The stories behind the stories

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #17

“The company! They’ve found me!” — Camper

“Nights of Anger” Part 2

Camper lies gravely ill aboard the Arkanian Legacy, his life in the hands of its owner — Lord Adasca! And can Zayne Carrick escape the Republic Navy?
Published by Dark Horse • May 30, 2007
Written by John Jackson Miller

Art by Harvey Tollbao

Lettered by Michael Heisler

Colored by Michael Atiyeh

Cover by Colin Wilson

Edited by Jeremy Barlow and Dave Marhsall

This was the first issue to come out after Star Wars Celebration IV, and I alluded to the direction this story would be taking at the panel when I described how I planned a storyline partially inspired by the Archie Goodwin Star Wars comics that got me hooked on the series.

I wanted a political game with high stakes to take place in a visually interesting location  — which Goodwin did with The Wheel. There were multiple threads following multiple characters, and we didn’t know what game all the players were playing until it all tied together at the end. I also wanted to delve a little into the corporate life of the Republic – and its uneasy relationship with the military and political side of things — as Goodwin did with the House of Tagge’s relationship with the Empire.

Drawing partially on those inspirations, I worked Lord Adasca and the Arkanian Legacy into the mystery surrounding Camper’s past – and they make the scene at a pivotal time, right after the onset of the Mandalorian War. And, as in the earlier comics, it’s not immediately apparent what Adasca’s game is. In fact, he seems to have more than one going!

I also wanted to delve a little more into Jarael’s character with this storyline. We’ve literally uprooted a woman who’s been hiding in a junkyard for years, thrown her into a Mandalorian prison, and then hit her with the possible loss of the most important person in her life. How would she react? Did she really mean it when she said she’d as soon shoot Camper as give him to Adascorp – or would her desire to save Camper’s life override that? We see the answer, here. She’s not at all happy about it – but it was the kind of compromise I wanted to hit her with.

Also, Eejee gave me a chance to continue with the sort of class and racial division themes we’d already begun establishing in the previous issue. We’ll see more of his interaction with the boss soon.

Incidentally — I don’t know if Harvey Tolibao ever read any of Jim Starlin’s work, but Dreadstar was one of my other inspirations in writing this series. When I was just starting out in 2005, I reread the entire series for the umpteenth time to get a feel for what I had enjoyed in it. And now, here, I think Harvey’s art has really helped us pay tribute to that earlier work. Watching Eejee and Camper together – well, it recalled to me nothing more than Vanth Dreadstar fencing verbally with the Zygotean!

“I’ve never been much good with precise work, but I had a lot of time on my hands…” — Zayne Carrick

That cover’s our most Kubert-esque to date. Karath’s got that Our-Army-at-War overbite!

Sometimes, if you’re not very specific, surprising changes can happen when a story passes from the writer to the artists. Peter David writes of making notes about balloon placements in a panel – only to have actual hot-air balloons appear in the scene. Here, my original first line for Eejee had him addressing the “Emergency Station,” which I intended to mean a receiving room aboard the Arkanian Legacy. I suspect that the artist inferred that I meant an actual station — hence we see the already-colossal Legacy next to an even-larger space station. Seeing that, rather than correct the artwork, we altered the dialogue to acknowledge the existence of a refueling station — which it would be logical for the Legacy to have.

Note that Jarael is still in her pureblood Arkanian make-up here — though I specifically noted that she would have removed her claw-fingered gloves between issues.

You’ll see that Jarael’s eyes are in sort of a transitory state in the beginning, between the blunk-eyed look of #16 and their normal appearance later in the issue; my take on it is that what she’s using are not earthly contact lenses, but something that changes the appearance of her eyes temporarily, evaporating over time. Truthfully, we needed pupils to get her emotions to come across better in the opening scenes…

Dig ye the Aurabesh “A”s lining the Adascorp atrium. And I always wanted to see a fountain in a spaceship!

The “Offshoot question” recalls the phrasing of many similar “questions” involving ethnic groups in history. It sounded creepy then, and it should sound creepy here.

Arca Jeth is a character from the Tales of the Jedi comics, of course!

Eejee dons a mask momentarily in the operating room – but with no nose, how does he keep it on? I guess that big wart helps!

That is not actually an R2 unit in the waiting area – and really, when we see it again, its look is not as similar as it initially seems. Everything on the dome is really tilted and there’s nothing on the other side.

