Star Wars: ‘Dawn of the Jedi #0’ Review

February 1, 2012 at 12:01 am | Posted in Comic Books, Dark Horse, Reviews | Leave a comment

“For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times… before the Empire.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope.

For nearly 35 years fans have been left waiting to see the origins of the Jedi.  Now in a bold step Dark Horse’s creative team of John Ostrander and Jan Duursema are tackling the very story some thought would never be told.  Today sees the release of Dawn of the Jedi #0, the issue that sets the stage for the origins of the Jedi.  Roqoo Depot is going to take a closer look at this issue, but we are doing it in a unique way.  Joining me in this review is my wife, Mrs Corax, a Star Wars fan who doesn’t have much experience with the Expanded Universe.  Together we will answer the question of whether this series works for experienced EU readers and those new to the EU.  Be warned there are definitely going to be huge SPOILERS for this issue.  Be prepared to take your first steps in to a larger world.

Corax: Dawn of the Jedi #0 gives us an inside look at an unexplored era of Star Wars and sets the stage for everything we need to know going into the series.

Mrs Corax: Think of the Dawn of the Jedi series as a destination; issue #0 would be your road map.  This map shows you the terrain, gives you places to stop and check out along the way, what kind of vehicles you’ll see on your trip, and the people you will meet.  This issue does an amazing job of catching your attention and guiding you in the direction you should go.  The story starts with the back story of the Tho Yor.

Corax: I’m glad it started with the explanation of those.  I had been curious about what they were since we first saw an image of them at the New York Comic Con last year.  Now we don’t get a definitive answer as to what or who created them and I hope that’s explored as the series progresses.  What we do know is that 36,000 years before the battle of Yavin eight pyramid ships traveled through the galaxy gathering Force-sensitive species and brought them to Tython in the Deep Core.

Mrs Corax: The story pretty much leaves the issue of the the Tho Yor stalled right there. My guess is they’ll delve further into it later in the series and we’ll find out some pretty exciting facts. They do, however, give levels of attainment to become what they call a Je’daii (we’re guessing it’s pronounced like Jedi): Padawan, Journeyer, Ranger, Master, and Temple Master. The idea of being a Padawan, Journeyer, etc. is that before one can be considered a Master, they must journey to and study the discipline of temples other than their own. There are nine different temples, each with their own area of study and expertise.

Corax: The nine different temples are interesting in their own right as well. The Kaleth Temple is the temple of knowledge.  It’s where the Je’daii are taught decision making and judgments within the Force. The Kaleth temple is also perched over a Force nexus.  The temple is lead by Kora Ryo.  The Bodhi Temple covers the arts, such as writing, calligraphy, dancing, drawing, sculpture, cooking, music and theater, and is located in dense forests. Bodhi Temple is lead by Jake Fenn.

Mrs Corax: The Anil Kesh Temple led by Quan-Jang is the temple of science. At this temple a Je’daii will study science, alchemy, and theory. This temple straddles the Chasm, which is a deep gorge, so deep in fact that no one knows how deep, and no one has ever made it to the bottom. Many Je’daii have tried to reach its depths. However, none have accomplished this because something within the Chasm interferes with a Je’daii’s senses and it drives them mad. The stronger in the Force one is and the deeper they go, the stronger the interference is. However dangerous it may be, the Je’daii consider the Chasm to be the Force at is most mysterious and will not cease to study its depths.  The Mahara Kesh Temple is the temple of healing led by a mated Selkath couple named Naro and Calleh. This temple is located over a deep ocean with portions of the temple actually underwater. The focus of this temple is healing with and without the use of the Force.

Corax: The next temple is Vur Tepe, the Forge, it is directly over an active volcano.  A dome built over the lava sea converts the heat to power the temple.  The temple is led by Tem Madog.  Je’daii who study at this temple learn practical uses of the Force and how the Force can be manifested physically.  Qigong Kesh temple is led by Miarta Sek, a Sith healer, and is located in the Silent Desert.  The temple’s course of study is Force skills and honing mental and sensory abilities.

Mrs Corax: Stav Kesh is our next temple run by a Dai Bendu named Lha-Mi with assistance from a Noghri named Master Tave. The climate here is extremely cold. Some Je’daii have jokingly said it is the temple for martial arts and physical Force skills only because one would need these to stay warm at Stav Kesh. This temple also teaches weapons training. The next temple is Padawan Kesh, The Je’daii Academy. This temple trains and houses the very young, who are force strong, until the children reach Padawan status and are taken on by Je’daii Masters. This temple is run by a Wookiee named Rhur.

