everything. But Ostrander and Duursema might make me rethink some of my prejudices. This issue starts off slow, with too big of an infodump at the beginning, but it’s forgivable. The world-building that Ostrander does shows his affection for this new setting, and I want to be along for the ride Ostrander and Duursema promise to take us on. They’re not reinventing the X-Wing here, but they are producing some good, clean fun in the Star Wars universe, and sometimes that’s all you need. Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi – Force Storm #1 (what a mouthful) captures what makes the Star Wars universe special, and is worth a look for any Star Wars fans.