The stories behind the stories

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #5

“I… would…. prefer…. not to.” — Elbee

“Commencement” Part 5

With the help of the droid Elbee, Zayne Carrick pieces together what really happened to his friends — and realizes his future is in even more doubt than before…
Published by Dark Horse • May 31, 2006
Written by John Jackson Miller

Art by Travel Foreman

Lettered by Michael Heisler

Colored by Michael Atiyeh

Cover by Travis Charest

Edited by Jeremy Barlow and Dave Marshall

This issue has always looked different from the rest of “Commencement,” and for good reason — as it featured the work of fill-in artist Travel Foreman, helping us to keep the series on schedule.

The scheduling problem that cropped up was my doing, essentially – in that I came up with the suggestion to do the promotional comic Knights of the Old Republic/Rebellion #0 after we were already midstream into the production of the monthly series. Brian Ching very quickly shifted gears from the middle of “Commencement” to work on “Crossroads,” but the time involved necessitated bringing a guest artist in for #5.

Fill-in art is a fact of life in comics, going back to the beginning. As of the release of this issue, I hadn’t yet done a six-issue stretch with an artist that didn’t need at least a fill-in inker (as in the case of Jorge Lucas in Iron Man #76) to help out for one reason or another. Travel stepped in and made the save – and in the end, the issue came out right on time.

The vision sequence is the heart of the issue, of course, and would be referred to several times over the course of the “fugitive” arc of the series. Following my suggestion, Travel headed into a serious Steve Ditko direction with it. (The spiral staircase looks like something out of an old Doctor Strange story!) It’s quite different from the usual sort of vision or dream sequence – in part, because what we’re seeing is a vision experienced in gestalt, by more than one mind at once. Note especially the white-on-black imagery from the Force-sighted Q’Anilia, concluding with the color from the “Red Menace.”

I toyed with depicting exactly what Elbee would see – and what Gryph referred to seeing in the hologram: namely, the Masters running around swinging at the air, responding to what they were seeing in their vision. But we had already done a POV trick going from the hologram to the flashback – and I figured going in one more level would give readers a chance to see something of what the Masters were concerned about.

Seeing the final scene of this issue in print reminded me of a comics scene I hadn’t looked a quarter of a century. Way back in X-Men #114, Storm accuses Cyclops of not having really loved Jean Grey because of his inability to mourn for her; she turns her back on him and walks away, leaving him speechless. The dialogue and contexts here are completely different – and of course, this scene ends differently – but I have to say I learned a lot about comics drama from reading Chris Claremont, so if there’s a little subconscious inspiration there, so be it. I’m pleased to have that nod to him in my work.

“I’m going to stop the prophecy from happening. I’m going to turn myself in.” — Zayne Carrick

There’s no one on board the Taris police carrier when it’s shot down; as the lieutenant says, it’s in hover mode, waiting for them. (As Zayne says, “I didn’t kill anyone before, and I’m not going to now.”) I figured with the gravities involved, it was probably unneccessary for the ship to make landfall on the Rogue Moon.

That’s a magnetic suction tube – as seen in Episodes IV and VI — that the Last Resort uses to grab the Elbee parts from the surface – and to quickly re-embark Zayne and Jarael. I figured if there was ever any piece of equipment a junk-hauler would have, it’s that!

Camper doesn’t do much mad-mumbling, as I call it, this issue – he’s pretty focused on the task at hand. For him, that is!

Raana Tey has to have an extra-large helmet for those horns of hers, doesn’t she?

Camper’s explanation of Elbee’s mental functioning suggests his original programmers knew a little bit of Asimov’s Laws of robotics. Are the laws in the same order in the Star Wars universe? Inquiring droids would like to know…

People had been waiting to see a little trademark Snivvian moodiness from Gryph; this was their chance.

While this issue went on sale in the United States in June, it was actually considered a May-shipping issue. Memorial Day shifted new comic-book day one day later in the States in 2006.


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.

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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
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Vol. 1: Commencement

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

Thousands of years before Luke Skywalker would destroy the Death Star in that fateful battle above Yavin 4, one lone Padawan would become a fugitive hunted by his own Masters, charged with murdering every one of his fellow Jedi-in-training! From criminals hiding out in the treacherous under-city of the planet Taris, to a burly, mysterious droid recovered from the desolate landscape of a cratered moon, Padawan Zayne Carrick will find unexpected allies in his desperate race to clear his name before the unmerciful authorities enact swift retribution upon him!

More info →
Buy from Amazon