Suicide by Star Wars Apocrypha: The Confusing Life and Times of Freedon Nadd

The Freedon Nadd Uprising

SW11 Image 2Author: Tom Veitch

Artist: Tony Akins

Medium: Comic

Publication Date: August – September 1994

Timeline Placement: 3,998 BBY

Series: Tales of the Jedi

We rejoin Arca Jeth and his apprentices on the planet Onderon, where their victory over the dark side has been undone between story arcs and the walled city of Iziz has been infiltrated by evil magicians called the Naddists. Arca believes that moving the dark-side loci of Freedon Nadd’s and Queen Amanoa’s sarcophagi to the moon of Dxun will quell the uprising. Why don’t they just shoot them into the sun? Would that turn the sun to the dark side, too?

Actually, knowing how the dark side works in these comics, it just might.

Actually, knowing how the dark side works in these comics, it just might.

Master Thon’s student Oss Wilum arrives with the Twi’lek Jedi Tott Doneeta just as the sarcophagi are being loaded onto a spaceship. At that moment, however, the Naddists attack! Led by Warb Null, who looks like Wile E. Coyote in a Darth Vader suit, they burrow up from underground in a giant drill machine, grab the sarcophagi, and escape. Queen Galia suggests that her ancient and ailing father, King Ommin, might know something about the Naddists. Having already killed her mother, Arca decides to go for the deuce and demands a meeting with the king.

King Ommin’s bones have grown soft with use of the dark side, so he is no longer able to stand or move without the aid of a mechanical skeleton apparatus. Galia takes the Jedi to the old folks home where the king spends his days lying on a table. Arca Jeth respectfully tells the king how honored he is by this audience, then immediately starts threatening him and demanding the return of the sarcophagi. Pretending to be a confused geriatric, Ommin beckons Arca to lean closer to hear a secret, then blasts him with dark-side energy.

Standing upright in his metal exoskeleton, Ommin reveals that not only does he come from a long line of dark-side magicians, but he and his entire ancestry were trained in the dark arts by the spirit of Freedon Nadd himself. Nadd’s ghost, or at least the ghost of Nadd’s upper torso, materializes behind Ommin to disinterestedly confirm this. Warb Null and a bunch of Naddists burst in out of nowhere and battle the Jedi while Ommin escapes with Master Arca.

Warb Null’s history is never revealed in the comic itself, but according to Tales of the Jedi Companion he was once a blacksmith named Shas Dovos. Following the instructions of an ancient Sith spellbook on metallurgy, Dovos crafted a suit of armor imbued with the dark side, but his will was subsumed by the ghost haunting the book and he was cursed to wear the armor forever, becoming Warb Null, a “merging of man and metal.” I wonder how that back story will figure into his character arc through the rest of the series oh Ulic Qel-Droma just decapitated him.

Certified super-genius.

Certified super-genius.

Meanwhile, Master Thon has brought his apprentices, Nomi and Vima Sunrider, to the Jedi library world of Ossus. Here, Nomi is taught to build her own lightsaber by Jedi Master Vodo-Siosk Baas, a giant lobster. Nomi spends months on Ossus training in the Jedi arts, but eventually a messenger arrives from Onderon bearing the news of Arca Jeth’s capture and the fall of Iziz to the Naddists. Master Thon and Master Vodo handpick a team of five up-and-coming young Jedi superstars to help Ulic and the others: Nomi Sunrider, blind Miraluka Jedi Shoaneb Culu, perpetually squinting Dace Diath, Nazzar prince Qrrrl Toq, and Kith Kark, whose last name is one of several Star Wars equivalents of “fuck.”

At this point we are introduced to incestuous cousin-lovers Satal and Aleema Keto, scions of the royal family of the Empress Teta system and founders of the Krath, a secret occult society for bored young one-percenters. While visiting Coruscant, Satal’s kleptomania gets the best of him and he is overcome by the desire to possess an ancient Sith artifact. Fortunately, it’s easier to shoplift from the Galactic Museum than from American Apparel and the Ketos make off with a small Sith tome. Much to his dismay, Satal realizes that he can’t read ancient Sith, but while browsing Yahoo News he learns about the Freedon Nadd Uprising and he and his cousin travel to Onderon to find someone who can translate the book for them.

