Wednesday, December 12, 2007

MacGruder, What's the deal?




People really bug when I tell them that Boondocks started off as a comic strip. I usually have to show them the actual strips. Then again we Americans, no matter what stripe, have the attention spans of fleas. We also get a geography lesson when we go to war. So I honestly do not understand why I am tripping about it.

What attracted me to the strip way back 1999 was the numerous Star Wars references. I felt like I had finally come home. I had a comic strip that talked to me (other than the Source's Underground which they got rid of sometime in the mid 90s).

In one story arc, Huey Freeman expressed his disappointment in Episode I. His anger was manifested in this character who was a white, disgruntled Star Wars fan who dressed up like a Jedi. He asked Huey if he should kick GL's tail in public. Huey shrugged. Well the next thing you know, this guys is on TV. He was arrested for assaulting GL. Then he claims Huey told him to do it. It was priceless.

My question is why hasn't this story arc, or something to this effect, appeared on the cable show?

My first reaction is that anything SW will go over people's heads. Let's face it, the people that watch Boondocks will probably be the same crowd that watched Dave Chappelle. Money wise this is a good thing. But Chappelle even admitted that most of his fans did not get what he was talking about with it came to Race and politics. Let's be quite honest, the same thing is happening with Boondocks. Take the MLK episode for example. Macgruder and his writers were in no way trying to disrespect the Rev. Dr. MLK. They were asking what he would think of African Americans after all of their struggle.

Honestly, it just wouldn't sell. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the show but it comes no where near the political satire found in the comic strip. There are several story arcs found in the strip that I know won't make the cut onto Cartoon Network.

But can't a brother get one Star Wars ep?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Inferno



Inferno (Star Wars: Legacy of the Force, Book 6)
by Troy Denning

Book review by Dan Tres Omi

The kid gloves are off. Jacen Solo/Darth Caedeus has reached the point of no return. The Jedi are forced to make a decision that would change the face of the latest Galactic Civil War. Luke Skywalker has to make his move and Ben is the key to his sanity. Troy Denning's Inferno brings the pain as we near the climax of the Legacy of the Force miniseries.

Jacen/Caedeus has one final plan to crush the Correllian insurrection and the Confederate planets. It involves the cooperation of the Jedi Knights and the Hapes Consortium. Many planets have left the Galactic Alliance (GA). This has stretched the military forces of the GA thin. Yet Jacen/Caedeus feels that one strike will end it all. Using the force, Jacen/Caedeus finds no flaws in his end game. To ensure the cooperation of the Jedi Knights, he holds the Jedi Academy on Ossus hostage.

Of course, things do not go according to plan. Ben decides to take revenge on Jacen/Caedeus. Luke finally decides to take action against Jacen/Caedeu. This is something the Jedi have been itching to do. Jaina, Zekk, and Jagged Fel decide to free the hostages on Ossus. It is there that Jacen/Caedeus loses it. To make matters worse the Bothans get involved with the Wookies debating on whose side to take. Eventually, the Wookies side with the Jedi thanks in part to the intervention of Han and Leia.

Several characters meet their end. Finally, a confrontation between Luke and Jacen happens. Jacen is left with half a foot in the grave. Ben sees Jacen for who he is. At one point, Luke is thought to have been killed. Despite the heavy losses to the Fifth fleet, Jacen makes it back to Coruscant.

Overall, the plot went along very fast. Too many things happened at once. This makes sense. The previous books led up to this point in the story. Alema Rar is still alive and actually hunts down some Sith to get some answers from them. This adds another element to the story. However, I still find Alema Rar's character to be useless. I don't understand why she is still alive. If anything she creates more questions and problems then there needs to be.

Jacen/Caedeus was not as formidable as I assumed. If anything he is more of a nuisance. One would think that all the power that Jacen possesses that was discussed in the Dark Nest trilogy and the earlier Legacy of the Force novels would not allow people to get the drop on him but they do. I am not saying he should be as powerful as Palpatine was and he is not omnipotent but all this talk really makes me wonder. To be honest, Jacen comes off as a joke. My assumption was that he would beat Luke easily. Instead Luke seems to toy with him. Or is it that Luke has never had the opportunity to use his full Force powers. Then again, both Jacen and Luke come from the same bloodline.

I did expect another major character to die. Yet only quite a few minor characters were killed off. Killing one major character every thirty books is not realistic. Not everyone can escape death several times over (If Han and Leia do one more death defying escape on the Millenium Falcon, I swear I will slit my wrists). Denning however, pulls it off as things start to move fast.

The next book should be even better.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Star Wars Death Star



Death Star (Star Wars)
by Michael Reeves and Steve Perry

This book seemed to have popped up out of nowhere. The dates for the release kept changing. The heads at Lucas Films did release the advertisement for it. I walked into a local book store and spotted it hidden among the shelves. For those that spend some time in the Expanded Universe (EU), we learn in Episode II and in the Battlefront II video game that this weapon was in development even before the onset of the Clone Wars. Wilhuff Tarkin of Eriadu had Imperial military ambitions even before the rise of Palpatine in the Galactic Senate.

Both Michael Reeves and Steve Perry worked on the wonderful Star Wars Medstar duology which featured Uli, Bariss Offee, Den Dhur, I-5 and other fleshed out characters that gave life to the background of the Clone Wars. The events in this book begin a little over a year before the events in Episode IV. They end in the destruction of the firsts Death Star at Yavin 4. Perry and Reeves introduce new characters but also bring back characters that most Star Wars fans are familiar with.

Darth Vader and Wilhuff Tarkin who is newly given the title of Grand Moff are given several chapters on their own. Admiral Daala makes several appearances. We learn more about the relationship between Tarkin and Daala. Admiral Motti who everyone remembers for doubting the Force in Episode IV is given much more background then in the movie. Dr. Kornell “Uli” Divini of the Medstar duology also returns. His luck continues to deteriorate as the story unfolds. The readers are introduced to Seargent Nova Stihl, a prison guard who is also a martial artist, Celot Ratua Dil, a Zelosian thief who also has his share of bad luck, Lieutenant Commander Villian “Vil” Dance, an ace TIE fighter pilot, Teela Kaarz, an architech who chose to support the wrong political party and sentenced to life in prison, Master Chief Petty Officer Tenn Graneet, a career artillery gun men who dreams of being the Non Commissioned Officer who runs the big gun on the Death Star, and Memah Roothes, a Twi'lek cantina owner who gets a chance to manage a cantina on the Death Star.

Eventually and in some form, each person makes their way to the Death Star and cross paths. When the Death Star is fully operational and is used to commit several atrocities each person begins to question their roles in the process. Even Memah Roothes, who runs a cantina, sees her indirect role in the overall grind of the Imperial military. The characters make the story realistic.

After the first 2/3's of the book, we are thrown into the events in Episode IV. Vader attacks the Tantive IV over Tattooine, Princess Leis is brought on board the Death Star to be tortured, she is rescued, Obi Wan Kenobi fights Darth Vader, and the Death Star is destroyed. This time, we see the events through the eyes of the supporting cast. We see how the news of all these events are viewed by the crewmen and woman of the Death Star. This gives a different perspective from the view of the Imperial servicemen.

The only flaw is that the actual origin of the Death Star plans are still a mystery. It is only alluded that the original plans were put together by the Geonosians and improved upon by several architects, technicians, and scientists such as Qui Xux at the Maw Installation. Even Tarkin does not say how he encountered the plans. We know he became its number one advocate but other than that, it's origins are obscure.

The book is a must read. It adds depth to the entire Galactic Civil War and puts faces on the ground troops and pilots in the Imperial military. The assumption is that everyone in the Imperial military toed the party line. It was cool to encounter people who were force sensitive but had no clue that they were in such characters as Nova Stihl. We also learn about how Darth Vader was able to push out the memory of Padme Amidala. Vader still questions the Emperor's loyalty to him even after almost 20 years of service.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A few things...

I know I have been so behind on posting here. I have a book review coming up so stand by. Until then, here are a few jewels:

1. John Ridley -- if you don't know this brother, that's okay. He has a blog and a few dope gigs. He has a nice blog on NPR called Visible Man. He has a pretty dope comic series entitled the American way. Recently, old GL hired Ridley to write "Red Tails" the story of the Tuskeegee Airman. This is going to be so dope.

2. My brother from another mother, C'BS, has moved his dope sci fi blog over here. What you know about Blue Black Atlantis? Head over there, read, and comment. Also pass it along.

3. Also check out another comic book afcionado, Afro Nerd. he even had a podcast. big up

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice Book review




Sacrifice (Star Wars: Legacy of the Force, Book 5)

By Karen Traviss
Book Review by Dan Tres Omi

Omi's Note: WARNING! There are spoilers in here, read at your own risk.

After the disappointment of Traviss' Bloodlines, I was hesitant to pick this chapter up. However, I was compelled to because of two reasons: Jacen Solo was going to kill someone important in the Star Wars EU and he was going to choose his Sith name. However, Traviss did redeem herself. Don't get me wrong, Traviss is a great writer and she has taken the Mandalorians to another level and I can't think of anyone who could have done it.

