Under what is arguably the most non-“Star Wars” cover ever crafted, the continued adventures of Jedi survivor Dass Jennir brings in a number of familiar faces to those long-term readers of the “Dark Times” saga. Fans of the classic trilogy might even be satisfied to find a certain black body-armor and flowing cape-clad figure striding through these pages on a quest to extinguish the Jedi. Of course, the Jedi he’s pursuing just so happens to be (yup, you guessed it) Dass Jennir.
Problem is, Jennir’s being pursued by someone else and also trying to survive on a planet that is quite brutal and full of surprises. Add to that the fact that Jennir is more like Han Solo than Obi-Wan Kenobi when it comes to using the Force (Jennir passes out trying to use the Force to heal a horse-type creature), and this story has a lot of promise, a fair share of interesting characters, the open-ended threat that anything can happen in these early days of the Empire and some stunning art.
Douglas Wheatley’s art is so brilliant that it makes a very strong argument for books to be delayed so artists can complete their work. The very concept of this story being handled by anyone other than Wheatley is preposterous as his art has nuances and details figured just perfectly for every character (and ship and creature) that flows through this story. Wheatley uses a style that is rather dependent upon photo-reference. This enhances the story details, but sometimes makes for some odd design choices. One such choice is the Galapagos tortoise-based mounts of the pirates that trod through this issue. The familiarity of the critters’ appearances took me out of the story as I tried to determine what it was that I was looking at. Once past that, however, I was able to once more appreciate the detail that Wheatley layered into this issue.
This series (or, rather, series of miniseries) has teased Darth Vader’s involvement from the start. With a pair of issues left in this arc, it seems like all of the characters are headed to an unavoidable — and certain to be violent — collision. Vader in action is something I cannot wait to see more of. The story of Dass Jennir and his allies provides an authentic “Star Wars” feel that is doing a very good job of providing an enjoyable story in the interim as Vader draws ever nearer.