Thursday, January 25, 2018

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars: Jedi Academy - Leviathan

"Luke... the Force runs strong in your family.  Pass on what you have learned.  Luke... there is... another Sk... ky... walker..." - Yoda's dying words.

In The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, we learn Luke Skywalker was passing on what he had learned, at least until Luke's fateful confrontation with one of his Jedi apprentices, the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia, Ben Solo.  The confrontation led to Ben, now Kylo Ren, destroying Luke's Jedi temple and killing many of the other students.  Before a future generation of Jedi was hinted at in the new movies, the Expanded Universe had gone their first.

Published in March 1994, Jedi Search is the first of three novel about the Jedi Academy written by Kevin Anderson.  The second novel, Dark Apprentice, was published in July 1994 and the final novel, Champions of the Force, was published in September 1994.  The following year, Kevin Anderson and his wife Rebecca Moesta would continue writing about the Jedi Academy in a series of fourteen books under the Young Jedi Knights title.  The first 3 books in the Jedi Academy Trilogy focused on the foundation of the Jedi Academy on Yavin 4 by Luke Skywalker, while the Young Jedi Knights series follows the adventures of Han Solo and Princess Leia's twin children, Jacen and Jaina Solo, while attending the established Jedi Academy.  After writing the final novel in the Young Jedi Knights series, Kevin Anderson wrote the 4-part mini-series, Jedi Academy - Leviathan, which stars five of the original students from the Jedi Academy Trilogy.

The five students featured in the mini-series are Kyp Durron, Streen, Kirana Ti, Tionne, and Dorsk 81's clone Dorsk 82.  (Technically, Dorsk 81 was in the Jedi Academy Trilogy and Dorsk 82 is a different character.)  Of the five characters, Kyp Durron has been the most popular and most used, so it is not surprising he takes center stage in this series.  The series sees four of the Jedi Knights travel to the planet Corbos to confront a Leviathan that killed all the inhabitants of a mining colony.  The first Leviathan is defeated in issue #3 only for a larger Leviathan to attack the Jedi Knights in issue #4.  Ultimately this larger Leviathan is defeated.

The cover for Jedi Academy - Leviathan #1 shows the four Jedi Knights who travel to the planet Corbos.  Front and center is Kyp Durron, while to his right is Streen.  Crouched at Kyp's left is Kirana Ti and behind her is Dorsk 82.

Star Wars: Jedi Academy - Leviathan #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (October 1998)
The second cover shows Kyp Durron being attacked by the Leviathan.

Star Wars: Jedi Academy - Leviathan #2a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (November 1998)
Kyp Durron is freeing the souls of the miners from the defeated Leviathan on the third cover.

Star Wars: Jedi Academy - Leviathan #3a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (December 1998)
The final cover has all four Jedi Knights in action against the larger Leviathan.

Star Wars: Jedi Academy - Leviathan #4a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (January 1999)
Star Wars: Jedi Academy - Leviathan #1 was the top selling Star Wars comic in October 1998 with an estimated 30,000+ initial units sold.  When the series ended in January 1999, it was the lowest selling Star Wars comic for the month with just under 27,000 initial units sold.  Despite being the lowest selling Star Wars title, it still was a top 100 comic for the month.  It isn't clear why Dark Horse never published any more Jedi Academy stories, since the concept seems like it would be a great source for stories.  Unfortunately, Kevin Anderson, who also wrote several Tales of the Jedi mini-series, never wrote another Star Wars story for Dark Horse after Jedi Academy - Leviathan.

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