Suicide by Star Wars Apocrypha: A New Day, a New Enemy!

Faithful Execution

sw28.2

Author: John Jackson Miller

Artist: Dean Zachary

Medium: Comic

Publication Date: February 2009

Timeline Placement: 3,963 BBY

Series: Knights of the Old Republic #38

This comic continues the trend started in its predecessor of being a standalone adventure disconnected from any overarching mega-plot. Unlike the previous story, however, it’s not a complete waste of time.

Aboard their new ship, the Hot Prospect, Zayne & Pals discover the lost pleasure cruiser Chancellor Fillorean adrift in a stellar nursery. Zayne, Jarael, Rohlan, and Slyssk board the vessel to find that its gravity has failed and all of its passengers and crew are floating corpses. The sole survivors are a dimunitive Bimm passenger (not to be confused with the equally diminutive but otherwise completely unrelated Bimm species) and his assistant droid, K-OB7 (or “Kayo”). Toki explains that he was hiding in his room the whole time and doesn’t know what happened to the crew.

sw28.3

Awwwwww!

[Continuity Note: Both species of Bimms originate from the planet Bimmisaari. The Bimms were introduced by EU godfather Timothy Zahn in the first book of the modern EU, Heir to the Empire (1991). Illustrations and descriptions in West End Games’ Heir to the Empire Sourcebook (1993) identified them as basically a somewhat hairy species of human midgets. A background extra in the Mos Eisley cantina, played by little person actor Marcus Powell, was retroactively identified as a Bimm in the Star Wars Customizable Card Game’s Premiere set (1995). The same year, however, saw the release of Dark Horse’s comic adaptation of Heir to the Empire, which depicted the Bimms as goat-faced, floppy-eared aliens. Although this series’ depiction of the Noghri was wildly divergent as well, the Bimm discrepancy was later singled out for resolution in The Essential Guide to Planets and Moons (1998), which explained that there were two different species of Bimms who hailed from the same planet.

[The “identical but different” retcon is not at all uncommon in the EU. See also: Byss and ByssMrisst and MrlsstThrekin Horm and Hrekin ThormChu’unthor and Chu’unthor, Mace Windu and Macemillian-winduarté.]

Once the crew of the Hot Prospect gets gravity restored aboard the Chancellor Fillorean, Rohlan performs autopsies on the yacht’s passengers and discovers that everyone died not of asphyxiation, but of strangulation. As Zayne tries to figure out how this is possible, they hear a clamor coming from the kitchen and rush in to find Slyssk lying on the floor with his throat crushed. Rohlan performs an emergency battlefield tracheotomy, which I didn’t realize could cure being strangled but who knows, and the adorable comic relief sidekick doesn’t die a horrible ugly death on a ghost ship.

Toki comes in to see what happened and wonders if his droid could have been responsible. Zayne and Rohlan run off to find Kayo, leaving Jarael to protect Toki. Toki is like ( ͡º ͜ʖ ͡º).

Kayo is talking to a disconsolate Elbee, who is Zayne’s clinically depressed labor droid because I’m sure you’ve forgotten by now, and has somehow managed to motivate him out of his funk and gotten him to help carry heavy crap around. Zayne runs in and cuts off Kayo’s hands with his lightsaber, vowing the evildoer will strangle no more innocents today. Elbee punches Zayne in the face with a fist roughly the size of Zayne’s torso. Don’t worry, though, he just has to walk it off for a bit and he’s fine. The Force or something.

Kayo confesses everything. His sole purpose in life is to help and protect his master above all else, but everywhere they go, people keep turning up strangled. Kayo doesn’t understand how Toki could be responsible, since he’s such a little dude, but he dutifully disposed of the bodies to keep his master safe. That is, until everyone on the Chancellor Fillorean was killed, including the only people on board who actually knew how to pilot it. Realizing what fools they’ve been, Zayne and Rohlan rush back to find Toki levitating Jarael and choking the shit out of her with the Force.

Zayne shoots Toki directly in the face, but Toki’s like, “If you want to stop me, you’re going to have to shoot to kill!” Um, so what is his weak spot, exactly? Toki pulls out a red lightsaber, revealing that he was once a Sith assassin in the service of Exar Kun, but after the war was over he couldn’t make himself stop killing. He out-duels Zayne, because Zayne sucks, and is about to deliver the killing blow when he’s stopped by Kayo.

With his handless arms, Kayo seizes Toki in a bearhug, declaring that his master will never be safe as long as he keeps killing, so Kayo will protect him even from himself. But Toki vows to kill all of them, “especially the woman,” because in addition to being a serial killer he’s apparently also a misogynist, which is even worse. Rohlan’s like:

sw28.4

sw28.5

Zayne tells Rohlan that he didn’t have to murder both Toki and Kayo in cold blood (because Zayne had such a great handle on the situation) and Rohlan tells him that if Zayne can’t help protect Jarael he’s of no use to him. Everyone gets back on the Hot Prospect and Elbee goes back to sitting by himself in the cargo hold and not talking to anyone. Zayne tells him that things are getting too intense for him. Rohlan’s acting wildly out of character, Slyssk has lost all confidence in himself, Jarael can suddenly use the Force and Toki seemed to recognize her from somewhere, and Zayne himself has a secret he can’t tell anyone. Elbee says nothing. Zayne’s like, “Thanks for listening, buddy,” and goes back upstairs.

Unlike Prophet Motive, this little comic is actually pretty decent and worth reading. It has a cool mystery plot in a creepy setting, with a moody atmosphere amplified by Dean Zachary’s dark, heavy pencil work. I would have really loved to see this plot stretched out a little longer. Completely ditch the pointless syndicate con game from the last comic and play out this murder mystery for the full three issues with Zachary’s illustrations. More spooky explorations on the dead ship would have provided ample opportunity to fit in the only relevant thing that happened in Prophet Motive, Jarael realizing she had the Force. You could add a few more surviving passengers and play up the Agatha Christie Murder on the Chancellor Fillorean angle. It would have been awesome.

What we got instead was still pretty good, though. Toki Tollivar was actually first mentioned in The Adjudicator Special Report: The Outer Rim, a news periodical bonus feature in the second issue of Days of Fear, as “Kelven Garnatrope, the Corellian Strangler.” Anyone reading this story in Dark Horse’s trade paperback or Omnibus editions, however, wouldn’t know that, as for some reason they omitted all bonus features from their collected editions. They are included in Marvel’s Epic Collection reprints, however, so those are the ones you want to look for.

I feel like I had something else to say here but I forgot. Whatever, 4/5 Death Stars.

  • DarthYan

    I always thought chantique (who is introduced in dueling ambitions) was a well done villain; she’s evil but her past is genuinely heartbreaking and you can see why she became evil