Monday, February 25, 2008

Anakin and his padawan

(GL does it again)

I was not going to let the cat out of the bag, but someone in the comments page did. I wanted to really meditate on this for a second and then I wanted to peruse through all of my Clone Wars stuff to see if it fit. For those that don't know, in the new Clone Wars series coming in August of 2008, Anakin will be given a padawan.

Now the span between Episodes II and III is only 3 years. Dark Horse comics and Del Rey have done a good job at keeping everyone up to snuff on their timelines. There may have been a few weeks missing in the lives of Anakin and Obi Wan but throughout the Clone Wars, during Episode III, and after there is no mention of Anakin having a padawan. If memory serves me correctly, Anakin did not become a Jedi Master until shortly before the events in Episode III. So he did not have time to have a padawan since so much was going on.

It would make sense for him to have watched some padawan since many padawans were losing their masters during the Clone Wars but not as an apprentice. Of course GL was guilty of this before with the Qui Gon Jinn debacle but heads were able to let that slide. Then we had two alternate prequels in the second season of Clone Wars and the book Labyrinth of Evil. This one is going to be a doosy to explain.

Anyone care to try?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Darth Bane: The Rule of Two

by Drew Karpyshyn
Book Review by Dan Tres OMi

The story begins shortly after the finale of the Jedi-Sith battle on Ruusan. The Jedi win a Pyhrric victory as the Sith seemingly wipe themselves out while taking close to a hundred Jedi with them including the heroic yet stubborn General Hoth. One Jedi padawan however, Johun Othone, believes that there are a few Sith hiding in the shadows. Yet the Jedi, particularly General Farfalla, doubt that any Sith survived the inescapable thought bomb. The Jedi decide to turn their military power over the Republic through Chancellor Valorum (no not the one from Episode I).

Darth Bane and his new apprentice, Zannah, attempt to leave Ruusan but encounter problems through mercenaries. They quickly dispatch them and leave a few of them alive so that they can spread rumors of dark siders. Bane's plan works as he uses these seeds of deception to spread his Sith like tendrils throughout the galaxy. Ten years pass as Bane and Zannah continue to gain power, spread dissent, and continue to create a web of resources throughout the galaxy. Bane understands that his power needs to grow and that there is still much to learn. Zannah shows a tremendous amount of patience and she continues to follow Bane's orders.

Eventually Othone discovers Tomcat, one of Zannah's cousins who saw her after the demise of the Brotherhood of the Sith on Ruusan. He brings Tomcat to the Jedi temple to bring him before the Jedi Council. Zannah, on a mission to steal information from the temple, encounters Tomcat and kidnaps him. A chase ensues. The Jedi are again ready to deal with the Sith. Or are they?

The story moves slowly. At this point, we see the lightsaber action take a back seat as Bane and his apprentice begin their machinations towards the ruin of the Jedi. Through Bane's actions in both books, one can easily come away with the idea that Bane is stronger and more diabolical then Palpatine ever was. If anything, Bane set the standard for the rule of two. Bane continues to demonstrate the weakness of the previous Sith lords who maintained large armies of Sith masters and students. Bane's focus and determination is unparalleled as he tries to create a Sith holocron. He is truly a student of the dark side and wastes no effort in learning more. At times, the reader wonders if Zannah is worthy of being his apprentice yet she proves her loyalty over and over.

The arrogance of the Jedi is clearly evident. One can see the beginnings of their elitist approach to the galaxy. In Valorum's debate with Farfalla, we see the Jedi refuse to turn over their power. Quickly, they become enslaved to the Republic. Othone, even though he is a student of General Hoth, is a pragmatist. He sees the error in both decisions but realizes that the Jedi can maintain control forever. Othone feels the Jedi should pay a more prominent role in Galactic politics however. It seems as if each Jedi represents a different sentiment. Even the minor Jedi introduced in this book each represent a different facet of what he or she feels the Jedi should follow.

Through the Jedi's insolence, the Sith do escape and they are much stronger than ever. It would be interesting to see how this plays out since Lucas has cancelled the book on Darth Plagueis. For those who want to understand how the Sith work right up to Palpatine, this book is a must read. One will learn that in the Star Wars EU, the Sith after the death of Palpatine revert to the old ways of starting a brotherhood. Soon, our blog will begin to focus on those Sith lords when the time comes.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Make Mine Marvel?

Some of you comic book heads remember the days when Marvel comics reigned supreme before all the X Men movies. In the letter's section of any Marvel comic, several fans would end their letters with “make mine marvel.” Before they would write make mine marvel they would throw a punchline before that. It would go something like this:

“Until Wolverine cries, make mine marvel...”


“Until Dr. Strange smokes weed, make mine marvel...”

