WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Wars: Age Of Republic - General Grievous #1 from Jody Houser, Luke Ross, Java Tartaglia and VC's Travis Lanham, on sale now.
In the Star Wars mythos, General Grievous is a relatively late addition to the franchise, but he's certainly developed quite a cult following. Introduced in 2004's Star Wars: The Clone Wars so he could be set up as one of Emperor Palpatine's main lackeys in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith just a year later, Greivous impressed fans with how cunning he was, his skill in battle, and of course, his intimidating look.
But, really, he was nothing more than a Kaleesh warrior-turned-cyborg who had the benefit of four hands. Sure, this made him a formidable opponent in battle for the Jedi, but he wasn't a Sith, or even a Force-sensitive individual. Or so we thought. As his Star Wars: Age of Republic one-shot reveals, Grievous did have a connection to the Dark Side that wasn't really explored on the big screen.
In the cartoons, Grievous upgraded his body gradually over time, adding cybernetic enhancements in order to become more adept at killing Jedi. That was his sole purpose: To be the best war machine the galaxy had ever encountered. And as he built his body up, it's hard to deny that he truly did become the most lethal hunter around, racking up more Jedi kills to his name than even Count Dooku or Darth Maul, despite not having the benefit of a Force connection. Now, we learn that Grievous did once have a link to the Dark Side -- but it was severed by none other than himself.
As he slaughters a pair of fleeing Jedi on the botanical planet, Ledeve, the murderer finds a map to the temple they were seeking refuge in. There, Grievous uses his agile frame to evade a series of traps before discovering a prized waterfall. Behind it, there seems to be a luminous gem that he wants to acquire, but can't, as it doesn't materialize in the corporeal world. Frustrated, Grievous jumps into the waterfall, only to find himself traveling through a rift into a dark dimension.
We're not sure if it's a mystical or astral realm, but a voice peers deep into Grievous' soul and all that he harbors inside, insulting and chiding him for not harnessing the Force. At first, it seems the Light Side was poking fun at him, but when Lovecraftian monsters emerge to taunt him, it's clear that because of his evil ways, he's speaking with the Dark Side. The voice admonishes him for stripping away his body, because that was what attached him to the Dark Side. As he became more and more robotic, he lost the essence which would have made him a pseudo-Sith and, ironically, a warrior even more powerful than he is now. By stripping away his flesh, he literally carved away the connection to the power the darkness holds, as it prefers a person to be in their natural or pure state.
Grievous doubts the veracity of this sentiment, but when the supernatural forces physically reduce him to his former self, he begins to understand who or what he's dealing with. It makes no sense to joust with the Force like this, and so he wrangles himself free of its grip and heads out the temple. Immediately, he signals the bombing fleet he's commanding on behalf of the Separatists and shows just how potent the military is compared to the Force by blowing the temple up.
He's channeling all his rage here, because he's intimidated by what he doesn't understand. This insight creates a more nuanced feel to Grievous, and as harrowing as it might have been for him, the experience really adds to the mystique of the deadliest swordsman the Star Wars Universe has ever put on display for us.