I also don’t believe the ships swooping into the Courageous scene were really intended to recall Venators. Given the perspective and their size relative to the other ships in the scene, my assumption was that those were snub fighters. Maybe the Venator’s these ships writ large, I don’t know.

Neo-Crusader armor has appeared in the series already; here, in the red with the hoses coming out, we see the first new variety, the Neo-Crusader Shock Trooper. The thing that makes them Neos isn’t that they look like the original Neo armor, but that the specific armor configuration is repeated for units of this type. You’ll also see, though, that, as at Vanquo, there are still individualistic styles of armor mixed into units. All according to plan…

You’ll note that we set up the panels and bolts in Zayne’s cell in #15. This is actually a different cell on the same block — you’ll notice there’s no window and bed in this one — so we can assume that the jailers moved him (probably to give that nice bed to one of their own prisoners). But we wanted to set up the wall plates right away, so Zayne could begin planning his escape. That was my favorite moment in Shawshank Redemption…

We finally got the name of Carth’s cargo-hauler here, The Deadweight. A number of cargo ships didn’t make it back, as we saw in #16’s text page.

Check out the transition from Zayne’s cell to Rohlan’s cell — and how they’re both sitting!

Jarael’s outfit at the end is more opulent and revealing than we’ve seen her in to date — but it seemed logical that this would be the sort of finery that Lord Adasca would have to offer. It’s also the case that, while Jarael’s typical outfits have been more demure (a fact which may make them popular for convention costumers hoping looking for options besides Slave Leia), it hasn’t necessarily been because she’s self-conscious. Rather, she’s tended to go for the functional — as we all might, living in a dump. In fact, as we saw with Q’Anilia’s outfit in #7, she seems to enjoy dressing up when she gets the chance. Of course, right now, her mind is anywhere but on her own appearance. She has that sleeping-on-a-couch hair…

It doesn’t seem like anyone caught what was really wrong with Camper – but if you go back to the beginning, there’s no indication that he had ever had a “spell” before #4, when the ship went to orbit. And his health had been getting “worse, not better” the more they traveled. It’s fun to catch everyone with a curveball now and again!

I’m happier with the Adascorp Financial Report than just about any text page we’ve done, because I was able to totally ape the style of real-life quarterly reports, right down to the sector-by-sector introduction and the positive spin put on awful things like the war. And all my fine-print double-talk made it in, too, which I’m very happy with. What the heck is a risk quotient?

Finally, a word on the formal address for members of the House of Adasca. The guy’s real, formal name is “Arkoh Adasca, eighth Lord of the House of Adasca” – so Adasca literally is both his last name and part of his title. The guy we know as Lord Byron is actually “George Byron, the 6th Baron Byron” – and that’s where I got the form of address. Lord Arkoh Adasca is alternately known as simply “Adasca” or “Lord Adasca” – but would be correct in either signing as “Arkoh, Lord Adasca” of as “Arkoh, the Eighth Lord Adasca.” That’s royalty for you — you should see how many ways there is to name Prince Charles!

Latest edition

Star Wars: Legends Epic Collection – The Old Republic Vol. 1

Star Wars: Legends Epic Collection – The Old Republic Vol. 1

Padawan Zayne Carrick is suddenly a fugitive framed for the murder of his fellow Jedi-in-training. Little does the galaxy know, Zayne's own Masters are behind the massacre and dead set on recovering him before he can reveal the truth.

Collects Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #0-18. Back in print in May 2023!

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Earlier editions

Star Wars Omnibus: Knights of the Old Republic Vol. 1

Star Wars Omnibus: Knights of the Old Republic Vol. 1

Padawan Zayne Carrick is suddenly a fugitive framed for the murder of his fellow Jedi-in-training. Little does the galaxy know, Zayne's own Masters are behind the massacre and dead set on recovering him before he can reveal the truth.

Collects Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #0-18.

More info →
Buy from Amazon
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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Vol. 3:  Days of Fear, Nights of Anger

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Vol. 3: Days of Fear, Nights of Anger

Nearly four thousand years before the Death Star, fugitive Padawan Zayne Carrick's quest to clear his name runs afoul of forces beyond his control — forces he and his friends have helped to unleash!

Con artist Gryph sees the Mandalorian Wars as a chance to make a quick credit, but Zayne sees a terrible tragedy on the horizon—one where only an act of self-sacrifice can save the ungrateful Republic! But the real key to the future of the galaxy may lie with none other than Zayne's fellow fugitives, the genius Camper and the beautiful Jarael, who have just fallen prey to the forces they've spent a lifetime running from!

More info →
Buy from Amazon