In Sacrifice, Traviss emphasizes the political intrigue in the Star Wars Universe. Jacen Solo figures out a way to change laws through the bureaucracy without even lifting a finger. Jacen pretty much takes a few notes from Emperor Palpatine who slowly yet subtly changed several laws to gain more political power. Along with Admiral Cha Niathal, Solo continues to consolidate power, imprison political enemies, and acquire military resources. Soon, Solo and Admiral Niathal overthrow Cal Omas in a bloodless military coup. Solo and Niathal share the office of the Chief of State.

In the meantime, Boba Fett assumes his position as the Mandalorian head of state. With the advice of the most prominent Mandalorian clans, he recalls all Mandalorians to return and rebuild their planet. At the same time, Boba Fett does find a cure for his degenerative disease. He even goes on a hunt with his granddaughter, Mirta Gev. During the current crisis, Boba Fett decides to sell arms to the highest bidder but to keep the Mandalorians out of the conflict. Fett explains that if individual bounty hunters from the Mandalore can choose to take jobs but officially they will remain neutral despite the fact that they make some alliances with several species who have taken sides in the latest conflict.

Ironically, Luke Skywalker has no clue to what is going on. I would like to say that this is due to his naivety and his hope that Jacen would come to his senses. Ben Skywalker starts to slowly doubt Jacen's decisions and finally leaves his adolescence when he assassinates Gur Dejjen. Mara Jade Skywalker finally wakes up from her Jacen worship and decides to go after him after she learns that Lumiya is in cahoots with Jacen.

I enjoyed this book tremendously and actually wished it kept going and going. There was enough action in between the political sword play to keep the reader going. At this point of the saga, almost all of the characters are at the tipping point. Jacen Solo is ready to pounce on any of the Jedi even Ben Skywalker. The climatic battle between Mara and Jacen is worth the price of admission. The final scenes with Ben and his mother are touching and add much foreshadowing to the book's ending. Almost everyone realizes that they have to make some tough decisions in the days to come. Traviss really sets things up for the next author to take the baton.

My only beef is that I felt that Luke should have been killed. Alema Rar lives yet again. She remains such an anomaly and I pray that the writers finally tie her into the story. I feel that she is a character that should have remained in the Dark Nest trilogy. Killing Luke would have forced the Jedi's to take real action instead of waiting in the wings. Yet their inaction is reminiscent to what happened to the Jedi prior to the Clone Wars. Unlike Bloodlines, this chapter fits perfectly into the saga. There are several more surprises in these pages. It is clear that the endgame is near.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Making your own lightsaber

I know its been a minute. Our family just made a big move to a different state and I was gone for some training as a Sith Lord. But while I was away, the wife learned how to make a lightsaber. I will make her a Star Wars fan yet...

thanks to the folks at Instructables:



Here is the rest of it...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What If...



On Tuesday, August 14th, 2007 podcasting of Voice of the Republic, the guys discussed a question that asked: what if Anakin Skywalker allowed Mace Windu to kill Palpatine? It is a very good question. One that Billie Wheelz and I discussed several times. It's something he and I discuss over a few beers and a few hours.

As on Voice of the Republic (VOR), we will begin at the point where Mace Windu, Kit Fisto, Saesee Tin, and Agen Kolar head out to arrest Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. Master Windu commands Anakin to stay in the Jedi Council chambers. Fast forward and we find Mace Windu ready to strike Palpatine down while his fellow council members lie dead all around them. We all know what happens. This time, Master Windu kills Palpatine. Now let's assume that Anakin does nothing and walks away. What would happen?

Well, at that point Windu would fall to the dark side. Many of the Jedi, including Windu were teetering over the edge. Now he may not have fallen exactly at that point, but he would have taken the first step towards it. Remember, Yoda warned against this when Master Kidi Adi Mundi suggested ousting Palpatine during a council meeting.

Several Jedi left the order because they felt that the Jedi Council's stance on supporting a corrupt Senate was going against the tenets of the Jedi. If one read the books and comics of the EU, one will find many Jedi claiming that the dark side was now everywhere. While watching the movie, one gets the idea that things are not the same. That like Gil Scott Heron suggested, the winter is here.

In our scenario, Anakin would not need to make any moves. There will be some Jedi who would think that Master Windu's move was unforgivable and call for his removal from the Council. With three other members of the council dead, new members would be needed. This would cause a split in the Jedi Order. There will be those who will take sides with Mace Windu and those who would not.

We must keep in mind that with Palpatine dead, the Separatists would not know what to do. Their leaders all wiped out, some would consider surrender while others would continue to fight. In the Senate, there will be internal squabbling over who would become the Supreme Chancellor. It is easy to figure out who would be on which. The List of 2000, who signed the petition asking Palpatine to resign several of his executive powers, would be considered the peaceniks. They would sue for peace with the Separatists to sit at the negotiating table. There would be several Senators who would not fall for this. This would bring the Republic into further strife with new systems going to the Separatists and several doing their own thing. Now add the Jedi into the mix. There will be several of them caught up in the political confusion and end up fighting the people they were sent to defend. Now the clone troopers would become occupational forces throughout the galaxy. Mace Windu and his Jedi co-horts would have to either take over or dissolve the Senate.

Did I just mention the clones? Remember that they have pledged allegiance to the Republic and the office of the Supreme Chancellor. Palpatine represented the Republic. So in a sense, Order 66 would still be sent out. So several clones would turn against their Jedi commanders. This time however, many of the Jedi would know what happened on Coruscant so many more will survive then if Palpatine made the order. As a matter of fact, we might find that some Clone commanders will continue to follow their Jedi leaders since the Jedi Council have taken over the office of the Supreme Chancellor.

In the middle of all this, we have Anakin Skywalker. His entire goal was to save Padme Amidala and his children. Whose side would he take? Well remember, he has always said that the Senate should be dissolved. That a strong man should be in charge and if no one liked it, they should be taking to the clink (Episode II). Yet his only chance to save his wife is now dead. Where would he get this knowledge? Well, as a member of the Jedi Council he can now pillage the Jedi holocrons in their library. He would have to be made master now since there is a shortage of masters on the council. There would also be Jedi who still feel that he is the One. At this point, they will assume that he should run the council since his militant approach to problems would be ideal in this era of strife.

So in closing, Anakin would still fall to the Dark Side. It would just take longer for him to get there.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Dilemmas and Loyalties Part XIV

As Alef Ulo sped towards the Star Destroyer, he noticed several Republic fighters streaking from the capital ship. It was only a matter of time before the rest of the fleet over Boz Pity would be alerted. He continued on his course. He flew as close to the Star Destroyer as he could. It would keep some of the turbo laser batteries from firing at him.

As he crossed the centerline of the capital ship, he changed his direction and dove towards the battered Separatist Fleet. The Repuiblic fighters followed him. No batteries opened up. Ulo trusted in the Force. In that Separatist Fleet he knew he could find spacecraft with hyperspace capabilities. On his panel, he realized that the Coruscant Dawn was also in pursuit. He thought of the clone commandos on board. Everything seemed so heavy. Everything seemed clouded. Surely, the Sith were behind this.

Ulo had to get to the bottom of this all.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Dilemmas and Loyalties Part XIII

Alef Ulo's heart beat accelerated as he pulled out of the docking bay. He could not think of what to do so he allowed the force to guide him. He understood that the V Wing had no hyperdrive capabilities. The V Wing was not the fastest ship in the Republic fleet. If he was pursued, he could get caught. Yet getting to Coruscant was the key to all this. He looked at his scanners to find that Coruscant Dawn was in hot pursuit. He was already being targeted. The gunship will take him out quickly. He was still unfamiliar with the controls of the V Wing. He rarely flew his Jedi starfighter.

He decided to circle back towards the Venator class Star Destroyer. He zipped past the Coruscant Dawn. It continued to track him but did not fire. Obviously taking a shot at Ulo's V Wing could hit something else. He continued to head towards the star destroyer. He has never been this close to one. It was bigger than most capital ships he has seen.

He headed straight forward and noticed something a few kilometers away. It was a fleet of lifeless Confederate starships. That was where the Force was leading him. He continued on his trajectory and waited on his chance.

On the Dawn, Commander Len knew he was in trouble. Ulo has him in a predicament. He decided to contact the Majestic for assistance. He had to capture this Jedi. He knew that anyone else would try to kill him.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Some treats

been a minute... a big move to Ohio

On Movies

I know this is old news. It's been on several of the podcasts that are SW centered. Skymovies did a survey and learned that the most watched films by men is the Star Wars trilogy. Get this: the second most watched films by women are the SW trilogy. That blew me away. What is worse is that it was beaten by Dirty Dancing. Go figure.

What bugs me out is that despite all of this, we SW fans are still treated like geeks. Like we are some nerds who don't get any booty (you know I break that stereotype completely)

more on this later...

an old school banger:



finally check out star wars mash ups... pretty cool stuff.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Dilemmas and Loyalties Part XII

All hands were called to form a perimeter around the LAAT/i. Some of the clone pilots and general staff hid behind parts, boxes, and other aircraft. Commander Len positioned himself behind the phalanx of clone troopers. He removed his side arm from its holster. He never realized he would be using it on a Jedi. He did not need any voice enhancements to allow his voice to travel through the small bay. He hoped that Alef Ulo would just surrender to avoid any further bloodshed.

“This is Commander Len, Jedi Alef Ulo. You are to surrender your lightsaber to be escorted to your quarters. You will be returned to Coruscant for detention. These are direct orders from the Emperor himself. If you refuse, we will shoot to kill.”

