This is my first voyage into the pre-Clone Wars era Star Wars Universe, and admittedly, I picked this book up largely for the jubilant Joe Quinones cover. I was pleasantly surprised by the story I found inside, though. As a fan of the original trilogy moreso than the prequels, I find that “Star Wars” stories without a recognizable face just don’t grab my attention as much as those with Luke, Han, Vader, or even Chewbacca.
Such has driven my aversion to this era of the Star Wars mythos. The phalanx of Sith, as opposed to the “Rule of Two” (that is a Sith master and apprentice), threw me off. Thankfully, this issue doesn’t delve too deeply into the Sith, choosing to use their dealings and internal conflicts as backdrop and impetus for bringing our heroine, Kerra Holt, onto the scene. Kerra returns to her home planet of Aquilaris to find it overwhelmed by the Sith Lord Daiman. While she’s there, she finds people she once knew living as shells of who she remembers them.
Miller makes Kerra a strong character worthy of a solo tale, and able to handle her own quite nicely, thank you very much. John Jackson Miller delivers it all with this story, intrigue and suspense, space opera, drama, Sith, Jedi, Hutts, mention of Alderaan, and holotransmissions. The characters, for the most part, seem rather shallow, but I imagine that is in part to Miller simply pacing the story out to fill the allocated five issues. Miller and Dark Horse provide plenty of reference and recommendation to check out the Miller-penned novel that this adventure follows up on, so I imagine there would be some additional characterization/personality-building there. Taken on its on merits, though, this book provides little in character development and quite a bit in action, adventure, and drama. Those components are enough to keep me engaged and actively looking for more.
The interior art doesn’t match Quinones’ cover imagery stroke for stroke or line for line, nor is the mood of the book as carefree as the cover makes it appear, but the art by Ivan Rodriguez is solid and tight. Rodriguez’s art is heavily shaded and carries a seemingly haphazard ink-splotch effect around it, which adds to the building uncertainty and uneasiness of the story, as well as the grimy nature of the conditions on Aquilaris.
Kerra’s not finding what she thought she would find and she’s improvising along the way, which is what makes the best stories in the Star Wars universe. Diving headfirst into conflict with the Sith and the Hutts makes Kerra a wanted woman, giving her all the fight the reader could want to see. This is my first adventure alongside Kerra Holt, and if this first issue is indicative of what I can expect from more, well then, sign me up.