Even people who haven’t seen Star Wars know the iconic title crawl “A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” And yet despite that the movie happens in the distant past, galactic civilization has apparently been flourishing for quite some time. This could lead one to wonder about the history of the Star Wars Universe. Well, wonder no more. For the first time ever, the founding of the ancient Jedi Order is revealed.
The story is initially told as an almost dialogue-free narrative. Many races gather at a planet at the galactic core to meditate, learn the ways of the Force, and become the Je’daii monks—the larval form of what would eventually become the Jedi Order. The story then shifts, taking on the universally constant theme, “people fear what they don’t understand.” The Infinite Empire trains several of its elite soldiers to be “Force Hounds,” capable of finding and exterminating those who have a sensitivity to the Force before they can become Je’daii. Eventually they decide to search for the Je’daii planet of Tython in order to exterminate the Je’daii once and for all. Interestingly, because the Je’daii are ascetics who live mostly without technology, it’s the bad guys who wield the very first lightsabers, which would later become the iconic weapon of the Jedi. The Je’daii will need to learn to fight to be able to save themselves the next time; they will have to compromise their ideals in order to survive the harsh reality of the galaxy they inhabit.
The art is incredibly smooth. The combat sequences look like storyboard art for a martial arts movie. The exotic flora and fauna of Tython, as well as the multitude of alien races, are interestingly drawn and really drive home the point that this is a diverse alien galaxy.
I’d rate this book 13 and up for mildly graphic violence and some intense themes that, while not racism exactly, mirror it in a blindingly obvious way. While this wasn’t bad, by any means, and I would absolutely recommend it to a long time Star Wars fan, I feel like it would have been better as a non-graphic novel. As graphic novels go, it’s fairly short, so we don’t get a lot of time to see our main characters develop much. There is little time for characterization. And there’s no time for moments that aren’t directly plot related. We don’t get any interesting tidbits or anecdotes about the characters or the order as a whole. There’s no room to breathe. It’s all plot, all the time, which is excusable and understandable given the length of the book. But I feel like an equivalently sized novel would have been more immersive. Despite that, this is a good comic and well worth the read for those interested in Star Wars.
Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm
by John Ostrander
Art by Randy Stradley, Jan Duursema
Dark Horse, 2012