He waited. There was no answer. The clone troopers who were sent to retrieve the commandos and the Jedi slowly walked out with no weapons. Then the LAAT/i began powering up. The phalanx of clone troopers instinctively headed towards the aircraft with their weapons drawn. Two clone pilots approached the unarmed clone troopers gesturing them to remove their helmets.

Commander Len heard another noise in the hangar bay. It was another ship. He looked around to find some of the staff firing their rifles in the direction of where the V Wing was stationed. He yelled out to the other clone troopers but realized that he could not be heard through the noise. Yet they realized that the Jedi was not in the LAAT/i. Immediately they ran in the direction of the V Wing. Len followed and noticed that some of the blasters were “yanked” from the hands of his staff and troopers. He arrived in the vicinity to find Alef Ulo sitting in the cockpit of the V Wing. He also noticed a clone trooper slumped on the ground. He shook his head. The vehicle was being prepped by the now unconscious trooper. The Jedi would be getting away.

Commander Len reached for his comlink.

“Make sure that the bay doors are locked!” He repeated over and over.

He watched in horror as they opened and the V Wing shot out of the bay. As quickly as the bay became loud, it was just as quickly quiet.

“Battle stations!” Commander Len barked. He reached for his comlink again. “Follow that V Wing and train all batteries on it. Shoot him out of space!”

Commander Len realized he would regret that order later on.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Darth Bane and the a different view of the Sith




Omi's Note: This is a side bar to the Darth Bane review that I posted last week. The book as well as other's such as Star Wars: Traitor, give a different view of the dark side. I must point out that Billie Wheelz and I hold Vergere's view of the Unifying Force. That view is that there is no dark or light side of the force. There is just the force. People can be self centered or selfless in their approach to it. If one reads Traitor they will understand further. This book demonstrates Jacen Solo's approach to the force that set him apart from the other Jedi.

Growing up, we are given stories of good and evil. Even our religions are masked with concepts of people being either good or evil. Some are considered na├»ve and just fall into a category that is easiest. As we get older however, we realize that the lines are blurred. Of course you have people who are just evil but then there are people who are either victims of circumstance or have a noble idea that goes wrong somewhere. There is a saying: “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Take Darth Bane. He realizes that the Force will redeem him. It will provide a better life for him then living as a miner on a backwater planet. Unfortunately for him, Bane lived a harsh life. His understanding of the universe and the Force was shaped by this. He felt that pain, passion, and self centered ideology were the key to power. His fellow Sith however looked at the force differently. Yes, they were the enemies of the Jedi but they felt that the Jedi were corrupt. The Sith of his time (which is 1,000 years before the Battle of Yavin or BBY), saw the the Republic was also corrupt and only cared about certain people. They wanted to shape the galaxy in their own image. They stopped their infighting and decided to unite to bring the galaxy together. Although they were totalitarian in their approach, their idea was to create a galaxy that worked.

It is Bane's approach however that triumphs and eventually destroys the Jedi. Although this takes over 1,000 years to work and only allowed Palpatine another 20 years of power it was successful in uniting the galaxy and fixing several of the political problems therein. Of course there were flaws such as the Xenophobia exhibited by Palpatine and his co horts, but things went smooth. Yet 135 ABY (After the Battle of Yavin), we see the Republic broken again, the Sith are running things and the Jedi are on the run. I skipped the Yuuzhan Vong War and the Correllian insurrection but we will go over those later.

This time the Sith are many instead of the rule of two. Their approach is much like that of the Sith in Bane's time. They united to bring the Sith to power and the galaxy under control. I am not saying the Sith are good but it brings many political ideas to question.

Take for example, modern dictatorships. Look at the Former Soviet Union. Yes it was rife with bureaucracy and supply issues that caused long lines for basic foodstuffs, but there was little crime and the government took care of health needs and the like. Now it has reverted back to Russia and it is rife with economic and social problems. Here we see the debate between democracy and a totalitarian government. I think the Star Wars EU covers those parallels.

What makes the Sith intriguing is that many of them want to do good. Many of them want to fix problems. At times, the Jedi want to do the same thing and also go about it the wrong way. During the Old Republic, the Jedi often became elitist in their ways and actions. The Mandolarians had issues with the Jedi who they felt meddled in affairs that they had no business being in (sort of like the Iraqi's). It is because of the Jedi that the Mandolarians are a stateless society. We learn as we get older that things are not as evil as they seem and some things that seem good are not all the way good. Catch my drift?

Again this is just something to think about. It makes one look at the EU differently.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Path of Destruction: A Novel of the Old Republic (Star Wars: Darth Bane)


Book Review by Dan Tres OMI:
Path of Destruction: A Novel of the Old Republic (Star Wars: Darth Bane)
written by Drew Karpyshyn

For those of you who are readers of the Dark Horse (DH) comics, one will be familiar with Darth Bane. When fans get to the movies, the assumption is that the Sith have always been a two man show. One would be the master who embodied the power of the Dark Side and the other would be the apprentice who would crave the power. There was a time when there were several Lords of the Sith and there were many Sith academies throughout the galaxy. Each time, the Jedi were able to defeat the Sith because quite frankly the Sith would succumb to infighting. They were to envious of one another. They would spend too much energy fighting themselves then they would the Jedi.

Over one thousand years before the Battle of Yavin, the Sith have taken over a great portion of the galaxy. They have the Republic and the Jedi on the run. The Sith was finally united under Lord Kaan. It was through his leadership that enabled the Sith to gain the upper hand. Things look grim for the Jedi as more and more worlds fall the Sith. The Sith take advantage of the crumbling Republic by convincing more and more worlds to join their cause.

Enter “Des,” a miner on the backwater world of Apatros. He lost his mother at a young age and is abused by his father and other fellow miners. His father gives him the name “Bane” because he felt that his only son has brought him nothing but misfortune. Des never knew he was a Force adept. He just followed that “instinct” that helped him through fights and sabacc games. After a series of altercations, Des is forced to finally leave Apatros and join the Sith cause. In several battles, Des proves himself to be a tough and reliable foot soldier. He is promoted to a sergeant and is soon leading the charge. After refusing to lead his troops into a suicide mission, Des physically removes his commanding officer and changes their plans. His mission is a success after Des preforms several superhuman feats. It was through his action that the Sith Lords take note. He is arrested under the orders of Lord Kopecz and sent to the Sith Academy on Korriban. Des finally accepts the name Bane as he begins his apprenticeship in the ways of the Sith.

The book is superbly written. The perspective is that of the Sith so the Jedi are bathed in a negative light. Despite his insistence on hurting others and his hunger for power, one can help but to root for Darth Bane. He betrays everyone that even attempted to help him. Karpyshyn walks the reader through Bane's miserable life. Even after so many setbacks, Bane refuses to give up and finally realizes the solution to the Sith problem. Karpyshyn drops subtle hints throughout the book but the reader only comes to the conclusion towards the end.

The book focuses on the dark side of the Force. This is rarely done at all. Even when we see Jacen Solo start down this path, the authors tend not to focus on the subtleties of the dark side. Karpyshyn fills the reader in. He makes the reader feel sorry for Bane. If he was born on another world, things may have been different. He may have become a powerful Jedi. Bane does go on a path of destruction.

Despite the fact that Bane is physically imposing and powerful, he learns that it is not physical strength that will help the Sith win the day but it is their treachery, patience, and cunning that will prevail. Once he learns this he sets his plan in motion to beat the Jedi. Yet Bane begins with the destruction of the Sith order.

There is one major flaw in the book. There is a mention of the Vaapad lightsaber style. If one checks the EU, one will learn that Mace Windu was the creator of this style of fighting. While Vaapad does force the user to hinge onto the dark side, only the most powerful Jedi can wield it. However, it is mentioned in an event that transpired over 900 years before the birth of Mace Windu. Also if one has read the DH comics, one will find much of the material to be all too familiar. The book is still worth reading because one learns how Darth Bane set the Sith up for destruction.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Special Guest blogger...





Omi's Note: We have always promised our readers guest bloggers. Well here it is. As a matter of fact, it's a she. She goes by the name of Geekgirl Elitist and is a part of our wonderful community of bloggers. Read and Enjoy...

My affair with Star Wars has been cultivated since 1979. I was too young to see the movie when it premiered in '77. Okay, I was only 6, and I only cared about the Jackson 5 or The Monkees. SciFi had later become my love when I watched late night episodes of The Twilight Zone.

My first encounter was with my best friend, Leslie. We were in the 6th grade in Sacred Heart School, in Vailsburg. She told me about galaxies far, far away and at that time, she was the ultimate Star Wars fan. I can still hear her now, going on and on about how our safety guard looked like a young Han Solo. She was so immersed, she even signed me up for the Kenner Star Wars fan club. I even still have my Princess Leia pencil around here somewhere. I can even remember the countless mornings we would end up late for school because of her showing me her latest Star Wars doll collection. There was a time when the Star Wars dolls were actually full size, instead of the tiny action figures being sold. Now that I think about it, she had some of the little ones too. I never told her, but, I took her Lando Calrissian for a week. My Black Barbie had to see the beautiful nubian that was Lando. Actually, Billie Dee was my first celebrity crush because of Lando Calrissian.

