Continuing an era begun in Knights Of The Old Republic, Volume Three of the graphic novel series based upon The Old Republic (the latest Star Wars MMORPG) takes a glimpse of several individuals caught up in what seems to be the tail end of the new war between the Jedi and the Republic against the Sith and their Empire. The Lost Suns delivers a unique glimpse of the Star Wars galaxy of the era, through the eyes of a wonderfully individual team serving as our heroes and protagonists.
Theron Shan is the primary character we follow through this collected edition, essentially a spy or secret agent, fulfilling a role echoing that of Jahan Cross from another Dark Horse Star Wars series, Agent Of The Empire. This time, however, Theron has an ancestry that rivals that of the Skywalkers – his mother is Satelle Shan, current Grand Master of the Jedi Order; and descended from some of the greatest Jedi of all time: Revan and Bastila Shan.
There is just one problem: he is blind to the Force. Despite his ancestry, Shan is unable to access or use the Force. Caught up in the detriment of the war against the Sith Emperor, Satelle Shan passed care of her infant son to another Jedi Master called Ngani Zho, who was deemed too old for the war. In spite of the boy’s inability to touch the Force, Zho trained Theron in the ways of the Jedi, until they separated during his teenage years.
The Lost Suns somewhat forms as a reunion story between these two main characters. Zho seems to be an elderly Jedi that suffers from memory loss and dementia, while Shan has grown into a man working for one of the various arms of Republic Intelligence. In the course of an operation he becomes tied up with, and unable to get rid of, an amusing female Twi’lek criminal named Teff’ith, Shan gets dragged on a mission to locate and retrieve Zho.
Within the operation, the characters learn that Darth Mekhis, formerly from the Council of Seven serving the Emperor, has been developing some kind of horrific superweapon. The only problem is that Zho cannot recollect what it is, and so Shan drags his motley team to the Vesla system, to find out if the old Jedi Master is actually onto something.
The writing of The Lost Suns is astonishingly and unexpectedly strong in comparison to the previous two SWTOR comic volumes. Part of the reason for this is most likely because it was an original concept and idea designed for comic book format, whereas the previous two volumes were merely reprints or readaptations of comic strips published online to promote the video game.
As a matter of fact, the writing of The Lost Suns has more in common with the most recent novels in the multimedia project. They all focus on some really interesting and unique characters and the result is a job that doesn’t feel rushed at all. Everything introduced in the story serves a purpose, and there’s no elements left unexplored. Unlike the previous comic volumes, all the characters feel like they serve a fulfilling role in the story, and when you reach the conclusion, it is a satisfying moment. Alexander Freed should be commended for his work on the script.
Freed should also be congratulated on his character development. The surprise of a Force-less member of the Revan/Shan family tree was a welcome character, as was the idea that a Jedi Master could actually be suffering from dementia and not simply faking like Yoda was in Episode V.
However, the most wonderful and satisfying character in this story is, undoubtedly, Teff’ith. The female Twi’lek criminal speaks poor Basic (the native language in the Star Wars galaxy, translated to us in English), and is humorously aggressive. She serves several integral moments in the story, but the chemistry between her wild characterizations and that of Theron Shan make for some fantastic reading. I truly hope we get to see these two characters working together again someday – it made for a magnificent reading experience.
There’s some sufficient symbolism and subtext involved in the writing as well, without being overly dependent upon promoting a video game. In short, this is a cleverly crafted story that is highly entertaining, explores the magnitude of embracing your heritage and legacy no matter who you become, and is a highly-enriching chapter added to the Star Wars galaxy. This story could work extremely well on its own, as well as in conjunction with SWTOR.
The artwork, in contrast, is another issue altogether. While the presentation is adequate, what the collected edition lacks is cohesion and continuity. Three pencillers were brought on board for this project, so the final product lacks the uniformity that compiled editions of other Star Wars stories (such as Legacy or the original KOTOR collection) excelled at. The colors and inks seem to work well, with Michael Atiyeh and Mark McKenna staying on board during all the pages; but the difference in the foundational pencil work is noticeable, and simply takes the reader out of the moment.
Furthermore, specific details of the characters are often missed. Theron Shan is (according to the script) augmented with cybernetic improvements that enable him to "hack" into specific networks. While some of the cover art presents this wonderfully, it only shows on the internal artwork once, and it’s this lack of attention to detail that does make the final product suffer immensely.
That aside, however, the story and writing of The Lost Suns does hold the final product up, and does serve as an interesting read. Star Wars fans of all kinds (not just those that play the game) should get their hands on this collected edition, as they will find it a vastly enjoyable story that serves the legacy of the saga wonderfully – and I would also recommend the casual comic reader consider giving this one a look as well.