The stories behind the stories

Star Wars: Knight Errant – Aflame #4

“I was bored — and so I created the universe.” — Lord Daiman

“Aflame” Part 4

Kera Holt concocts a dangerous plan…
Published by Dark Horse • January 12, 2011
Written by John Jackson Miller

Art by Ivan Rodriguez

Lettered by Michael Heisler

Colored by Michael Atiyeh

Cover by Joe Quinones

Edited by Dave Marshall and Freddye Lins

If Vannar Treece recalled Claire Chennault and the Flying Tigers in pre-Pearl Harbor China, Gorlan Palladane was crafted in the mold of another kind of World War II hero. There were a number of religious figures in wartime Europe who contributed to the resistance; Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who played a role in the plot against Hitler, and Hugh O’Flaherty, the Irish priest who successfully hid thousands of Allied prisoners and Jews. Palladane would have played a non-violent role, since violence would have brought the crushing response we see this issue — but he would have tried to do whatever he could, including sheltering Kerra and communicating, when ultimately necessary, with Vannar.

So Gorlan I saw as a figure who, while not a religious leader, still had a flock to protect — although by the time of “Aflame,” there’s not much left to it. We only see Gorlan and Vannar together once, and briefly — but it would be interesting to hear their debates from ages ago.

My intention had always been that this would be the issue where Kerra would realize her true calling. Understandably, the events of #1 send her spiraling off, colliding first with Daiman (in issue #2) and then with Odion (in #3). It would be in #4 that Kerra would realize her destiny lay not in a glorious suicidal charge, but elsewhere. And, as we see here, Kerra knew about it all along; but we should give the kid a break. It’s been a hard couple of days for her!

The story mechanic of having Kerra accidentally provide news to Odion just as Gorlan had was one I had always intended; we see Gorlan beginning to realize what he might have done in #2. It was important to put them on an equal footing. Kerra is not blameless in what may happen, either; her motivations thus parallel to his, thereafter. This is about saving people and avenging Vannar, but it’s also about redemption for both of them.

Daiman’s birth-of-the-universe sequence was a moment I’d wanted to do all series long. (It would have made a perverse bit of sense to put it at the very start, but we shouldn’t feed Daiman’s ego much more.) Now, I never took a formal philosophy class — there was a class in Just War Theory that met the requirement, but that probably shouldn’t count. But I was friends with several who majored in it, and solipsism was one of the more interesting topics that came up for debate at the bar after class. It really is quite the conversation-ender, if you’re into it. “Yes, you may be right, but you also may not exist. Pass the pretzels?”

This was the last issue I scripted before writing the Knight Errant novel. At the time, the assumption was that the novel would ship late in February, after Aflame #5 released; still, I wanted to hold off on scripting #5 until I had a better picture of all the characters and situations appearing in the novel. (All issues, however, reflect an understanding of the novel’s events, because we were able to go in and tweak dialogue still.) When the novel release was moved up to Jan. 25, it thus became the case that all stories were published in the order in which I wrote them!

This issue includes a preview of the Knight Errant novel: Chapter Three. We saw Chapter One in Knight Errant #0, and Chapter Four appears in Joe Schreiber’s novel Red Harvest. But there’s no Chapter Two. You’ll just have to buy it!

“Kerra — complete your mission.” — Vannar Treece

We have not named Daiman’s hand-weapon in the comics, but it is involved with the generation of searing heat in a foe’s body. Thus we don’t see energy, because it isn’t Force Lightning — but we do see the feverish effects on Gorlan.

Readers can find the locations of Arboth and Jenith on the theater map in the online Atlas Supplement. At this point in the story, there is a folded pyramid and (we now know, empty) transport situated next to each of the towns. Only the Jenith factory is deployed and exposed.

Ah, the cherubic Aneese Palladane. She keeps such a good attitude through all this! Kerra’s greeting to the troops should sound familiar, of course.

I think Ivan’s transport in this issue is one of the cooler designs I’ve seen. Let’s find another place for that! I also like the fact that the blasters and rifles are a bit more metallic, more frontier-like.

Colorist Michael Atiyeh did something new this issue with the flashbacks: the coloration of Jedi flashbacks is in the same color tone as the character’s lightsaber. Kerra’s is green, Gorlan’s blue. In the case of Gorlan, we don’t see that lightsaber until the end, of course!

Cortosis plating is something that, theoretically, would withstand a lightsaber’s blow.

The Spike, we may notice, changes in shape; its honeycomb design allows the attachment and detachment of many manufacturing theaters of differing size. Note the hexagons on the loading floor inside — the theme follows even inside.

Odion’s dialogue, I sometimes imagine as coming from one of those big rough-and-tumble wrestlers; bombastic and prone to slang. He’s not as erudite as Daiman, by any stretch, but he’s definitely not dumb.

Hey, this is Kerra’s first meal in… how many issues? The girl needs a break!

And, lastly, the diaper bag. If they had diaper pails in Star Wars, this would have been that: one place the Sith guards would never look, no matter what!

Latest edition

Star Wars: Legends Epic Collection – The Old Republic Vol. 5

Star Wars: Legends Epic Collection – The Old Republic Vol. 5

As the Sith overtake the galaxy, a group of brave Jedi continue hit-and-run missions - but Jedi Knight Kerra Holt's first mission goes horribly wrong. Now Kerra intends to liberate as many innocents as possible - and find the truth about her missing family in the process!

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