When I left Sacred Heart, I left Star Wars. So I thought. By the time I had seen the last movie, Return of the Jedi, I thought I was done with it. My interests became makeup and boys and Michael Jackson. The Star Wars trilogy had become the 3:00 movies on Sunday afternoons. My love faded.

1992. I had a boyfriend who believed deeply in the force. I thought he was nuts. We read the comics and during this time, we were a rap duo. I named myself Shug Ninx. He was a smuggler who ran with Salla Zend in the Star Wars graphic novels. We would build all night about how the force was real and how all we needed to do was tap into it. We would smoke and play Empire Strikes Back while listening to Diamond D and Digable Planets. He would speak softly in the background, trying to guide my combos to defeat Deathstar bosses. Sometimes, I think he really was a Jedi, well, in his mind. There was a beauty in his voice when he would speak of Yoda's teachings. It was as if he was there. But, then my reality set in. Instead of worrying about getting to the Hoth level in Nintendo, I needed to begin my adult life. Thus beginning my life as a techgirl. Again, my love for Star Wars faded.

Present. My love was restored. When I saw Episode One, my childhood had been restored. All the new technology showed me the things that I wished I had seen back in '79. Yoda had CGI. It was then I learned a new respect for him. I think I gasped loudly, embarassing my boyfriend, when Yoda unsheathed his light saber, and began to administer Count Dooku an asswhuppin'. I got to learn the truth about Darth, even though I knew the whole story. I even watched the Cartoon Network Clone Wars everytime it came on. Mad dudes got deaded when they called or came over. If Clone Wars was on, it was a platonic blockbuster night. If you weren't prepared to build about it after it ended, I showed you the door. Some dudes still don't understand why I told them to bounce.

In this geekgirl life I've tried to hide, I've collected a few things. I own a light saber, and a bronze Millenium falcon. What I haven't said was, yes, I carried my light saber to the premiere of Revenge of the Sith. My boys didn't believe I had one, but, I do.

For 3 decades of my life, Star Wars has been my cult classic. My personal sci-fi love.

The reason why I still look into the atmosphere trying to imagine galaxies, far, far away....

Monday, June 04, 2007

Treats

The New joints.

Some more treats:

1. The teaser trailer for the Clone wars animated series. The word is there will 100 episodes of this. GL does not have a home for this yet meaning no TV or cable network has stepped up. I am sure that once GL makes the big announcement, there will be a bidding war.

2. The winner in Atom Films Star Wars Fan Films... these folks did work...

3. Billy Dee Williams on an old episode of Scrubs...

Enjoy...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Star Wars Legacy of the Force: Exile




written by Aaron Allston
Review by Dan Tres Omi

Omi's Note: There are spoilers in this review...If you want to read the book without any surprises given away, do not read any further. You have been forewarned.

Aaron Allston returns for his second shot at the Legacy of the Force series. Allston, a veteran in the Star Wars EU sagas, is considered to be one of the most consistent heavy hitters. Allson's strength is in his ability to mesh both the non Jedi and Jedi characters of the Star Wars EU. Some Star Wars EU writers can do well in discussing matters that deal with the Force, but fall short when non Jedi characters and situations come in to play. While other writers do the opposite. His mixture of the Force philosophy, military maneuvering, and the political jousting is well balanced.

Jacen Solo continues his foray into the Sith while the Correllian insurrection is backed by the ever deceitful Bothans. Once the Bothans enter the picture, a domino effect is created in which other systems such as Commenor join. Soon the Correllian Confederation is joined. Things begin to get nastier for our heroes. Wedge Antilles and his family have to escape Correllia once Wedge decides to resign his commission after the failed coup attempt on Tenel Ka of the Hapes Consortium in which he had no connection with. After one anticipated assassination attempt, he decides to head off planet. He encounters Han and Leia and together they decide to get to the bottom of it all.

The Solos, the Antilles, and Corran Horn and his family put their heads together to try and figure out who is behind this all. They all agree it is another shadowy Sith figure. To them, all roads lead to Lumiya. The Solos reunite with the Skywalker to see if they had any leads and the hunt is on. Meanwhile Lumiya and Jacen send Ben Skywalker on a mission to see if he is worthy of being a Sith apprentice.

Allston gets it all right. He provides enough space battles, Jedi lightsaber duels, and political intrigue without making it all confusing. It was good to see Corran Horn in action. Lando Calrissian plays another important role. Ben Skywalker figures out how to survive on his own and begins a new legacy outside of the shadow of his father.

One thing that stands out is that when one sits back to think, one realizes that the Skywalker line is really more apt to lean towards the Sith than to the Jedi Order. Ben makes many decisions that are Sith like. During the Dark Empire days, Luke worked for the cloned emperor as his Sith apprentice. Jaina Solo had her brush with the dark side during the Yuuzhan Vong war.

What is enjoyable about the Legacy of the Force series is that the good guys seem to be losing on all fronts. The political situation seems to get worse. The Jedi are again spread thin. There is ideological dissension amongst the Jedi ranks. The Sith are causing trouble. The Galactic Alliance can't seem to hold it together. Allston leaves the reader with many questions.

There are two downsides to the book. One is the fact that Alema Rar lives yet again. How crippled can someone get after several losses in lightsaber duels. After the battle in the last issue, one would think that Lady Lumiya was dead. She is almost there. Her Force powers are just too powerful. She can control and influence people from several parsecs away. Even Palpatine did not have this power. I understand her role in all of this, but I find her to be too powerful.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Dilemmas and Loyalties Part XI

The LAAT/i entered the docking bay as any other ship would. There was a perimeter set up with several clone troopers lined up. Their DC 17's pointed at the LAAT/i. Some members of the crew were lined up behind them. Commander Duman Len was barely visible. Shuffle headed to the back of the gunship to find Alef Ulo standing over the body of Flinch.

“So what are you going to do?” He asked the Jedi.

“Escape,” he answered, “probably head to Coruscant to find out what happened. Maybe find some members of the Jedi Council to see what is really going on?”

“All of this doesn't make sense,” Shuffle went on. “I see nothing but other troopers armed and ready. No droids at all.”

“All of you can get up,” Alef Ulo called out to the troopers who were sprawled out on the floor.

“I guess this is farewell?” Tic asked.

“I would assume so,” Ulo replied.

“Can I give you this?” Tic raised his hand and offered one DC 15 side arm blaster. “You might be needing this when you get back to Coruscant.

Alef Ulo said nothing. He accepted the side arm. Tic handed him a holster and belt. Ulo quickly took it all.

“My last order to you three is to get off the ship first.”

“What about you, sir?” Tic asked.

“I will be okay.”

“If it means anything,” Shuffle added, “it was an honor to work under your command.”

“It was honor to work with such fine men. The best the Republic has to offer.”

It grew silent as the LAAT/i touched down. The cargo doors swung open. Mynock Squad slowly hopped out with this their weapons in a downward position. Five clone troopers quickly approached them making motions for them to stop and drop their weapons. They complied. Their helmets were removed to ensure that the Jedi was not disguised as one of them.

“Where is the Jedi?” Asked Commander Len.

“In the gunship,” Tic answered stiffly.

“Sargent, you know what to do,” Commander Len stated flatly.

“Sir!” The clone trooper replied.

He rapped on the heads of some of his troopers and provided a few hand signals. The four clone troopers formed a phalanx and quickly headed towards the LAAT/i with their sargent in tow.

“You three are confined to your quarters,” Commander Len continued.

“Since when do we take orders from non-Jedi?” Asked Tic.

“You don't question my orders!”

“Sir, with all due respect,” Shuffle interrupted, “we have not been debriefed on the current situation.”

“You will be updated soon enough. The Jedi are traitors. So we have been asked to take command of all operations until further notice.”

“Sir.” Tic responded. All three Clone Commandos walked to their quarters.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The X Man innerview

How old are you and what grade are you?

Twelve years old and in 7th grade.

How did you get introduced to Star Wars?

I saw the movie a long time ago because my uncle brought the box set of the original trilogy.

What is your first memory of Star Wars?

When I saw the AT ATs getting blown away by the snow speeders. It was cool. The little guy was taking out the big guy using brains and not firepower.

What do you enjoy the most in Star Wars?


I enjoy reading it more because it gives more insight. I like the conflict because it's so much like real life. It's not about good and evil. People act differently.

Who is your favorite characters?


I like Ben Skywalker and Jacen Solo. I like Solo because he is trying to prove that what he does is for the greater good and that he is selfless. I like Ben Skywalker because he is a little kid but he has to grow up. He actually realizes that and thinks about what he is doing.

What do you dislike about Star Wars?

The fact that people try to make it all good or all evil and they won't be open minded. In the movies I disliked how the Emperor did things. He failed to realize he was still Sith and they always do betrayal.


What is your favorite EU book? Why?


It would have to be Star Wars: Rogue Planet. I liked it because it had Vergere and Anakin in it.

What is your favorite Star Wars movie? Why?

Episode III or V. I like III because it shows Anakin's conflicts more. I like V because they had the AT Ats and they went to Hoth.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What to do at home while Celebration IV goes on in the land of Hollywood....



(or things to do while I am with your girl...always wanted to say that...)

