The stories behind the stories

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #43

“Quick and clean, partner — no crazy stuff this time!” — Gryph

“The Reaping” Part 1

An unprecedented new adventure begins — leaving former Padawan Zayne Carrick clinging to the side of a comet!
Published by Dark Horse • July 15, 2009
Written by John Jackson Miller

Art by Bong Dazo

Lettered by Michael Heisler

Colored by Michael Atiyeh

Cover by Benjamin Carré

Edited by Dave Marshall and Freddye Lins

Back in high school, I was seriously entertaining a career in some kind of space-related field — astrophysics, aeronautical engineering, something along those lines. I’d bought a telescope just in time for the arrival of Halley’s Comet — dragging it out evenings and fighting against the light pollution from the city.

What I found out was that, when it comes to astronomy, my mind isn’t designed the way it needs to be to locate things. Going from star maps to the sky often involved some kind of transposition — and then if I had the wrong lens on, everything was transposed yet again. I could never find anything. Then the Challenger exploded and Halley’s Comet turned out to be a big zero — meaning that by the time I got to college, that ambition had basically played out. Nearly flunking calculus was the final straw, sending me across campus to the journalism school.

A decade later, we’d had Comets Hale-Bopp and Hyakutake pay a call — and I gave it another try with a new, better telescope. The result was pretty much the same — and the telescope headed for its date with a garage sale. But I did get one thing out of it — as a subscriber to Astronomy magazine, I won a drawing for a T-shirt for the comet movie Deep Impact. Insert you own “I sought after the universe and all I got was this lousy T-shirt” joke here!

The movie itself is no masterpiece (though it’s loads better than Armageddon, out around the same time) but they did get expert advice on what conditions might exist on a comet. Done today, they’d know more — thanks to a real-life probe named (perhaps not coincidentally) Deep Impact, which struck a comet with an impactor and observed the results. It’s clear that comets are interesting, volatile environments — and while I’d included a comet in an issue of Iron Man, I really wanted to set an adventure on one at some point.

Thus the dust-divers of “The Reaping” were born, illustrating yet one more circumstance in which living slaves might be seen as superior to droids. Combine low gravity with the porous surface of a warming comet waiting to erupt, and you’ve got fun waiting to happen. Hit another plan of Zayne’s with a serious hitch — the number of people to be saved — and the fun keeps on rolling.

Bong Dazo really delivered, providing really cool visuals for some challenging sequences.

“My heart. I can’t feel my heart.” — Gryph

My original idea for the title had been “Cold Harvest,” but Dark Times was already doing “Blue Harvest.” This one works just as well.

It occured to me that the thorilide crystals would need to be tiny and fragile, easily ruined by a change in state of the surrounding material — otherwise there’d be no reason not to simply destroy the comet and filter the remains. Likewise, the crevices created during sunward heating made for a good reason to catch the comets in their orbits, rather than rerouting them to some holding area where they could be picked clean at the miners’ leisure. This way, nature opens the comet for them.

Qohn is a Nazzar, a sort of horse-faced critter from the Ultimate Alien Anthology.

The “high-end customer” reference takes us back to “Dueling Ambitions.”

I haven’t counted the number of divers in the Ready Room and leaving the surface of the comet, but it’s pretty close to the actual number. Bong’s inclusion of the child slave being helped into his/her suit was a really nice touch!

I imagined the double-page spread as being a companion piece, in a round-about way, of the spread on the Rogue Moon in #3. I’ll leave the thematic implications to the reader to interpret, but it’s really fun looking at them together!

The Gladiator has been seen before. Where? You’ll see next issue.

Finally, this storyline’s introduction of thorilide would give it a connection that transcended legend, so to speak: I would include the chemical again prominently in A New Dawn, many years later.

Latest Edition

Star Wars: Legends Epic Collection – The Old Republic Vol. 3

Star Wars: Legends Epic Collection – The Old Republic Vol. 3

Zayne Carrick's adventures continue in the finale to the Knights of the Old Republic comics series! Contains issues #37-50 of the Knights of the Old Republic comics series and issues #1-5 of the Knights of the old Republic: War series.

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Earlier editions

Star Wars Omnibus: Knights of the Old Republic Vol. 3

Star Wars Omnibus: Knights of the Old Republic Vol. 3

Free at last from the false charges against him, former Padawan Zayne Carrick is ready and able to search out adventure with his group of companions, but when he discovers that one of his allies, the beautiful Jarael, has been running from her past, he dedicates himself to her redemption. Soon, Zayne is caught in a web of sport dueling, slavery, an evil twin, an ancient society, and finally, the frontline of the Mandalorian Wars!

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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Vol. 8: Destroyer

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Vol. 8: Destroyer

Knights of the Old Republic: Destroyer begins with an untold chapter from the lives of Malak and Revan - stars of the Knights of the Old Republic video game! From there, it takes us to a death-defying shootout on the face of a comet and into the heart of one of the cruelest organizations in the galaxy - the Crucible. Former Padawan Zayne Carrick risks not just his life, but also his sanity, to help his friend Jarael face her dark past. Zayne may have set off for adventure, but what he finds are irreversible consequences for himself and his crew in a dangerous, unforgiving galaxy.

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Buy from Amazon