My brother from another mother Billie Wheelz and I still throw punch lines such as these all the time. Call it a geek moment but only the true Marvel heads (O.M.'s, right?) know about this. However Marvel has done some stuff that made me think twice about supporting them. To be honest, they fell off for about a decade. Yet when I was a die hard fan, they did some ill things. Check the method.

1.The marriage of the Vision and Scarlet Witch – I think Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were smoking some crack with this one (I am sure when Lee's biography comes out there will be several instances of drug binges in there). How the heck is a cyborg that walks through walls going to get with a mutant? I understand that Marvel has explained the children part through the Scarlet Witch's powers but sex? Come on man. That is borderline perv.

2.Luke Cage in his old threads – A yellow top and tight black pants? WTF, a pimp? In the late 90's, someone at Marvel decided this was wack and now has Luke Cage wearing regular street clothes. Whew! I know much if happened because of the stereotype folks had in the 70's but even Black Lightning in DC comics was played like that.

3.Modok – WTF? Then he came to rule over the Kree Empire? WTF? He was just too weird. Can't wait until the History of Marvel comics comes out. I am sure there will be plenty of Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston moments.

4.Storm – I never really got close to her character because she had white hair and blue eyes. This was NEVER explained. So a sister had to have some recessive trait in there to be considered a goddess. I will admit that the Storm graphic novel by Eric Jerome Dickey is dope on so many levels, I got it for T'Challa instead of Storm.

5.Wolverine – the reason why I was not big on Wolverine was because as tough as he claimed to be, he always manages to get his ass handed to him. He talks so much junk it's ridiculous. It actually gets on my nerves. If it wasn't for his healing factor, dude would have been tossed a long time ago.

6.Nick Fury – die mofo, die! Dude does not have the Super Soldier Serum like Captain America yet he has not aged a day since WWII. Okay they throw a little white on the edges. He has no super powers but still lives. Come on man, kill him off, please. BTW, did anyone see Michael Hasselhoff play Nick Fury? It is too funny. (the name is so dope though).

7.Oh about S.H.I.E.L.D. -- what's up with the tights? I really can't take a federal agency seriously if they are all wearing tights. I have grown to understand why comic book artists draw super heroes in tights, but federal agents?

8.Did anyone collect the Dazzler comic book? Let me catch someone who did so I can joke them. I can't picture the party now....

9.As much as I love Jack Kirby's and John Byrne's the Fantastic Four (remember when the Thing left and the She Hulk was a member?), I cannot stand the Silver Surfer. I just can't take a cat who flies around on a surf board seriously. Sorry dude. Another crack binge in the office.

Until Nick Fury lives another ten minutes, Make Mine Marvel.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Star Wars: Secrets of the Jedi

by Jude Watson

Review by Dan Tres Omi

Young Adult (YA) books have come along way. While attending education course at Old Dominion University (ODU) who used many YA books for the curriculum. I was amazed at how historically accurate many of these YA books were. Although they left much detail out, the stories were exciting. Star Wars YA books do the same. They stay close to the official canon and there is much continuity involved. Jude Watson has written several YA books for the Star Wars EU. If anything Jude Watson has filled in so many blanks when it comes to training in the Jedi temple. She started with the apprenticeship between Qui Gon Jin and Obi Wan Kenobi and continued through that of Obi Wan and Anakin Skywalker. I have to big up Billie Wheelz for consistently recommending the YA books. He has read all of them and is an avid supporter of YA books. My oldest son, X-man, has been reading them since he was eight years old and thoroughly enjoys them.

In Secrets of the Jedi, Watson tells a story about Obi Wan as a padawan under Qui Gon, and a love interest he had with Siri Tachi, a padawan under Adi Gallia. While helping a young child escape bounty hunters who worked for Passel Argente, the head of the Corporate Alliance. While helping the young Taly escape from the clutches of the bounty hunters and destroying the plot set up by Argente, Siri and Obi Wan discover their fierce love for one another. However, Qui Gon and Yoda convince Obi Wan of the dangers of acquiring attachments and leaving the Jedi Order.

Twenty years later, Obi Wan is Anakin's master while Siri refuses to take another padawan after Ferus Olin's decision to leave the order. They are assigned by the council to meet with Taly and convince him to give the Republic his super code breaker. What makes the mission even more complicated is that fact that Padme Amidala has asked to come along. Things take a turn for the worse when Taly makes impossible demands and Siri and Obi Wan relive their past feelings for one another.

The story makes a strong argument for the Jedi's approach to detachment. When Obi Wan asks Yoda if the council could change the rule, he is told that it will not happen. Qui Gon answers that one day it might when the times change. Of course, this happens with the order is destroyed and Luke Skywalker rebuilds it. Yet their reason is not because it must be but because they do not want Jedi to leave the order. As simple as the plot was, the story asked many questions. Those questions will hopefully be examined in future stories written by Watson and others.