If you have not been living under a rock or stuck in Guantanamo Bay with no writ of habeas corpus, you know that the Thirtieth Anniversary of Star Wars will be the center stage at Celebration IV in sunny Los Angeles. I am sure that like myself, many of our readers can't make it for several reasons. So in support of the Force Cast's “No Fan Left Behind” program, we here at Star Wars for Colored Folks would like to give you some ideas and also offer some content. So here we go:

1.First, check out the Force Cast latest mega cast. I say mega cast because it is over four hours long. You will NOT be disappointed. They interview several artists who will be at Celebration IV. Show them some love and tell them Brother Omi sent you.

2.Then check out the Republic Heads at Voice of the Republic (VOR) for their last two podcasts. In the podcast dated May 14th, they interview a member of the 501st Legion (Vader's Fist, bro). In the podcast dated May 15th, they attend the premiere viewing of Heart of An Empire, a movie about the 501st. Enjoy it.

3.Tomorrow, I will post a story about seeing Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope when I was a youngblood.

4.The next day, I will post an interview with my oldest son, X Man, focusing on Star Wars.

5.Don't forget on Monday, memorial Day at 9pm EST , the History Channel will be showing Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed. They interview folks like Newt Gingrich! Do you believe that? He is a Star Wars fan. WTF....

6.Finally check out the trailer for The Force Among Us...

See you manana!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Star Wars Podcasts




I have to big up my sister from the same mother, Claviticus, for coping an Ipod Shuffle for me. Thank you so much. Now I can download all of the Bush administration scandals right into my Ipod.... sorry wrong blog and not my joke. Yet I can download all of my favorite joints. Of course, some of those are Star Wars podcasts. Here we go...

The Force Cast – this one comes from theforce.net. It covers everything from collecting to the books from Del Rey. They have the best interviews. They even upload a segment on music that is inspired by the Star Wars saga. There is not much commentary on particular topics. They usually go at it for an hour but it covers pretty much everything on the website. Hands down they have the best show notes with the links. My favorite are the Star Wars tales from listeners. Sometimes they are funny and at times they bring a tear or two.

Voice of the Republic – I really enjoy this one. They have a good time on this one. They have several discussions that I think everyone else has when they are with their friends. They get into discussions about the problems with continuity, the flaws in the storyline, the EU, etc. It is by far my favorite. What's cool is if they don't finish the discussion, they continue it into the next show so you don't miss anything.

Bonus: This is not really a podcast but it is very thorough (as we said back in the day). Someone took Karen Traviss' short story “Omega Squad: Targets” and made it into an audio drama. I think it is worth it. It is really dope.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

National PKU Awareness Month

This is a joint effort between 501st Garrison Tyranus and the Hampton Roads Rebellion FanForce. You need not be in costume to participate. You could come in and just help out as a volunteer or just walk and show support. If you're 501st, we got a fellow member member - Owen Morgan (TK & TD) - , who has the PKU disease; he plans on making the trip down from Culpepper, VA and be there with us!



What is PKU?

PKU:
Phenylketonuria. An inherited metabolic defect in protein metabolism. In PKU, the liver is unable to convert phenylalanine to tyrosine, resulting in a buildup of phenylalanine in the blood, which eventually passes into the brain, causing mental retardation and other neurological problems.


Here is how you can help....

WALK FOR PKU RESEARCH SPONSORED BY RYAN’S PKU FOUNDATION OF VIRGINIA

VIRGINIA BEACH PKU
Walk-a-thon

When: Saturday, May 19, 2007 from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm
Where: Mount Trashmore Park, Virginia Beach, VA

Schedule:
10:00-10:30am Check in & turn in donations
11:00-12:00pm Walk for Research
12:30-2:00pm Kids Activities, Low Protein Vendors available, Low Protein Snacks and cooking demo by
Malathy Ramanujam
2:15-2:30pm Speaker from Biomarin Pharmaceutical Company
2:30-3:00pm Prizes awarded/raffle



Contact: Mike and Oanh Foust (757)558-1980
email: Ryanspkufoundation@verizon.net

Monday, April 23, 2007

Star Wars: The New Essential Chronology



by Daniel Wallace & Kevin J. Anderson
Book Review by Dan Tres Omi

Sometimes, folks need some notes to go back and research to stay on their toes. No matter how many Star Wars books and comics one reads, one will always miss something. Well the brainiacs at Del Rey and Lucas Books have gotten together to provide the Star Wars EU fans with an essential chronology of everything from the movies, comic books, cartoons, and novels.

Daniel Wallace, who wrote a good number of the Star Wars Essential series, and Kevin J. Anderson, who has authored several EU books, both have done a tremendous job of summarizing the important events of the Star Wars EU. One of the biggest problems in the Star Wars EU is continuity. Sometimes there are flaws in major events and then there are flaws in the minute details. Wallace and Anderson avoid this by keeping several of the details out. This allows the reader to avoid finding too many spoilers. Leaving the details out forces one to read the actual material.

The illustrations by several artists are wonderful. However they are too few in number. One pretty much has to dig through the pages for them. What they lack in quantity they make up for in quality. The cover could have been better and something that captured the overall feel of the Star Wars Universe would have worked.

Overall, any of the Essential series books are needed. It gives the reader a reference point to look back at when something seems unexplained. The only flaw is that each section is not referenced to the particular book that covers the event. I doubt it would have made the research much more difficult. Maybe the intent of the authors was to force the reader to read the books. Of course, it needs to be updated. It is missing the rest of the Killik war and some of the Star Wars Legacy series.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Dilemmas and Loyalties Part X

Duman Len was visibly nervous. The last 48 standard hours were the most precarious of his career. So many things happened. They were ambushed by several Separatist capital ships. They were barely able to survive. The Corusant Dawn suffered much damage. They would not be able to travel through hyperspace. As suddenly as everything became chaotic, the war was finally over. Commander Len has not seen Coruscant in the last three years. He was not even allowed to stay in contact with his family. He assumed that he would be returning home soon. Then the Supreme Chancellor asked that every Jedi be eliminated or taken into custody. The last order was something he never thought he would ever hear. The Jedi proved themselves over and over these past few years. Commander Len believed that if it was not for the Jedi, the Republic would not have won the war. He has seen them in action before and during the war. Each time they were more impressive then the last. With his commandos in the field, his ARC trooper KIA, and half of his platoon, he did not see how they would capture Alef Ulo let alone kill him. Commander Len understood that the Chancellor's orders were such that he did not want to execute. It was certainly a dilemma he did not want to deal with. Besides the ship's crew, Ulo and his Clone commandos, were the only survivors of the last three years. Alef Ulo was dependable and was not overbearing. He did not overstep his boundaries despite the fact that he had no prior war experience. Ulo has even saved his life more times than he can count. Now he must kill him or apprehend the Jedi.

It certainly is a new Republic now.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Hampton Roads Rebellion


(Two snowtroopers in downtown Norfolk)

Yesterday, the babies and I had the opportunity to meet members of the Hampton Roads Rebellion Star Wars team and a few members of the 501st Stormtrooper Legion aka Vader's fist.

here is there link.

and here are some pics...



(we are from the empire and we are here to help...)



the capturing of Jedi younglings....

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Dilemmas and Loyalties Part IX

Their approach was routine. They could see the entire ship as they got closer. It suffered damage during the battle. There were several Republic capital ships in Boz Pity's orbit. All of them focused around a Venator class star destroyer. There were also shattered hulls of quite a few Separatist capital ships and droid fighters. There was debris everywhere. Alef Ulo noticed some Separatist ships that were intact and seemed to have suffer no damage.


So the Clone Wars are over
, Ulo thought to himself. He reached out to the Force to see if he could find any Jedi in the Republic fleet orbiting Boz Pity. It was no use. No Jedi were present. He was the only one in this system. He could also sense a stir of emotion on board the Dawn. They were most likely setting up for his capture. He can sense the determination and the anxiety of the officers on board. He had to make a decision quickly. Would he fight or surrender? Surrender seemed to guarantee an immediate execution. Yet he could not see himself fighting against those he considered allies only a few hours ago.

Soon he would have to make that decision.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Why Star Wars is Better than Star Trek

I find it annoying that people confuse my obsession with Star Wars with that of a trekkie. WTF! A Trekkie. I ain't no Trekkie. And yes, I used a double negative. I have several contemporaries who are fans of both. Some of them try to peace things out between both groups. Not me, son. The Emperor showed me what beef if. Here are several reasons why Star Wars is better than Star Trek.

Tattoine – man, I love Tattoine. It's run by the gangsta Hutts. Those dudes are g'ed up. Tattoine has the worst city in the galaxy, Mos Eisley. It can't get any Gangsta than that. What does Star Trek have?

Mandolarians – come on man. Boba Fett, Jango, and the rest of the gang? Dudes are ruthless.

Clone Troopers – made from a template of Jango Fett. Come on man, Star Trek ain't got nothing on this.

Storm Troopers – They sound so cool when they communicate. They make that chsssss sound
in between phrases. How cool is that?

Star Destroyers – can Star Trek bring genocide and destruction on this scale.... hell no!

The Sith – these villians can either be ruthless or on point. Some of them make some good points. What do the trekkies have, the Borg? WTF is a borg?

The Jedi – what more can I say?

Han Solo – when Princess Leia told him she loved him, he responded with “I know.” If I say
that to my wife, she would smack the Jesus out of me.

