The Saga of Nomi Sunrider
Author: Tom Veitch
Artist: Janine Johnston (Issue 3), David Roach (Issues 4-5)
Publication Date: December 1993 – February 1994
- Collected Aug 1994 in Tales of the Jedi: The Collection
- Reprinted Aug 1994 in Tales of the Jedi: Knights of the Old Republic
- Reprinted Nov 1994 in Tales of the Jedi: The Collection + The Freedon Nadd Uprising
- Reprinted Oct 2007 in Star Wars Omnibus: Tales of the Jedi Volume 1
Timeline Placement: 3,999 BBY
Series: Tales of the Jedi #3-5
Nomi Sunrider is the wife of Jedi Knight Andur Sunrider and the mother of little Vima, but more importantly she is a hot redhead with “blue-green” eyes so add another hash mark to that tally. Actually in the first issue of this comic she looks like a living skeleton losing a battle with male pattern baldness, but Janine Johnston’s art is so poor that I assume the author’s intention was for her to look like the MILF she becomes in David Roach’s issues.
Now that we’ve spent the opening paragraph of this review degrading women, let’s jump into the plot.
Andur Sunrider is taking his family to the planet Ambria to learn from the great Jedi Master Thon. As a gift for his new teacher, Andur has brought a box of Adegan crystals for manufacturing lightsabers. While the Sunrider family stops for food at a nearby spaceport, however, some thugs in the employ of Bogga the Hutt overhear Andur running his mouth about the crystals.
Bogga orders them to obtain these precious gems and the goons move against the Sunriders by threatening their androgynous protocol droid, A-3DO. When Andur draws his lightsaber to defend the droid, one of the thugs, Gudb, sends his pet gorm-worm Skritch to attack him from behind. The small reptile-like creature sinks its fangs into Andur’s neck, killing him almost instantly.
As Nomi weeps over her husband’s dead body, Andur’s ghost appears, telling her to take up his lightsaber and defend herself against the gangsters. Prior to The Phantom Menace, in which Liam Neeson’s body did not disappear into the Force when he died, most EU stories featuring Jedi ghosts took their cue from A New Hope and Return of the Jedi and had the Jedi’s bodies fade away upon death. I think this is the only time it didn’t happen and I have no idea why. Maybe Janine Johnston had never seen a Star Wars movie.
Nomi cuts down two of her husband’s murderers with the lightsaber (“She halved Quanto!” Gudb exclaims realistically), but Gudb and Skritch escape. Andur’s ghost appears again and tells Nomi to go to the Ambria system, where she will meet Thon, the Jedi Master who would have instructed him. This sounds awfully familiar. Nomi and A-3DO pilot their ship, the Lightside Explorer, to Ambria, arriving to find that the planet is desolate wasteland. Leaving Threedee to practice the mandolin (what the hell?), Nomi takes Vima and goes in search of Master Thon. On the way she passes an evil lake filled with voices that shout mean things at her.
Nomi and Vima come across a yellow man with weird tentacle hair riding what is clearly a Triceratops with a beard. Nomi knows instinctively that the man is a Jedi. He takes them back to his home and Nomi tells him about what happened to her husband and why she has come to meet him, but they are interrupted by Bogga the Hutt and his men stealing the Jedi’s herd of green sheep-things. The Jedi tries to fight them off but gets his ass kicked, and Nomi is shocked to see the dinosaur he’d been riding drive off their attackers with the Force. The yellow dude was just some schmuck named Oss Wilum; the dumb beast of burden was Master Thon all along! Boy this whole plot sounds awfully familiar!
Months pass as Master Thon trains Nomi in the ways of the Jedi, but she continually refuses to construct a lightsaber, forswearing the weapon as penance for killing two of her husband’s killers. Baby Vima is playing near the evil lake where Thon banished the dark energies on the planet (what?) when she is attacked by two hssiss, also known as “dark side dragons” or “basically iguanas.” Nomi uses the Force to turn them against one another, revealing her innate talent for Jedi Battle Meditation.
Meanwhile, Bogga the Hutt strong-arms pirate captain Finhead Stonebone into retrieving Nomi’s Adegan crystals for him as retribution for ripping off ore transports under Hutt protection. The only things noteworthy about this subplot are Bogga’s adorable pet hssiss lizard, Ktriss, and the fact that the ships Finhead Stonebone has been robbing are made from the hollowed-out corpses of kilometer-long Ithullian colossus wasps.
Back on Ambria, the Twi’lek Jedi Tott Doneeta (yes, he is still referred to as such in this story) pays Master Thon a visit, looking for Jedi to return to Onderon with him to help quell the Freedon Nadd Uprising, whatever that is. Master Thon is too busy training Nomi and Vima to waste his time on this nonsense, so he sends the utterly useless Oss Wilum in his place.
Thon shows Nomi a Jedi holocron with the gatekeeper avatar of Master Ood Bnar, a talking tree who is Thon’s BFF. Ood Bnar reveals to Nomi the history of the dark side in the most unspecific terms imaginable. “Sometimes people fall to the dark side and do bad things! It’s happened a lot!”
[Continuity Note: The holocron displays a succession of images of nameless dark-side conquerors, concluding with a figure in black armor hefting a red lightsaber as Ood laments that some of history’s fallen warlords were Jedi. Naturally, later EU adopted this character as King Adas, the monarch of the Sith species in a time before they ever encountered the Jedi or had lightsaber technology. One of the few things we actually knew about Adas prior to his visual depiction was that he was renowned for fighting with a giant battle ax. It’s like why even bother? Were fans clamoring that much for an identity for this one-panel flashback character from a 20-year-old comic?]
Anyway then Finhead Stonebone (Tales of the Jedi Companion reassures us that this is just one of his many aliases, because “Finhead Stonebone” is too silly a name to exist alongside such classics as Ephant Mon, Yarael Poof, Sha’a Gi, Hannah Ding, Jedi Master Baytes, and Rick McCallum) and his posse arrive on Ambria to steal the crystals. Thon gives Nomi his own lightsaber and tells her to help him fight off the pirates, but she refuses. Why the hell does a giant four-legged dinosaur have a lightsaber? Even if there was a way for him to use it without trundling around awkwardly on three legs, how is Nomi supposed to use a weapon designed to be held by giant dinosaur claws?
In frustration, Thon tells Nomi to run away and save herself, and that at least her daughter will be a great Jedi one day (oh snap!). He lumbers over to the pirates to surrender and is handcuffed with Mandalorian manacles and led away. Forced to finally get over her issues, Nomi uses Battle Meditation to turn the pirates against one another. Somehow this convinces her that killing is okay and she wades into battle with Thon’s lightsaber. She frees him and together they drive the pirates from the planet. Having finally accepted her fate as a Jedi, Nomi surrenders to Thon’s tutelage, and the narrative textbox assures us that she will have a part to play against the looming darkness that threatens to destroy the Jedi. I just hope it destroys Arca Jeth.