Comic Review: Star Wars - Dawn of the Jedi Volume 1 - Force Storm / Writer: John Ostrander / Art: Jan Duursema / Publisher: Dark Horse / Format: Paperback / Release Date: December 21st
One of the things that has allowed the Star Wars franchise to endure far beyond the scope of the various Hollywood blockbusters is the franchise’s willingness to tell tales that are not only far far away, but also long ago. Dawn of the Jedi, for example, is set 25,000 years before Star Wars: A New Hope, and though things are much different, the essential elements are still there; we have mystic sword carrying warriors, huge spaceships, cute princesses and people shooting lightning from their finger tips; the usual.
The book begins like all good Star Wars tales, with an extensive back story. Despite this being the first in the series, we’re brought up to speed with the origins of a mystic order called the Je’daii, brought together by seemingly cosmic beings to find the balance of The Force. Enter the sinister Rakata, a race of slavers, whose culture (and attitude to The Force) is utterly at odds with the relatively peaceful Je’daii. Wackiness ensues when one culture meets the other, and though Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi Volume 1 – Force Storm is clearly the first part in a very long story, it’s hard to shake the feeling that we’ve been here before in other spin-off material. The characters seem to have very predictable and prescribed paths, and the artwork fails to convey any true sense of wonder. Both the art and story are almost workmanlike; this is more of the same, rather than breaking new ground in a well loved franchise.
There are some nice touches, Tatooine is a lush and verdant world, lightsabres have yet to be invented and so on, but as origin stories go, the most interesting stuff happens in the summary of the world at the start. There is no promise of new insights into the setting here, and that’s a wasted opportunity. Those looking for more of the same will be delighted, those looking for something new should look elsewhere.