Hey, what do you know, it’s a war involving the Sith!
Cover Art By: Steve Ellis, Hugh Fleming, & Mathieu Lauffray
Art By: Dario Carrasco, Jr.
Written By: Kevin J. Anderson
“I don’t plead with fools. You are puppets of tradition pretending to be important. The coming golden age has no place for you. Your Republic is an empty, self-indulgent diversion signifying nothing.” – Dark Lord of the Sith Ulic Qel-Droma
If Tales Of The Jedi: Dark Lords Of The Sith helped turn around the Tales Of The Jedi series, Tales Of The Jedi: The Sith War knocks the series back to the space it previously occupied. On just about every level Tales Of The Jedi: The Sith War is a regression in the series, and one giant disappointment. I wanted to like this entry in the series, I should have liked this entry in the series. However, shoddy writing, art, and characters hampered yet another comic book that takes place in an oh so interesting era.
Exar Kun is the largest problem with Tales Of The Jedi: The Sith War. Simply put, Kun is one of the least interesting Star Wars characters I’ve ever read, and the worst of the Sith I have read about so far. He’s a weakling, he has zero charisma, and I never believed for a second that he was a threat to anybody or anything. Tales Of The Jedi: The Sith War is Ulic Qel-Droma’s story, or at least it should be because he is a far more dynamic and interesting character than Kun. Sadly, Tales Of The Jedi: The Sith War spends far too much time with the ineffective and doltish Kun.
Even worse than Kun are the various side characters. The reason the side characters are worse is because most of them are insanely interesting as character ideas. But, for whatever reason Kevin J. Anderson makes them all stock characters with little to no depth. Or, in the case of the Mandalorians, characters who don’t belong in the book and feel wasted every second they are on the page. I wanted to know more about Crado, Oss Willum, and Zona Luka. I wanted them to be actual characters who had ideas beyond spouting off exactly what the main characters had previously said. Alas, Mr. Anderson didn’t see fit to imbue any of the side characters with any meat or greater purpose beyond filling up space on a page.
The art and the story combine in Tales Of The Jedi: The Sith War to make for one confusing, and inconsistent read. Two great examples are the battle between Mandalore the Indomitable and Ulic Qel-Droma, and the battle between Zona Luka and Dominus. The battle between Mandalore and Ulic is almost impossible to follow, and the art never matches the narration boxes. There’s one moment where the art simply shows Ulic looking at Mandalore, and the narration box says something like, “And Mandalore never expected such a quick blow.” The following art panel doesn’t support that narrative box either, and that entire battle left me shaking my head. In the case of Luka versus Dominus, the battle is much easier to follow and actually delivers some decent action. However, the battle ends too quickly, and the final result is one giant misstep in storytelling. When Dominus is struck down he utters his final words to Luka, who at that point has come under no harm. Move forward to the next panel and Luka is discovered dead right alongside Dominus. How the heck did that happen, and why is Tales Of The Jedi: The Sith War so willing to have such a scattershot narrative?
If not for the comic focusing so much on Ulic Qel-Droma I would have absolutely hated Tales Of The Jedi: The Sith War. Luckily the Ulic storyline is very interesting and unlike all other elements within the book pays off as a classical story. But, Ulic’s story can’t save the inconsistent art, the lack of storytelling involving all the other characters, and the inability of the art and story to match one another on numerous occasions. Tales Of The Jedi: The Sith War is disappointing and it leaves me wondering whether Tales Of The Jedi can recover from such a regression.