- Star Wars Omnibus: Tales of the Jedi, Vol. 1
- Dark Horse Comics
- 395 pages
- ISBN-13: 978-1593078300
- MSRP: $24.95
- Buy it from Amazon
Star Wars Omnibus: Tales of the Jedi, Vol. 1 reprints Dark Horse Comics' Knights of the Old Republic era comic books printed back in the early to mid 1990s. It consists of the first three such stories -- The Golden Age of the Sith, Ulic Qel-Droma and the Beast Wars of Onderon, and The Saga of Nomi Sunrider.
They're ancient history in two ways: they're set 3000-4000 years before the Battle of Yavin in Episode IV, and they were written long before Bioware's Knights of the Old Republic video game hit it big. What's surprising about reading this book is realizing just how loyal to Dark Horse's work Bioware was. There are constant references in the games to the events depicted in the comic books, and I loved stumbling across them. I also found that the interconnected nature of the games and comics means that these volume makes for great source material for any Knights of the Old Republic era role-playing game ... assuming you can get past the first story.
That story, The Golden Age of the Sith is an overwrought tale that chronicles the invasion of the Old Republic by the Sith empire. The dialogue is awkward and occasionally cheesy, the story jumps unevenly from scene to scene, and the plot twists are ridiculously contrived. Some of these issues, particularly the dialogue, are hard to get past, but I think the single biggest problem with Golden Age is that it tries to tell too big of a story in too few pages. That seems like a contradiction, since the story consumes consumes 2/3rd of the Omnibus, but I really thing they tried to do too much.
The best parts detail the scheming of the Sith Lords, but unfortunately these conflicts are kludged onto the larger Sith invasion storyline. The whole thing fails as a cohesive story, even though it has entertaining elements.
The Beast Wars of Onderon is a far stronger story, following three Jedi apprentices as they are sent to the world of Onderon to attempt to negotiate an end to its centuries-old conflict between its dominant city state, and the beast lords living outside its walls. I think it works better because it's painting on a smaller canvas, and focusing on the trials of the three apprentices. Good stuff.
The Saga of Nomi Sunrider is an even more intimate story, showing the training of its namesake character at the feet of Jedi Master Thon. Sunrider sees her husband, a Jedi Knight, cut down by thugs, but is urged to take up his mantle by his Force ghost by training with Thon. Over the course of the story she's forced to confront her own fears to save herself, her master and the life of her child.
All in all, the book's worth picking up, or at least borrowing, particularly for those enjoy the era or (like me) are running Knights of the Old Republic RPG campaigns. "The Golden Age" may be weak, but the other two stories make up for it.