Darth Maul – dude is sick. I hated how he got killed but he is sick. That is all Wu Shu on top
of that.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Dilemmas and Loyalties Part VIII

Alef Ulo slowly inched his way past their prisoners. All the events of the last couple of months swirled through his brain. His troops were isolated from the rest of the galaxy. They jumped from mission to mission. He has only been to Coruscant one time after the Battle of Geonosis. That was three standard years ago. He walked to the back of the gunship to find the body of Flinch stretched out in the mini med bay. His face was a gnarled and burned mess. Ulo lost many clones in this war, but never a clone commando. All four original members he started with has stayed with him through each battle. Despite the fact that they all looked the same, Ulo knew who each one was. The Jedi taught him not to have any attachments. Then he realized what have we done?
Since before the war, the darkness was always there. Initially it was just background to everything. It did not seem as threatening. Since the Battle of Geonosis that foreboding has grown. All of the Jedi seemed to ignore it. Well most of them did anyway. Several Jedi refused to fight in the Clone Wars due to this foreboding darkness. In hindsight, maybe they were right. Before he left the Jedi Temple for his first mission, many of the older Jedi debated their roles in the war. Now the darkness has engulfed them all. Before he fell into despair, Alef Ulo began his Jedi meditation. Soon they will be docking in the Coruscant Dawn.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dilemmas and Loyalties Part VII

On the way up to the Dawn, the captured clones tried to retake the LAAT/i twice. Using some Teras Kasi and some force pushes, he was able to subdue them each time without causing any harm. Once he removed their helmets, the clones seemed to keep to themselves.
“What do you think is waiting for us on the ship?” Asked Tick.
“I don't know,” Ulo answered, “we will see when we get there.”
“I don't like surprises, sir,” Tick responded.
“Again, I do not expect you to fire on your brothers,”
“It's over, Jedi!” One of the clones yelled out. “The Jedi are all traitors. They tried to assasinate the Supreme Chancellor!”
“That doesn't make any sense,” Burn chimed in, “the Jedi aren't totally invincible but I bet if they wanted to kill Chancellor Palpatine they had plenty of opportunity to do it. Let's face it. If they wanted to, it would have happened a long time ago.“
“I would have to agree with you, Burn,” Ulo finished.
“Even if we don't get you on the Dawn,” the same clone trooper continued, “someone will get you.”
“Pull up the holonet news!” Ulo commanded the pilot.
“Yes, sir!” The pilot surprisingly complied.
In a few moments, the entire gunship was filled with sound. After a few commercials, the Coruscant News Network came on. The main story was the attempted coup by the Jedi. The Jedi were defeated and clone troopers were sent to eradicate the Jedi. The clones uncovered a plot that reached all the way up to the Jedi Council. They were then tied to several galactic Senators many of who were wanted and at large. All Jedi were to be apprehended and turned over to any Republic garrison.
Alef Ulo shook his head in disbelief. Several witnesses and Senators were interviewed. All of their testimonies incriminated the Jedi.
“It's a new Republic now,” Burn said solemnly.

Star Wars: Allegiance by Timothy Zahn



review by Dan Tres Omi


Omi's Note
: warning ! Spoilers!

Many might debate this statement but this writer has to say that Timothy Zahn is one of the top three Star Wars EU writers. He has written one of the best book series introducing us to Grand Admiral Thrawn, the Chiss warrior who almost brought the Empire back. He penned the story of the disastrous Outbound Flight. He also brought us Mara Jade once known as the Emperor's Hand. Zahn continues his foray into the EU with Allegiance.

The story takes place shortly after Star Wars: A New Hope (ANH). The details about the destruction of the first Death Star are still reaching the rest of the galaxy. The Rebel Alliance is starting to gain momentum as more and more systems begin to rethink their position on the Empire. The last time someone wrote a novel about our favorite gang of rebels in the post ANH timeline was Splinter in the Mind's Eye. Here we find Luke Skywalker to be still a novice in his Jedi training. Han Solo is still debating about his position in the rebellion. Leia Organa is still the same hardcore diplomat.

The basic storyline of the book centers around five stormtroopers who decide to desert. After they were forced to massacre innocent civilians in an attempt find some rebels, these stormtroopers begin to rethink their role in the Empire. They begin to question the motives of their superiors . When they kill an officer of the notorious Imperial Security Bureau (ISB) after being accused of treason, these five stormtroopers steal some equipment and make a break for it. However instead of escaping to some uncharted system, they decide to fight pirates and help the average Imperial citizen. They call themselves the Hand of Judgement.

Eventually they run into some rebels and actually meet Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Chewbacca. Things change for the worse when they encounter Mara Jade, the Emperor's Hand. Mara Jade is only about nineteen at the time but is as equally ruthless when we meet her several years later. Her job was to weed out traitors and corrupt Imperial officials.

Zahn does a wonderful job keeping the storylines separate and finally pulling them together. One has to remember that this occurs right after the destruction of the Death Star so only a few Imperials know what actually happened at Yavin. No one really knows who Leia, Luke, Chewie, and Solo are. At this point, they can still roam the galaxy and not worry about the Imperials. Mara Jade even learns about Luke Skywalker while snooping around Vader's files but has no clue about who he is. As a matter of fact when the Hand of Judgement encounters the rebels, they have no clue that they are working with the most wanted group of people in the Empire. Until Vader and the 501st show up.

The book is exciting from cover to cover. One will enjoy learning about the Storm Trooper Corps. At this time, the Empire has been recruiting humans from around the galaxy for quite some time. Much of the dialogue between the Stormtroopers who become deserters sounds like the conversations I had with fellow sailors while in the Navy. In Allegiance we encounter many Stormtroopers who sign up with the Empire to serve their galaxy. After several missions, they become disillusioned. While working with several corrupt officers and witnessing atrocities against innocent civilians, many question their role in the Imperial armed forces. This is why many former Imperial officers sign up with the Rebellion. The original Rogue Squadron was made up primarily of former TIE fighter pilots.

Ironically, the Hand of Judgment do not see the Rebel Alliance as a solution. They think of them as usurpers to the Imperial Order. They see them as a new brand of Separatists. As a matter of fact, through Leia we learn that the Rebel Alliance was originally not looking to start a war. Instead they hoped to bring the Imperials to the negotiating table. This of course is naivete on their part since the Emperor would never have conceded.

Again, I have a beef with how George Lucas portrayed the Stormtroopers in the movies verses how writers in the EU have discussed them. Consider the Stormtroopers like the US Marines. They are elite and only a few are chosen. Writers in the EU have written them as nothing less than the best. In the movies, they are like keystone cops always fumbling about. My other beef is Mara Jade's use of the Force. She is very skillful in this aspect. When we meet her in the Thrawn series, her powers are very limited. It seems as if she forgot. She does not get better until she trains with Luke. Yet wouldn't her Force abilities remain strong because she was trained by the Emperor and had much more experience in using them through her missions? This is a problem with continuity. Still Zahn does his thing yet again. The book is a must read.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

R2D2 coming through your town

If you haven't heard, the United States Post Office (USPS) and the folks at Star Wars have teamed up to put together R2D2 Mail collection boxes in the U.S. It is part of the Star Wars 30th anniversary celebration. At the end of the March, USPS will be unveiling some stamps that commemorate our favorite trilogy.

Here is the deal, USPS has only made 320 mail boxes that are to be placed in high traffic areas. So if you live in East Bubblebuck Kansas, chances are they are not bringing it to your area.

Our wonderful city of Norfolk, VA has one! It is located on 315 Granby Street. Of course, your favorite blogger took the padawan learners down there to take some reflections. After talking to my Sith mistress, she is still imposing her Imperial no showing the babies on the net rule. So I had to leave those out. But here are some pics of self doing his thing.



Here I am doing the regular pose. Picture courtesy of my daughter...



Of course, I had to do the freeze. I can still hold it. I am still the handstand king of Hampton Roads.... I held that for like ten seconds. WHAT!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dilemmas and Loyalties Part VI

Ulo took a deep breath, allowing the Force to flow through every cell in his body. Then he leaped backward performing somersaults. He landed several feet from his original position and leaped again. He was a blur on their sensors. Before a shot could be fired, he landed on the nose of the LAAT/i and vaulted off the vehicle. He bounced off a tree on disappeared into the forest. The LAAT/i began to fire. It tore through the foliage tracking him. He was several steps ahead of the clones. Ulo bounded through the forest planning to encircle the LAAT/i so that he could reach the canopy doors. He wondered how long it would take before they fired their missiles. Suddenly, the barrage stopped.
Alef Ulo continued his somersaults and found himself facing the open canopy door. He found Shuffle holding his service pistol to the skull of the LAAT/i pilot. Two clone troopers held up their DC-15s in his direction. At the same time, Burn and Tick held their rifles towards other clone troopers.
Once the sounds of gunfire echoed away from them, Ulo was able to listen.
“We will not stand down!” Yelled the pilot. “We were given orders directly from the Chancellor's office!”
“You will stand down!” Exclaimed Tick. “We will return to the Dawn and get to the bottom of this!”
“The war is over! The Jedi are traitors!” The pilot shot back.
“This could be a Sep trick!”
“Then why haven't they attacked?”
“Exactly my point!”
“No, the Seps surrendered and have deactivated all their droids!”
“It's a set up! It smells like a trap!” Burn cut in.
As Ulo walked up, all the clone troopers except the commandos trained their guns on him. Using the force, he yanked their weapons out of their hands sending them flailing into the forest.
“Now we can talk,” the Jedi Knight stated as he stepped on board the LAAT/i.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Dilemmas and Loyalties Part V

