Saturday, March 15, 2014

Star Wars: Legacy, Book 2

 The expanded universe saga rolls on, in STAR WARS: LEGACY, BOOK 2....

 Much the same as we used to be able to tell if a STAR TREK film was going to be good (The even-numbered films...), I can tell whether I'm going to enjoy a particular STAR WARS: LEGACY arc by the credit box: If Jan Duursema is listed in the credits (As plotter and artist), the story will feature Cade Skywalker, and advance the main storyline, and I'll probably enjoy it very much. If writer John Ostrander is flying solo, with a different artist taking the reins, it's gonna be a chore to slog through.

 No offense to Ostrander, who I consider to be one of my all-time favorite comic-book writers...He is telling a massive story here, and introducing characters and concepts and plots left and right. For the most part, he does a great job, and even if it's one of the "off" chapters, more often than not I'll find myself enjoying it by the time it ends. My problem, however, lies with the large chunks of time he spends away from Cade Skywalker and the main plot of the series. (This could be a by-product of the odd way that Dark Horse is collecting the series...this volume features STAR WARS: LEGACY #'s 20-36, and #41....Because Dark Horse rarely features covers in their collected editions, and because the covers they DO show don't say what issue they're from, I have no idea if these stories are being presented chronologically, or if the non-Cade issues are being clustered together...and I have no idea why #41 is in this book, and not the next.) The non-Cade issues show the bigger picture of the war being waged by/against The Sith and their Empire, and, aside from a few bits here and there, they really didn't hold my interest. There's such an overload of characters and double-crosses and betrayals and plots that I found myself just zoning out.

 When Cade is onscreen, and the main plot is being advanced, the book just hums along like a well-oiled astromech droid. (This could also be a personal reaction to Jan Duursema's art, which I think is just phenomenal.) Cade is trying to walk the straight-and-narrow (Kind of...), but he's still a huge asshole. Even so, he's starting to grow on me. This volume finds Cade and his allies taking the fight to Darth Krayt, in the hope that Krayt's death will fracture The Sith, and cause The Empire to self-destruct.

 I was looking forward to seeing how Dark Horse addressed the VECTOR crossover, which is contained in this volume. (VECTOR was the first STAR WARS multi-book crossover, with a story that spanned time , beginning with the early days of The Jedi Knights, jumping forward to the Darth Vader era, and concluding in LEGACY.) The short answer is, they don't address it at all. I was hoping for a text page, or a recap of some kind, but there's nothing...you're just kind of dumped into the last third of VECTOR with no warning of any kind. The good news is that Ostrander is such a pro that his in-story flashbacks and text blocks are enough to get readers acclimated. I've already read VECTOR in full, years ago, but I think that the way Ostrander wrote his third of the crossover should be enough to give most readers a very full picture of what had gone before. VECTOR ends with one hell of an unexpected bang...I was shocked when I first read it, even without the benefit of being a regular LEGACY reader. In the full context of the series, it's even more jarring and status-quo shaking.

 So, 2/3rd's of the way through the complete series, STAR WARS: LEGACY is a good, but not great, read. Hardcore STAR WARS fans will probably get more mileage out of it than I did, but there's still more than enough here to earn STAR WARS: LEGACY, BOOK 2 a recommendation.