Suicide by Star Wars Apocrypha: Les Jedi Misérables

(Suicide by Star Wars Apocrypha is a foolish attempt to examine the entirety of the now decanonized Star Wars Expanded Universe and quantify its assorted artistic merits. Read the introduction. Check out the archives.)

Exalted

sw25.1

Author: John Jackson Miller

Artist: Bong Dazo

Medium: Comic

Publication Date: May – June 2008

  • Collected April 2009 in Knights of the Old Republic Volume Six: Vindication
  • Reprinted December 2013 in Star Wars Omnibus: Knights of the Old Republic Volume 2

Timeline Placement: 3,963 BBY

Series: Knights of the Old Republic #29-30

Zayne and the crew of the Moomo Williwaw arrive on the planet Odryn, adopted homeworld of the Feeorin, species of Feln, member of the Jedi Covenant, perpetrators of the Padawan Massacre of Taris. Donning whiteface and a crop top, Jarael impersonates a Celeste Morne cosplayer so the Feeorins will allow her into the Sanctum of the Exalted, their people’s holiest shrine, where they believe the spirits of their ancestors go to create the seasons. The Exalted is the title of the Feeorins’ king, the oldest and strongest member of their race. The current Exalted is Feln himself, which is how he’s been able to turn the Sanctum into a repository for the Sith artifacts collected by the Covenant’s agents.

Jarael kicks one of the Feeorins in the balls, because that’s always fun, then has the Moomo brothers carry a large suitcase up to the Sanctum for her. Once they’re safe from prying alien eyes, then open the suitcase to reveal that they’ve smuggled in Zayne and Gryph in their laundry hamper. Jarael recaps what she was up to during her absence from the previous comic, cattily remarking that Shel, Zayne’s other prospective love interest, seems “nice.”

No one cares about that, though, so Zayne uses the key Celeste gave him to open the doors of the Sanctum, revealing the warehouse from the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Thousands of Sith weapons, totems, and trinkets fill the room, encased in Gloopstik to preserve their collectors value. Jarael and the Moomos are like, “Well, seeya later,” and leave Zayne and Gryph behind to exhaustively catalog the Covenants’ collection with their Google Glass.

A day and a half later, they realize that they somehow didn’t notice that there’s a guy right in the next room doing science: “—to the attention of Haazen, on behalf of our Lady Krynda, the results from Session Nine-Four-Slash-Seven—testing of the Helm of Dathka Grausch [sic]. While no pernicious effects are observed when encased in grade three nullification resin—when released, the specimen projects D-class emanations through the Force, amplifying the wearer’s abilities on scales six and eight. Holocrons suggest the Helm strengthening the Sword of Ieldis, now quarantined by the Jedi Order on Coruscant. Ambient effects include atmospheric disturbances within radius of six kilometers of Site Odryn—” What a nerd!

Zayne decides they have enough evidence to expose the Covenant to the Jedi Council and they sneak out of the Sanctum, only to be immediately apprehended by a group of Feeorins. They are led by Borjak, the Feeorin elder who confronted Jarael earlier. His testicle retrieval operation has gone quite well, and now he wants answers. Why has Feln opened the Sanctum to outsiders when even the Feeorins themselves are not allowed to enter it? Zayne suggests that they team up to bring Feln to justice, but then the only cool panel in the story happens, because this art sucks.

sw25.2

Zayne and Gryph are taken prisoner—again—while Feln videoconferences with Lucien Draay. Lucien decides that Zayne must have killed Celeste, stolen her key, and been consumed by the evil of the Muur Talisman. He orders Feln to kill Zayne and, if necessary, destroy the Sanctum and all the evidence of their crimes therein. Borjak overhears this and is horrorstruck.

Then Haazen, whom you may remember from forever ago, hacks into the call and tells Feln that under no circumstances should he destroy that temple; their collection of Sith memorabilia is valued at over $40,000 in Beckett’s price guide. Tired of talking shop, Feln goes outside to bisect Zayne, but Borjak Horseman interjects that the Rime of the Ancient Feeorin prohibits the use of weapons against anyone who’s entered the Sanctum of the Exalted. Feln resigns himself to beating Zayne to death instead, but Zayne pulls his tentacle beard and runs away.

“What does your Rime Feeorin say about fighting dirty and running away?” asks Gryph.

“Nothing,” says Borjak.

Zayne leads Feln on a merry chase throughout the village, where Feln is confronted with the social and cultural decay his people have suffered as a result of the nearby repository of soul cancer. He finally catches Zayne and is about to step on him to death when he gets a call that the Moomo Williwaw is on its way back. Thinking they’ve come to raid the Sanctum, he bellows, “Not on my watch, do you hear me? Not on my watch!” and triggers the detonator.

The Sanctum of the Exalted explodes, but the evil artifacts inside it amplify the destruction, taking out most of the village. Horrified by what he’s done, Feln reaches for his lightsaber to revenge himself against Zayne, only to find that Gryph has lifted it off his spacehorse and replaced it with a small stick. Then Borjak and the other Feeorins gang up on him and stab him to death with knives.

Later that evening, Zayne and Gryph are lamenting the loss of their evidence against the Covenant, but Jarael reveals that Del and Dob Moomo hid several Sith artifacts in their hamper when they were in the Sanctum, so Zayne’s plan to bring legal action against a secret cabal operating inside an unaffiliated order of religious mystics is still on, I guess.

On Coruscant, Lucien, newly appointed to the Jedi Council, meets with Xamar and Q’Anilia to discuss the comic’s dwindling number of bad guys. Q’Anilia breaks down crying over how she wants to talk to Lucien’s mother and Xamar throws it in his face how stupid the whole let’s-murder-our-Padawans plan was from the beginning, so Lucien bitch slaps them both to the floor and informs them that he’s recruited Admiral Saul Karath to stop Zayne from landing on Coruscant. He appoints Xamar the Covenant’s liaison to the Republic Navy, which makes Xamar sad because in their apocalyptic vision he was killed by friendly fire while wearing a naval uniform. Q’Anilia pleads with him not to run towards his fate, but Xamar wonders if there is another way to go.

This story is definitely better than the last one, because it feels like an organic part of the series and not a tangent plotline forced in by editorial mandate. I wish the individual members of the Jedi Covenant had gotten more development before now, because aside from Lucien and maybe Raana Tey we hardly knew anything about them for most of this arc and now they’re starting to drop like flies. Feln’s comeuppance is a fitting one and narratively satisfying, but I imagine that it would have been even more so if we’d known anything at all about him as a character prior to the start of this chapter.

More interesting is the sudden development of Xamar. It started in Vector, with him passive-aggressively bitching out Lucien for prioritizing the murder of children over hunting for dangerous Sith artifacts, and ramps up in the final pages of this story with him questioning his whole part in this conspiracy. Xamar is reaching, but he falls, and the night is closing in as he stares into the void, to the whirlpool of his sin. He’ll escape now from that world, from the world of Xamar. Xamar is nothing now; another story must begin!

He’s still going to die, though.

3.5/5 Death Stars.