Groggy though he was, Shuffle was able to speak.
“We shouldn't have left Flinch,” he stated weakly.
Everyone agreed.
“As soon as the gunship arrives, we will retrieve his body, I promise you,” Ulo replied clutching his arm.
“Yes, sir!” Shuffle responded with more strength in his voice. It was moments like this when Alef Ulo questioned the decision of the Jedi Council to continue to use the clones to fight this war. They were willing soldiers and had no qualms about dying in a war that continued to neglect them. Ulo could not help but create a bond with his soldiers. They were loyal to the death. Ironically, Ulo never questioned what would happen to them once the Separatists threat was over. He could not imagine using them as occupying forces in systems that were not loyal to the Republic.
The Low Altitude Assault Transport (LAAT) is the staple of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). They were the workhorses and have proven themselves time and again. Unfortunately, they are loud and could not be used during special operations. When Rothana Heavy Engineering designed the LAAT/i, it was an ARC Trooper's gunship of choice. Although it carried far less armament then the original LAAT, its stealth suite, silent engines, and precision handling make it ideal for insertion and extraction. The enemy never knows what hits them when it sneaks up to provide air support. While waiting for an extraction, Mynock Squad never hears it coming. Yet Ulo can sense kilometers away.
“It's here,” he said solemnly. “I will not ask you to fire upon your brothers. Yet if I am attacked, I will not hesitate to defend myself.”
“Yes, sir!” Answered Tick. “We understand. I will carry Shuffle.”
Ulo nodded.
The LAAT/i finally appeared. It hovered slowly over them. As they walked towards it, it lowered to their chest level. The clone troopers lowered their weapons towards Ulo.
“Commander Ulo!” Yelled one of the troopers. “You are under arrest. Hand us your lightsabers!”
Alef Ulo stopped in his tracks as the commandos continued to walk to the gunship.
“I will not comply until I am given a proper briefing!. I want to speak directly to the Jedi Council!”
“That is not possible Jedi! The Jedi Council is no more as per the directives of the Chancellor himself! Now turn over your weapons!”
“No, trooper! I am your commanding officer!”
“Not anymore, Jedi!” The clone trooper made some hand signals. Once the commandos were on board, the gunship leveled off and faced Ulo. It's forward guns tracking him.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Dilemmas and Loyalties Part IV

As they set up camp, Commander Ulo collapsed. He clutched his chest as if he were in cardiac arrest. Both commandos dropped to their knees and scanned the area assuming it was another ambush.
Ulo felt the force tug at him. He felt his breath leaving him. He could sense the plucking out of life as they returned to the force. Ulo understood that several Jedi have died. It happened so fast and so many times.
“Commander, are you okay?” Tick asked.
He was finally able to catch his breath.
“Yes, I am Tick,” he said slowly.
“What happened?”
“I just felt hundreds of Jedi die,” he said solemnly.
“But--” Tick went on.
“I can't explain it. Force sensitives can feel when a great number of people are killed or die.”
“Do you think what the ARC Trooper told us was wrong?” Tick asked.
“It may be,” Ulo continued, “if the Seps lost the war why are all these Jedi dying.”
“So it could be a trick,” Burn commented.
“It might be. Let's contact the Dawn again.” Ulo flipped on his communicator. Instead of receiving static, he got a transmission. “This Mynock squad to Dawn.”
Coruscant Dawn copy,” the voice of Commander Duman Len replied, “what is your status Commander Ulo?” Suddenly his holo appeared perched on Ulo's forearm.
“We are setting up camp with preparations to return to the primary EZ,” Ulo answered.
“Did you rendezvous with the ARC Trooper?” Asked Commander Len.
“Yes, we did.” Everyone noticed a pause from Commander Len.
“Where is he?”
“He is KIA,” Ulo said remaining as calm as any Jedi would, “we were ambushed by droidekas.”
“I see,” Commander Len responded slowly, “we are locating you now. We are sending a LAAT to retrieve you and your men.”
“Commander,” Ulo went on, “is it true? The war is over?”
“Yes, it is. It is much more complicated than that. We can discuss it when you arrive.”
“Thank you commander,” Ulo said, “out.”
“We will see you shortly,” he replied with a sense of hesitancy in his voice.
Originally Ulo assumed that once the war was over, he would be elated. Yet for some reason that is not the feeling he had. Meanwhile, the commandos contemplated their future. Now that the war is over, what will happen to them?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Dilemmas and Loyalties Part III

Commander Ulo was correct. Despite a few minor contusions, scraps, and bruises, Flinch would be okay. The only salvageable part of his armor was his helmet and chest plate. His Heads up Display (HUD) barely functioned. He decided to remove it since he could not rely on its functions anymore. He was conscious minutes after the melee. Shuffle was down. His chest plate was full of holes. The armor saved his life but did not prevent injury. Mynock Squad was able to stabilize him with the aid of Commander Ulo. He would need to be taken back to the Dawn to prevent any permanent injuries.
“Now back to business,” stated the ARC Trooper coldly.
“What is this about?” Asked Commander Ulo calmly.
“Nothing personal, Jedi, just orders,” the ARC Trooper replied.
“What's going on?” Commander Ulo asked the remaining members of Mynock Squad.
“We have no idea,” answered Tick.
“We were told to take you out,” Burn followed.
“What's this about trooper?” He asked the ARC Trooper again.
The ARC Trooper raised both of his pistols at Commander Ulo.
“Nothing we need to discuss here,” he answered.
“I am willing to go into custody,” Ulo stated flatly, “I don't want to hurt you.”
“No need for anyone to be polite about it--”
“Supposedly we received orders from the Chancellor's office to take you out. That's all big mouth over here told us. I think its a trap--” Flinch was not able to finish the sentence. The Arc Trooper fired into his face, killing him instantly. Before any of the other commandos could react, the saw the Arc Trooper fall to his knees with a shoto sagging from his chest plate. He dropped both pistols in his attempt to pull the short lightsaber from his body. He crumbled into a heap in the middle of all the commandos and Ulo.
“Holy Bantha poo!” Burn exclaimed his Deece still raised.
Tick was by Flinch's side.
“Stag! He's dead.”
“So is the ARC Trooper,” Commander Ulo stated as he checked the ARC Trooper's vitals. “We have to contact the Dawn for an immediate evac.
“That may not be possible,” Tick replied, “they are pinned down.”
“Then we head to the primary EZ, send them a signal and sit,” Ulo commanded.
“Roger that, sir!”
“I will carry Shuffle,” Ulo continued.
With Burn on point and Tick following up in the rear, they slowly made their way back to the primary EZ. It would take a day and a half to arrive since they covered so much ground the previous 36 hours and the extra weight slowed them down tremendously. They were forced to camp out as the day broke.

To be continued...

Friday, March 02, 2007

Dilemmas and Loyalties Part II

Mynock Squad and the ARC Trooper were being pressed further back. Each time they hid behind a tree or low outcropping of rocks, their cover was blasted into shreds. Tick was wounded. The armor on his right leg was blasted off and blood tracked everywhere. The ARC Trooper fired away as if he were invincible. The noise they were making was soon to bring reinforcements from either side. Maybe the Seps decided to advance.
“I am going to break comm silence and call for back up,” Tick finally announced.
“I could have told you that,” quipped Shuffle.
As Tick called for back, the Seps pressed on. It was difficult for the clone troopers to retreat further back. The firepower the Seps possessed was powerful enough to keep them pinned. It was even tougher to fire back. This is when seconds felt like hours. Thankfully, the clone troopers wore armor. The heat of the battle was enough to force anyone to quit. Tree bark, rocks, and soil flew everywhere as the Seps continue to lay siege to the out gunned and out manned clones.
“Air support will have to wait!” Tick called out. “The Dawn is busy fighting off Seps.”
“Swell,” continued Shuffle, “I thought we had them on the run.”
“And I am out of cannon shells,” Burn added.
“Here goes nothing,” Flinch chimed in as he cocked his arm to chuck a thermal detonator. Before he could release the explosive, he took several shots to the chest. He was knocked off of his feet and the detonator flew back somewhere behind the clones.
“Fire in the hole!” Yelled Tick. Everyone lunged forward firing ahead as they fell.
The impact sent them flipping head over heels. The ARC Trooper fell directly in the line of fire of Super Battle Droid. Before the droid could turn to re-aim, Burn fired several shots from his DC-16 into it's torso taking it out of the battle.
“Flinch is down!” Yelled Shuffle. No one had time to look back as the Droidekas recharged and took aim. Everyone leaped for cover. It was uncoordinated. They acted like a bunch of amateurs. Shuffle however, knelt in front of Flinch and began firing again. This time, he took out the second Super Battle Droid but received several shots from the Droidekas.
Everyone heard his screams through their comm systems.
All three clone troopers left standing noticed a blur move from left to right and zig zag it's way towards their position. At first, it seemed as if the heat from the battle and the flying shrapnel caused problems with their helmets' optic sensors. After a few nanoseconds of this, they released it was no malfunction. The blur took to the hair and landed inbetween the Seps with such a force, it knocked all four droidekas a few yards from their original position. At the same time, Commander Ulo ignited his lightsaber and shoto. Unlike the average Jedi, Alef Ulo toted two sabers. After Geonosis, he never worked with another Jedi again and found unconventional methods to complete missions. The shoto was much shorter than the average lightsaber.
The weakness behind the droideka are the fail safes that automatically shut off its shield in the case it fell over to prevent a system overload. Commander Ulo took full advantage and use the force to knock them over. He threw his shoto into the air taking out the two droidekas closest to him. With his lightsaber he lunged at the third one, cleaving it in two. The fourth one was taken out by his returning shoto. Once they were down, he switched off both lightsabers and replaced him on the belt of his tunic.
“Commander!” Tick called out.
“I can sense that Flinch is down but not hurt. He will need some new armor however,” Alef Ulo surmised using the force. “Shuffle needs attention but he will live. I need to invest in some of the armor.”
“You said that last time,” Burn commented.
“Commander Ulo, we need to talk,” Tick said as he removed his helmet.
“Commando, stand down!” The ARC Trooper.
“Well, let's take care of our comrades and then we can talk,” Ulo responded oblivious to what was happening.