Corax: The final temple is Akar Kesh, the temple of balance, run by Master Ketu.  Ketu is the most accomplished among the Je’daii masters.  The temple is located on a towering pinnacle, above it floats the largest of the pyramid ships- the original Tho Yur of Tython.  The temple teaches the balancing of the light and dark sides of the Force.  I find it interesting that six of the nine temples have Kesh in their names, and it makes me wonder if there is some sort of connection between the early Jedi and the Lost Tribe of the Sith from the Fate of the Jedi series.

Mrs Corax: Continuing with the light and dark side of the Force, this brings us to Ashla and Bogan. These are the two moons of Tython. Ashla is light. Bogan is dark. The concept of the balance of the Force came from the ancients observing these two moons. If a Je’daii sways further to one side, light or dark, they are deemed out of balance. If a Je’daii is too close to the light side, they are sent to Ashla to contemplate Bogan, and if they are too close to the dark side, they meditate on Bogan to understand Ashla and find their way back into balance. However, few Je’daii who wander too far to the dark side ever make it back into balance. For instance, we learn of Daegen Lok who is considered “the Prisoner of Bogan”.  Daegen could not escape his fascination with the depths of the Chasm and wandered too far to the dark side. He is now severely scarred, and it is unknown at this time whether he will ever be allowed depart from Bogan. I really liked the concept of Ashla and Bogan. I thought it was a very unique way to start the idea of the Force and balance between the light and dark aspects of it. Props to Ostrander!

Corax: I like the concept as well and the Je’daii’s view of the Force right now really reminds me of the Unifying Force aspect from the New Jedi Order series. Another aspect I’m really looking forward to seeing is the Rakatan Infinite Empire.  We do get a breakdown of them in this comic as well.  We are given our first introduction to the Rakatan Force Hound, Xesh.  He is a Rakatan slave who is the catalyst for the events that will unfold in this series.

Mrs Corax: We also get a look at a few other key characters. There’s Tasha Ryo, a Je’daii Journeyer. She is said to be steady, calm, and empathetic. It is said that she can feel the pain of others with her abilities, and helps when she is able. She is mindful and weighs her options before acting to determine the consequences. Then there’s Sek’Nos Rath who is also a Journeyer. However, he seems to be pretty much opposite of Tasha. He is rowdy and bold. He loves weaponry and quests to find the perfect weapon. Sek’Nos longs to achieve greatness. Finally we see Shae Koda who, like the other two, is a Je’daii Journeyer. She is a young restless Journeyer who is brave to the point of being a tad reckless. Ostrander describes her as being very curious and asking a lot of questions. She pushes her powers to find the limits, but at the same time she believes in her powers to the point that she will not question them. She is orphaned and remembers her parents as heroes frozen in time.

Corax: All in all, I think this issue is great.  It gives a huge amount of background that we didn’t even broach in this review.  For instance, a lot is revealed about Tython and the system it’s in.  We do find out the name of the weapon Xesh is holding and all sorts of new ships from this era.  Another aspect that I find intriguing, as a long time fan of the EU, are certain themes popping up.  The Yuuzhan Vong referred to the Jedi as Jeedai in the New Jedi Order series, very similar to the Je’daii pronunciation of this era.  The frequent use of the word Kesh on Tython.  I’m eager to see if these tie into the other eras of Star Wars.

Mrs Corax: See, and I get to look at this from a different perspective. I haven’t read anything other than a half an EU book so far and this issue. I don’t get to identify the themes. So if you’re like me, this is a brand new experience. I’ve seen the complete saga of Star Wars, but I’m not knowledgeable whatsoever in the Expanded Universe. Reading this series is really fascinating to me in a different sort of way. I get to learn the back story of those who came before Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan Kenobi. I get to learn of their ancestors and how the balance of the light and the dark sides of the Force started. I also didn’t know until this issue that the Sith used to be a race as opposed to “the bad guys.” I think that even the most experienced veteran will learn something extremely valuable as this series progresses. I can’t wait to see how this all pans out and, thanks to John Ostrander and Jan Duursema, the EU has just gained another adoring fan. And since my wonderful husband just schooled me in the fact that Star Wars fans do NOT give thumbs up — they have a different method — we give this issue:

5 out of 5 Brass Bikinis

Posted By: Corax and Mrs Corax for Roqoo Depot

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