Meanwhile, Nomi and her Jedi strike team land on the planet and break the Naddist siege on the Beast Rider fortress where Ulic and the others are holed up. Noticing that she is unable to employ her Battle Meditation ability, Nomi reaches into the Force to locate the source of the dark-side oppression smothering Onderon. She senses the presence of King Ommin, but his power overwhelms her and she passes out.

Ulic, Cay, Oss, and the Twi’lek Jedi Tott Doneeta come staggering out, looking haggard and hungover. One of Nomi’s indistinguishable entourage demands to know why they didn’t come out and help during the battle, and Ulic explains that the dark side has been sapping their will and stamina for months as they waited for help. Now they feel better though. Ulic is turned on by the sight of Nomi fainting and rushes over to check her out. When she regains consciousness, Ulic immediately hits on her and says that her arrival means they may finally have a chance of stopping this evil.

Also Kith Kark was killed but no one cared, because kark him.

Out in space, Satal and Aleema’s ship, the Krath Enchanter, is shot down by the Republic fleet as it deploys troops to combat the Naddists, but while Satal wets himself Aleema can feel the hand of destiny on her shoulder. They land within the walls of Iziz and are brought before King Ommin, who will give them a magical talisman that will allow them to read the Sith language if they allow his scribe, Novar, to handwrite a copy of the book first. Novar previously appeared in Queen Amanoa’s service in Ulic Qel-Droma and the Beast Wars of Onderon, in which he was drawn completely differently. While the Ketos wait, Ommin shows them the captured Jedi Master Arca Jeth. Ommin has him naked for some reason, suspended in a web of dark-side energy.

Suddenly Ulic, Nomi, Cay, Oss Wilum, Shoaneb Culu, Dace Diath, and the Twi’lek Jedi Tott Doneeta burst into the king’s private sanctum. The textbox specifically says that only seven Jedi are there, so I guess Qrrrl Toq just had something better to do, which makes him the smartest character in this book. Meanwhile, Cay Qel-Droma gets his arm cut off again.

SW11 Image 5

King Ommin tries to bring his dark powers to bear but Ulic cuts through his metal armature, causing the king to collapse into a boneless puddle of flesh-textured jelly, much like Elvis Presley. He cries out for Freedon Nadd to save him, but Nadd’s ghost manifests only to kill Ommin himself, claiming the king’s soul for the dark side.

Satal and Aleema Keto escape during the chaos, retrieving their Sith book from the dead Novar, already murdered by Nadd’s baleful spirit. Nadd bestows on each of the youths a Sith sword from King Ommin’s treasure trove, promising that the future of the Sith rests with them. Arca Jeth gets up and puts on some clothes, impotently shaking his fist at the shade of Freedon Nadd, but Nadd promises that the Jedi have already lost, mumbles some foreshadowing about Ulic falling to the dark side, and disapparates in a pattern of horizontal green lines.

The remains of Freedon Nadd, Queen Amanoa, and King Ommin are interred on the moon of Dxun to prevent any future dark acolytes from harnessing their power. Why don’t they just shoot them into the sun? Ulic Qel-Droma asks Master Arca what Nadd meant when he said that the Jedi had already lost, and Arca reveals that the ancient Sith prophesied that the Dark Lords would one day return. “Remember, Ulic . . .,” he says, “where there is light . . . there can be no darkness.” Very pithy, Goethe, but you might want to rethink that one before adding it to your Facebook quotes.

Tales of the Jedi is often held up as a classic EU series but we’ve gone through five of its eight story arcs and so far it’s been pretty underwhelming and mediocre. The Freedon Nadd Uprising is only two comic issues long, but I still lost interest halfway through and forgot what was happening. It almost feels like a retread of Ulic Qel-Droma and the Beast Wars of Onderon, without the tedious Beast Rider marriage subplot. The monarch of Iziz is secretly a dark-side devotee of Freedon Nadd who betrays the Jedi and tries to seize control of all of Onderon. Oh, no!