Friday, January 15, 2016

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars: Vector

Modern zombies and the myriad of zombie-like creatures that are popular in fiction today can all trace their origins back to George A. Romero's 1968 Night of the Living Dead.  That movie introduces the idea of a pack of slow moving, undead creatures that can swell their ranks with a simple bite.  Derivatives of these early modern zombies have popped up in video games like Resident Evil, where the source of infection is a virus which can be transmitted through a bite, scratch, or even by ingesting contaminated water.  The 2002 movie 28 Days Later takes this idea a step further where a Rage Virus creates a horde of fast moving, mindless, zombie-like creatures.  The creatures in this movie are not dead however, whereas in the 2013 World War Z movie, a bite from a zombie can cause a person to die and be reborn in less than 15 seconds.  In addition, these undead are fast moving like "the infected" from 28 Days Later and unlike the zombies in the book on which the movie is based.  The popular video game series Halo has it's own version of zombie-like creatures in the form of The Flood.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #25a (January 2008)
Vector part 1
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #26a (March 2008)
Vector part 2
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #27a (April 2008)
Vector part 3
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #28a (May 2008)
Vector part 4
Comic book publishers, always eager to participate in popular trends, have helped propagate the popularity of zombie fiction.  Marvel published the black and white magazine Tales of the Zombie to go along with their other monster heroes of the 1970s.  Independent publishers kicked off the current zombie trend in comics however, when the popularity of zombies began surging in the late 1990s.  This culminated in Robert Kirkman's 2002 The Walking Dead comic book which has slowly grown readership and has been adapted to a hit television series.  The television series has helped drive even more readers to The Walking Dead comic, making it one of the best selling ongoing titles published today.  This in turn has led to even more zombie comics being published by Independent publishers.  In 2005, Marvel Zombies, a 5-issue mini-series, was published by Marvel Comics and proved to be extremely popular, blending zombie horror with superheroes.  Not to be left out, DC Comics' imprint Vertigo published I, Zombie in 2010, starring a female zombie lead with a tone and supporting cast of characters not unlike that of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I, Zombie has even spawned a television series of its own.

Star Wars: Dark Times #11a (May 2008)
Vector part 5
Star Wars: Dark Times #12a (June 2008)
Vector part 6
Like most long lived Science Fiction series, Star Wars has tackled zombie fiction.  Bantam Spectra published Galaxy of Fear: City of the Dead which features zombies.  Zombies are also present in the Del Rey book Death Troopers and we see zombies created by the Nightsisters in The Clone Wars (2008) animated series.

Another zombie-like creature in the Star Wars Expanded Universe is the Rakghoul.  Rakghouls are a Dark Side creation of the Sith Lord Karness Muur who engineered a talisman for this endeavor.  Rakghouls, while not zombies in the traditional sense, exhibit some of the same characteristics of a modern zombie; they tend to gather in packs and spread the Rakghoul plague by biting or scratching.  Unlike zombies, Rakghouls can also be created using the talisman, which also gives the wielder the ability to control the mutant horde.  A side effect of the Muur Talisman however is the owner is haunted by the constant presence of the spirit of Karness Muur.  The Jedi Master Celeste Morne was tasked with finding this Sith artifact for the Jedi and fell under it's spell.
Star Wars: Rebellion #15a (July 2008)
Vector part 7
Star Wars: Rebellion #16a (August 2008)
Vector part 8

The story of Karness Muur, Rakghouls, and Celeste Morne are chronicled in the Dark Horse event called Star Wars: Vector.  This 12-part story ran through all four ongoing Dark Horse Star Wars titles in 2008.  This story spans over 4000 years, taking Celeste Morne and the spirit infested Muur Talisman from the Knights of the Old Republic era to the Dark Times era to the Rebellion era and finally to the Legacy era.

Star Wars: Legacy #28a (September 2008)
Vector part 9
Star Wars: Legacy #29a (October 2008)
Vector part 10
Star Wars: Legacy #30a (November 2008)
Vector part 11
Star Wars: Legacy #31a (December 2008)
Vector part 12

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