Suicide by Star Wars Apocrypha: Unseen, Unheard, Unmemorable

(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.)

Unseen, Unheard

Author: Chris Avellone

Artist: Dustin Weaver

Medium: Comic

Publication Date: July 2005 in Star Wars Tales #24

Timeline Placement: 3,952 BBY

The Dark Wars have begun!

image5Oh . . .

“Unseen, Unheard” is a very short comic from the final issue of the Star Wars Tales anthology series. It’s a prequel tie-in to Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, set one year before the start of that game and four years after its predecessor. It shows the destruction of the Miralukan planet Katarr at the hands of the Sith Lord Darth Nihilus and how he met his apprentice, Visas Marr, during the trip. And . . . that’s all that happens. Nihilus kills a planet with the Force and takes Visas with him for more murderventures, one of which will involve her betraying him to join the player character’s party in KotOR II.

I dig this comic a lot, though, even more than the previous KotOR tie-in Tales comic drawn by Dustin Weaver. Illustrated in beautiful black-and-white, it’s written by the design lead of the game so it feels like it easily could have been a flashback playing over the dialogue tree where Visas describes to the player what happened to her planet. “My people never saw his face when he struck—but they heard his voice. When my lord spoke, every living thing on Katarr died.” You probably won’t get much out of it if you haven’t played the game, but once you have, reading the comic will make you want to play it again (speaking from experience).

4/5 Death Stars.

[Continuity Note: The Miraluka, a race of blind Force-users who are pretty much human in appearance, have appeared before, most notably in Tales of the Jedi, but they’ve always been pictured with veils obscuring the upper part of their faces, because otherwise we’d keep forgetting that they’re supposed to be blind, I guess. “Unseen, Unheard” finally shows what they look like without the veil, maybe for the first time. They have vestigial eye sockets but no eyes, just featureless flesh that covers them. This contradicts the roleplaying-game sourcebook Tales of the Jedi Companion, which states that Miraluka have “non-functioning, milky-white eyes.” This is cooler, though, so fuck it.

[Also, since I’m not doing a KotOR II review, this is the only chance I’ll have to talk about Darth Nihilus, who is one of my favorite Star Wars characters ever because of his complete absence of character. Despite his evil panda mask taking up half the cover of the game and appearing in all the promotional artwork and ads, I think he only appears in the actual story like three times: briefly in Visas Marr’s introductory cutscene, in a short flashback, and then when you the player finally confront him towards the end. But his presence looms over the whole game, his influence casting a shadow across the entire galaxy that refines the lighthearted, generic adventure story of the original KotOR into a razorblade of dark, mature storytelling that still manages to feel like Star Wars. The KotOR era is such a great period in Star Wars history with the potential for so many great stories still to be told; it’s a fucking crime that The Sith Lords ultimately marks the end of it.

[To tie this tangent back to the subject of continuity, EU continuity porn guru Abel G. Peña wrote a section on Nihilus for Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide that was ultimately cut from the book before its publication. Even though it was never canon, even in the formerly canon Expanded Universe, it was still pretty cool and way more interesting than a lot of the crap that made it into that book, so I include it here:

[Nihilus wore a mask of possible Hendanyn origin and spoke an unsettling, literally extirpating, tongue. Jedi seers sampling it from a Sith holocron proclaimed its intelligibility required mere patience, for Nihilus’ was the language spoken billions of years hence, at the end of all time. Jedi mystics offered a slightly less fantastical hypothesis: impossibly, Nihilus spoke the raw dialect of the Force itself, untranslated by midichlorians—one needed only die to comprehend it.]

SW36.2These characters never even meet in the game.