To be continued...

Dilemmas and Loyalties Part I

Mynock Squad waited. Like any squad of clone commandos, they were trained for this. Mop up operations on Boz Pity began 36 standard hours earlier. Mynock Squad has been engaging Sep forces ever since. It was an easy op. Their commander would recon for about an hour or so and return with some new targets. Things were going pretty well for the the last day and a half. The weather has been holding out. Commander Alef Ulo has been an exceptional leader. They all traveled on the gunship/swoop Coruscant Dawn with a platoon of clone regulars and one ARC trooper. The gunship was captained by a Commander Duman Len, an actual Coruscanti native. The rest of the crew were non clones. Since the battle of Genosis, their crew has been jumping from system to system conducting special operations. Most of it has been hit and run, reconnaissance, and support. It has been action ever since that fateful day three standard years before. Their platoon had to be replace twice since. They even lost their ARC trooper in the last mission. They were just getting used to their new one.
“Can't wait 'till Ulo gets back,” said Burn, the demolitions expert. His face had a long burn scar on the right side. It looked more like a birth mark, Commander Ulo, had remarked.
“I don't mind waiting around,” commented Flinch, “it seems like it's the only peace we've gotten since Geonosis.”
“Geonosis, what?” Joked Shuffle. “Man, that was so long ago, I almost forgot.”
“Of course you did,” Burn shot back, “you were unconscious half the time.” Which was true of course. While jumping from the shuttle, Shuffle landed in front of an artillery barrage that knocked him off of his feet. He was unconscious for most of the battle. Luckily, he suffered a few minor concussions. Everyone laughed.
“Everyone piped down!” Tic yelled.
“Excuse me, sarge,” Shuffle replied sarcastically.
“This war's not over yet,” Tick continued. “Things have been going pretty well for us. It's about time things got real dirty.”
Everyone could agree to that.
Suddenly they heard a speeder coming from behind them. They quickly sought cover and braced themselves. They split into two groups and lined up facing the noise. This way they were able to create interlacing lines of fire.
In a few standard seconds, their new ARC trooper arrived. They quickly walked out of their hiding places to meet him.
“Where's the Jedi?” He asked.
“Up ahead on recon,” Tick replied.
“Bring him back here,” the ARC trooper continued.
“New orders?” Tick asked.
“Yes, you are to terminate the Jedi on sight.”
Everyone seemed to jump out of their armor.
“Terminate the Jedi?” Tick asked.
“Yes, new orders from the Chancellor's office.”
“How do we know the Seps haven't jammed our frequency and taken over comms?” Asked Burn.
“You been out in the field too long, commando,” the ARC trooper went on, “we're winning and the Seps are on the run. That big attack on Coruscant broke their backs.”
“So why are we killing Commander Ulo?” Burn asked.
“You don't question orders, commando, you follow them. This is a direct from the Chancellor himself. Call the Jedi back and get rid of him.”
“I think we need to confirm those orders!” Shuffle answered. “I'm not killing Commander Ulo or any Jedi for that matter.”
“You will follow orders, Commando, as you've been bred to do. Your loyalty is to the Republic!”
“Hold on,” Tick stopped him, “Shuffle is on target, we have to confirm those orders. We have been out in the field too long and don't know what's going on in the Republic. We can't just jump at every order coming from the Chancellor's office. Our orders came from the Jedi Council. Now we have to kill Jedi? It makes no sense.”
“So you're disobeying orders?”
“Until further notice,” Tick continued, “no matter what it takes, we have to confirm those orders. We are still fighting Seps out here. Taking out one of our own is not going to help.”
“The Jedi are not one of our own...” The Arc Trooper said coldly.
The familiar sound of a Super Battle droid wrist rocket followed by the sonic boom of that projectile filled the air. Instinctively all five clone troopers dove for cover. The rocket impacted where they stood a nanosecond earlier. As they found cover, they scanned for targets. Soon two super battle droids flanked by four droidekas were in their midst. They poured fire into their positions. The Clones had little to no cover. Any tree they hid behind was blasted away by the droidekas.
“Of all the griffin' luck!” Yelled Burn.

To be continued....

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Palpatine and Force Lightning



In the latest issue of Insider someone asked a question (I know we owe some of you some answers... they will come) about Palpatine and his force lightning. In Episode III while fighting Mace Windu, Palpatine is quickly fried while using a lightning attack. In Episode VI, he uses it on Luke Skywalker for a longer period of time. Not only does Skywalker survive. One notices that he hasn't any noticeable injuries. Why is that?

There are several explanations. When Palpatine fought against Master Windu, it was to the death. He was trying to kill Windu because Windu was trying to kill him. Master Windu is always a master of Vaapad; it is a level 7 lightsaber technique which he created. However it can also be used to redirect energy. In doing so, Mace Windu probably amplified the power of the force lightning. It also explains how he was able to kill Windu when Anakin cut off his hand.

In Episode VI, he was not trying to kill Luke Skywalker. He was trying to bring him to the dark side. He might have killed Skywalker if Vader did not kill him.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Photography of Cedric Delsaux





I picked up the latest issue of Star Wars Insider (#92) and they had a section on this french cat named Cedric Delsaux. He uses resin Star wars statues and places them throughout suburbs in France. Its a dope a concept.

here is a link to his site...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Star Wars Legacy of the Force: Tempest by Troy Denning





Review by Dan Tres Omi

Omi's Note: I apologize for our tardiness. I purchased the book when it was released and while in the middle of reading it, lost it. I refuse to repurchase the book since I originally bought three copies. We thank you for your patience.

Like the Yuuzhan Vong war series, having multiple authors presents several problems. There will be a few minor continuity errors but those can be overlooked. The main problem is that of character development. For example, in Bloodlines, we find Jacen Solo to be this uncaring military type. In Tempest however, he is the father who does all it takes for his daughter. In Betrayal, the reader can clearly see the parallels between Anakin Skywalker and Jacen Solo. Even though the similiarities are there, the reader is convinced that Jacen is doing things differently. In the subsequent books, it seems as if Vader was never Jacen's grandfather. While in the first two Legacy books, people like Admiral Nianthal and other notables have bigger roles, in Tempest they are rarely mentioned. Maybe those characters will be explored again when the previous authors write the next book in the story line. Yet many new characters were introduced who were very interesting.

Although I enjoy Allston's writing, I have to admit that he already fudged the storyline. Jacen Solo sends Lumiya to confront Luke and Mara Jade Skywalker. I found this confrontation to be a bit early. Luke already assumes that Lumiya is responsible for everything and has no clue about Jacen Solo's Sith training. He assumes that Jacen is leaning towards the dark side but has no understanding of how deep he is in it. Although this is a good idea, I felt that giving Luke more chase would have broaden the plot.

Finally, there is a coup attempt on Tenel Ka. I grew tired of all the political ramblings and plotting going on. This wasn't just a coup de 'tat in the palace, this was a full fledge civil war. Even the Republic was brought in to assist with the Corellians on the side of the coup leaders. Denning does a wonderful job of describing the capital ship battle in the Hapes Consortium. Denning balances this with three memorable lightsaber duels.

One problem that I have with the Star Wars Expanded Universe is the reluctance of the writers to leave some characters dead. Alema Rar returns virtually from the dead. One wonders how many near deaths one can survive. She is now terribly deformed and insane. She serves no purpose but to annoy the reader. She is dead, leave her alone. Unfortunately, she survives death twice in this book.

Another annoying problem is once again, Han Solo and Princess Leia escape a heavy bombardment from capital ships in the very old Millenium Falcon. Again, they lose power to shields and even have a hyperspace drive leak. Despite all of this, they manage to get away again. This time I thought the Falcon was cooked for sure. The irony is that Leia piloted the ship. I guess she is a good a pilot as Han Solo now. We do learn that now the Solo's are double agents. The only person who does not believe this however is Jacen when he learns that his parents were involved in the assassination attempt on Tenel Ka and their daughter.

The writers did something right when they re-introduced Aurra Sing to the story. I don't understand why Jacen Solo did not kill her as he would have in the previous book. If he would send his Sith master to kill his uncle, I don't understand why he would not kill someone who hated Jedi and tried to kill his daughter twice. I assume she will be returning in future stories. Despite its flaws, Tempest is a must read. The fight scenes and the space battle surely compensate for everything else.