Saturday, October 31, 2015

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars: Dark Times #5

Star Wars had a Halloween themed comic, Star Wars Halloween Special, published in October 2009 which I already highlighted in an earlier blog.  It was a decent enough story, but it was not the only horror themed Star Wars comic.

Star Wars: The Dark Times is a series published by Dark Horse that launched out of Star Wars: Republic.  It follows the exploits of the human Jedi Master Dass Jennir, the Nosaurian Separatist Bomo Greenbark, and the crew of the smuggling ship, the Uhumele, during the era following Order 66.  The title of the series is taken from Obi-Wan Kenobi's speech to Luke Skywalker from the original movie: "For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic.  Before the dark times... before the Empire."  The series lived up to it's title as our heroes encounter one grim event after another.

The first arc in Star Wars: The Dark Times is called The Path to Nowhere and is told in the first five issues of the title.  The first issue starts with an Imperial attack on the planet New Plympto.  Bomo's wife, Mesa, and daughter, Resa, are evacuated along with other Nosaurians on a ground transport to a nearby spaceport in the hopes of reaching Sullust.  Bomo and other Nosaurians led by Jennir stay behind to hold off the Imperial forces and buy time for the evacuees.  The Imperials eventually rout the Nosaurians and Bomo and Jennir retreat to the spaceport.  There, they meet up with the crew of the Uhumele and learn Bobo's wife, daughter, and other Nosaurians were captured by the Imperials who planned on selling them to slavers.  In the second issue, Jennir and Bomo help the crew of the Uhumele escape the spaceport on New Plympto which the Imperials have on lockdown.  In the third issue, the Uhumele reach the planet Orvax IV where the slavers have taken the Nosaurian slaves.  Bomo learns that his wife Mesa was killed trying to prevent the slavers from taking Resa.  In the fourth issue, Jennir, using decidedly un-Jedi like techniques, learns who Resa was sold to and where she was taken.

For as dark as this story has been up to this point, writer and editor Randy Stradley (using the psuedonyms Mick Harrison and Welles Hartley) went even darker in Star Wars: The Dark Times #5.  In this final issue of the first arc we see Dass Jennir, Bomo Greenbark, and the crew of the Uhumele confront the buyer, Dezono Qua, on his home world Esseles.  Qua is a human noble who has purchased other young species from the slavers in the past.  In a gut-wrenching moment, we learn that Dezono Qua buys the younglings for food and Resa had already been killed, cooked, and eaten by Qua.  Upon hearing this, Jennir guns down Qua which sets up an ongoing conflict between Jennir and Bomo, who felt it was he who should have taken care of Qua.

Star Wars: Dark Times #5a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (October 2007)
This was a powerful ending to the first arc in the Star Wars: The Dark Times title.  Instead of a happy ending to the first story, the repulsive action by Dezona Qua is one of the most horrific events ever encountered in a Star Wars story.  Dark times indeed.

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