Annihilation (Star Wars Legends)
Blood of the Empire (The Old Republic Vol 1)
I'll start with the usual "I haven't played any of the games" disclaimer. I found this to be a pretty decent if unremarkable tale that offered no real surprises, because it features Sith being...well, Sith. Teneb Kel is the standard copy-and-paste Sith. I was happy to see him succeed, however.
Threat of Peace (The Old Republic Vol 2)
What a mess! Disjointed to the point of being confusing... never lingering long enough in one place for me to connect to any of the characters (or give a damn about them)... I really wish I could claw back the time I lost while reading this TPB and it wasn't even that long!
Also, why the heck did the artist literally draw the Sydney Harbour Bridge into the background of one panel? It was horribly jarring.
The Lost Suns (The Old Republic Vol 3)
This is the first TPB of the series that actually gave me a real sense of the setting used in the video games - and the first competently executed story (the previous TPBs...yikes). I became quite fond of Theron Shan and his companions while reading these pages. I'm not sad that I finished a lacklustre series, but at least it ended on a strong note.
Commencement (KOTOR Vol 1)
One of my favourite comic book series of all time - and my love for it has never waned. This is a fantastic start. A fantastic volume. The pacing is perfection, the emotional stakes are present from very early on, the hero is immediately likeable and you just want to slay the Masters who put him in this terrible position. Gryph and Zayne play off each other so well - and I totally shouldn't like Gryph, but I do.
Days of Fear, Nights of Anger (KOTOR Vol 3)
Another very strong TPB. Zayne and Gryph are still my faves (and always will be) and I have no complaints about their side of things. However, much as I liked finding more about the mysterious Camper and those who were looking for him, I found this portion much weaker and the momentum of previous stories all but disappeared. But I will give it the benefit of the doubt until I crack open the next TPB.
Daze of Hate, Knights of Suffering
(KOTOR Vol 4)
Now that we're past the space slug story, the series returns to his previous excellence. Zayne returns home to Taris, a long-awaited moment, and Raana meets her (very satisfying) end. I couldn't love this TPB any more if I tried. Let's see if the Vector crossover causes the series to have another dip in quality, as already seen in volume 3.
Vector Vol 1/KOTOR Vol 5/Dark Times Vol 3
Storywise, this does not disappoint. Or rather, it exceeds expectations - because crossovers are generally cringey and place profit over quality (heck, they even admit to the blatant cash grab in a brief editorial at the start of the TPB). But Vector, so far, is engaging and does great things with the characters. But...artwise, I was very disappointed while reading Knights of the Old Republic segment. Terrible choice of artistic style. It does not gel with the series or the general tone of Star Wars comics. So I've deducted a star for that.
Vector Vol 2/Rebellion Vol 4/Legacy Vol 6
Wow. What a significant upgrade from the first half of the tale (and I actually liked that half!). The art is as awesome as the storyline and the conclusion in the Legacy era is everything a fan could want. I haven't read the Rebellion comics in a long time, but I do remember being slightly miffed that Able's death was so unworthy of him. It is a very minor quibble. Some crossovers really are as epic as they seem.
Vindication (KOTOR Vol 6)
I had to sit on my thoughts about this for a minute, because most of them contained expletives (in a good way!). Because this TPB really was amazing. Zayne has gone through so much and the conclusion to this particular arc was incredibly satisfying - and it was easily some of the best content the EU had to offer. Zayne is my favourite character from the ancient past of the Republic. No contest.
Duelling Ambitions (KOTOR Vol 7)
Given how mind-blowingly brilliant Zayne's exoneration arc was, I admit to feeling a little trepidatious about what was coming next. Obviously, this new phase of the KOTOR comics will never be as brilliant as what came before it, but so far it seems it will be enjoyable in its own right. This is largely due to how likeable the characters are.
Destroyer (KOTOR Vol 8)
This TPB is quite good, though it is let down somewhat by an ending that I felt was out of character for Zayne. This darker storyline - strange to think the series could get darker after the original arc! - is engaging, so I am looking forward to reading more of it. I think it will be worth it. Either way, I can cross off more titles in my epic EU re-read.
Demon (KOTOR Vol 9)
There is always some concern when you pick up a TPB that is noticeably shorter than the rest. That concern proved to be something of a premonition. This is a very rushed ending to an arc that would have benefited from more pages, more care and more... just more. But I still enjoyed this adventure, largely due to my ship finally paying off! Zayne/Jarael 4eva.
Force War (Dawn of the Jedi Vol 3)
Whoa, what happened here? The series wasn't great but it wasn't terrible - until suddenly we hit the third TPB. What a mess! In fact, this is so messy it almost reached the point of being unreadable. I really liked the Xesh/Shae stuff, but they were a tiny eye in the middle of a craptastic storm. This arc feels horribly rushed.
Tales of the Jedi (Vol 1)
This collection is nothing short of epic. Naga Sadow, Nomi Sunrider and Ulic Qel-Droma all appear in these pages, characters that were like real legends to me as a child - especially since I was not able to get my hands on the comics until adulthood. Myths threading their way through the prose books until I finally found the source. The Tales of the Jedi comics were - still are - so iconic. They will always represent the Republic's ancient history to me, even now in the Disney era.
Tales of the Jedi (Vol 2)
Reaching the end of the Tales of the Jedi run is like saying goodbye to old, cherished friends. I wouldn't say it doesn't have it flaws (particularly in this second collection), but the stories therein truly deserve the label of "saga". I could definitely have kept reading - if there had been more to read. Unmissable, formative, outstanding, and a treasured relic of the 1990s.
Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories
I remember being rather disinterested with this book the first time I read it, but perhaps those memories were tainted with how tired I was with the EU in general by that point. But on my second reading of it, many years later, I really enjoyed myself. John Jackson Miller made the Lost Tribe far more fascinating than they appeared to be in the Fate of the Jedi books. The novella is the weakest story of the bunch. I'd have appreciated more stories in and after that timeframe...but all in all? A great collection.
Alyce Caswell, when she isn't buried in a book or drinking her way through a giant pot of tea, is a keen writer of science fiction and romance. She has published two novels and four novellas in her space opera family saga, The Galactic Pantheon Series.
Comedy Of Manners
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The Epic EU Read Through