It's crossover time in the galaxy far, far away! Did the first Star Wars crossover start with a Death Star like bang or a Galactic Senate bust? Knights of the Old Republic was the first chronologically in the current line of Star Wars title, and therefore the first out of the gate. The four-issue arc took place between #'s 25-28. Series scribe John Jackson Miller promised all sorts of Zayne Carrick zaniness. Did he deliver?
A bit of background first. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Star Wars line from Dark Horse, The Knights of the Old Republic title takes place a little bit less than 4,000 years before the events of A New Hope. Titular hero/screw-up Zayne Carrick was framed by his Jedi masters for murdering his fellow padawans. Unknown to Zayne and his now deceased homies in the force, the Jedi masters on Taris were members of an elite Jedi cabal called the Covenant. This organization is tasked to investigate the mysteries of the Sith and stop them in their tracks. After receiving a vision as a group that one of their own would become a Sith lord, the Covenant Masters decide to exterminate their padawans. Zayne escapes their dire plot and ends up having adventures all around the galaxy. Unfortunately for Zayne, the Mandalorians are starting a major war in the Outer Rim that would soon engulf the entire galaxy and bring the Jedi to the brink of extinction.
Enter Celeste Morne. (significant arc spoilers start here)
Celeste is an operative for the Covenant on Taris. She is tapped by Lucien Dray, Covenant Hand and son of Covenant founder Krynda, to find the ancient Sith artifact, the Murr Talisman on Taris, and to kill Zayne Carrick. Oh my! Celeste acts as the central character that ties the individual vector arcs into one large arc. She makes her first appearance in issue #25. She's a savvy devotee to the Covenant's goals and is handy in a fight.
The Murr Talisman was created by a Sith lord named Karness centuries beforehand. If a non-force user is struck by the talisman, it turns them into a Rakghoul. Those familiar with the KOTOR games will recognize this term immediately. A Rakghoul is a zombie-like creature that prowls the undercity of Taris. These things were slightly less annoying than Ewoks, but much cooler because you could actually kill them in the game!
Zayne and his "friend" Gryph end up tagging along with Celeste as the Mandalorians get their hands on the talisman first. They end up on Jebble in the Outer Rim, where the Mandalorians were preparing for an assault on Alderaan. Mandalorian crusdaer Pulsipher foolishly tried to use the Muur Talisman and it started to spread the Rakghoul plague throughout his Mandalorian ranks. The talisman attempts to attack Zayne, but Celeste thwarts the attack by revealing to it she is a Jedi. It then attaches itself to her. The Sith artifact begins to corrupt Celeste. Zayne decides the only hope to save Celeste is to place her in a Sith oubliette to bring her back to Coruscant. This was good plan, but before Zayne can get her off the planet, the Mandalorians nuke the base, destroying the Rakghoul and supposedly destroying the entombed Celeste.
This arc was quite an entrance for this crossover. With the whole industry on event-overload, I was very surprised when Dark Horse announced this project. Crossover in Star Wars? Give me a break! However, the team here does a great job. John Jackson Miller has slowly and quietly crafted one of the best Star wars titles out there. In fact, Dark Times and Legacy are also really strong too (like a Bantha)! Miller managed to weave a tale here that makes sense both in terms of the title and the crossover itself. By introducing the Rakghoul plague and a cryogenic-frozen Jedi, we have the beginnings of a good, if somewhat overused, basis for a story/crossover. I was worried that time-travel would be involved with this crossover. That concept seems more relaxed with Star Trek, not Star wars. So kudos to Miller for that.
My only small quibble with the arc was the art. The artist Scott Hepbrun's style is too cartoon-like for this series. I am not saying that his art was bad, but it was out of place with the artists we've seen prior to this arc in KOTOR. I must admit that I am unfamiliar with his work, but I'm sure it would be better suited with something besides Star Wars. It looks especially out of place when you go on to read the next issue in the Crossover from Dark Times, which is beautifully illustrated by Doug Wheatley.
Despite that small criticism, Vector appears to be off to a solid start.