Suicide by Star Wars Apocrypha: The Sith War!!

The Sith War, One

(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.)

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Author: Kevin J. Anderson

Artist: Dario Carrasco, Jr.

Medium: Comic

Publication Date: August 1995 – January 1996

  • Reprinted April 2008 in Star Wars Omnibus: Tales of the Jedi Volume 2

Timeline Placement: 3,996 BBY; 3,994 BBY (epilogue)

Series: Tales of the Jedi

The Great Sith War has begun!

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Well not really I guess. It’s been six months since Ulic Qel-Droma and Exar Kun joined forces to bring about a new Sith golden age, and it doesn’t look like too much has happened in that time. The Krath’s war against the Republic has continued much the same as it was before, and no one seems to know that Ulic Qel-Droma now commands their military. Meanwhile, Exar Kun is about to hatch a scheme that involves walking up to people in the street and asking them to join him, which seems like something he easily could have started doing six months ago. What have they been doing all this time?

But before we get into any of that, we get the first appearance of the Mandalorians. The Mandalorians have a long and convoluted history, both within the Star Wars galaxy and in the context of real-world creative decisions, but they are essentially a marauding tribe of space barbarians. For honor and glory, they blow up some mining station in the Empress Teta system belonging to the Krath, the yuppie space cult founded by Ulic’s current squeeze, causing it to crash on the planet below and pissing off Ulic Qel-Droma.

Ulic contacts the Mandalorian leader, Mandalore the Indomitable, and demands his surrender, but Mandalore challenges him to a duel. If Mandalore wins, he gets the Empress Teta system, but if Ulic wins, the Mandalorians will pledge fealty to him. Mandalore’s conditions for the duel include fighting on a Mandalorian world, forcing Ulic to fight while balanced on a network of chains suspended in the air, and being able to use his giant flying Basilisk war droid against Ulic’s lightsaber.

[Continuity Note: Basilisk war droids are large, intelligent, animal-like robots that have giant claws and shoot lasers out of their face and are ridden into battle by Mandalorians like some kind of awesome space horse. “The History of the Mandalorians,” a reference article in Star Wars Insider #80 (2005), revealed that the Mandalorians acquired these droids by conquering the Basiliskans (of the planet Basilisk). The Basiliskans, which were basically just dragons, poisoned their own planet to defeat the Mandalorians, but they still ended up enslaved and used as war mounts in future conflicts. Over millennia their intelligence disappeared and they devolved into primitive beasts known as Lagartoz War Dragons. Because that’s what you’d expect to happen to an enslaved people, right?

[Anyway, that’s the story of how the Basilisk war droids got their name! Except not quite, because author Karen Traviss, equally renowned for her disdain of most Mandalorian lore not written by herself as for her unwillingness to read any Star Wars works not written by herself, introduced the Mandalorian word bes’uliik, literally translated as “iron beast.” According to the inclusivity of the EU canon policy, both origins of the term are equally valid, so apparently it was just some crazy cosmic coincidence or something.]

YEEAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YEEAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Despite Mandalore blatantly throwing the odds in his own favor in the name of “honor,” Ulic still thrashes his ass, taking out his war droid and forcing him to land on one of the chains. Mandalore whines that Ulic is being unfair and insists he trade in his lightsaber for a Mandalorian ax carved from mythosaur bone. Ulic does so and still beats him. Mandalore admits that his life is forfeit but Ulic allows him to live and makes him his second-in-command, thus securing the loyalty of the Mandalorian Crusaders.

Meanwhile, Exar Kun has traveled to the Jedi library world of Ossus to recruit volunteers for his new Sith Brotherhood. A crowd of young Jedi, including Cay Qel-Droma, Oss Wilum, and Crado, gathers around to hear him talk about how the Jedi Masters have been withholding knowledge from them. As evidence, he presents the Sith amulet he recovered from Yavin 4, calling it a “Jedi amulet” and explaining how it allowed him to defeat the ghost of Freedon Nadd. One of the Jedi, a female Vultan named Zona Luka, reflects on how Arca Jeth had been outfoxed by Nadd and failed his mission on Onderon miserably as a result.

Nearby, Nomi Sunrider expresses concern to Odan-Urr, our old friend from way back when we first started this series, over countering Sith illusions like those employed by Ulic’s evil girlfriend, Aleema, in the previous book. Odan-Urr offers to teach her the ultimate light-side technique, the “wall of light,” which a Jedi can use to permanently sever an individual’s connection to the Force. He reveals that he learned this power “when we fought the last of the Dark Lords . . . when the Jedi and the Republic drove the Sith to extinction.” Really wish we could have seen that instead of whatever boring shit happened in The Fall of the Sith Empire, KJA.

Nomi thanks Odan-Urr for teaching her this new technique, although all he did was talk about it for fifteen seconds, and leaves. Odan-Urr sits back and ponders the Sith holocron he recovered from a derelict warship at the end of the Great Hyperspace War. Suddenly the holocron begins to glow and levitates out of his hand. Exar Kun strides into the room and claims the holocron for his own. Sensing the great darkness inside this man, Odan-Urr casts him back with the Force and attempts to use the wall of light technique he was just talking about, but all Exar Kun has to do is stretch out his arm and Odan-Urr collapses.

“I . . . am old . . . ,” he moans as he lies dying. “Evil is loose . . . in the galaxy . . . and I cannot stop it . . .” His body vanishes into the Force, leaving behind only his robes, which Exar Kun kicks aside as he leaves. Had we read this series in the order it was published, this scene would have little impact, as Odan-Urr would just be some dude we knew nothing about. Having gone in chronological order, however, we’ve already seen him in his prime back during the Great Hyperspace War and watched him help save the galaxy from evil once before. His failure to do so now, at the end of his life, thus becomes somewhat emotionally affecting.

But really not too much.

Exar Kun’s Jedi groupies, except Cay Qel-Droma who I guess just wandered off somewhere, suddenly come in and ask what happened to Odan-Urr. Kun explains that he just now died of old age, but before he went he named Kun as Jedi Master and bequeathed him this special holocron. For some reason, the Jedi believe this very suspicious story and pledge themselves to Exar Kun’s tutelage.

Kun takes them to his stronghold on Yavin 4 aboard his ship, Starstorm One. He shows off the massive temples he’s had constructed but ass-kisser Crado, as always, is the only one who seems impressed. The Massassi come wandering out to say hello and for some reason Oss Wilum thinks they’re attacking and he starts fighting them with his lightsaber. The other Jedi join in but Exar Kun is able to calm everyone down, explaining that the Massassi are his servants and just trying to protect him.

Oss Wilum has seen enough and goes to leave but Kun has one last thing to show his acolytes. He admits that the supposed Jedi holocron he got from Odan-Urr is actually a Sith holocron, but he is going to destroy it and wants the Jedi’s help in purifying Yavin 4 for the light side. Oss Wilum, Zona Luka, Crado, and the 17 other converts decide to stay and watch, and Kun smashes the holocron with his fist, releasing the Sith spirits that were, for some reason, trapped inside it.

Broken pieces of the holocron fly out and strike all the Jedi except Crado, magically absorbing into their bodies and infecting them with the dark side. Now Oss Wilum and the others are all evil, because that’s how the dark side works.

This is the dumbest shit.