Sure, the six movies featured a fairly coherent storyline running across two different time periods, but Dark Horse Comics has decided to go two better and give the world a Star Wars storyline that spans 4100 years in four different series. Called Vector, the twelve-part story - beginning in this week's Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic #25 (set more than a millennium before the original movie) - promises to follow the search for a particularly dangerous Sith artifact across the entire history of George Lucas's money-making franchise, and we've had a chance to take an early peek at the first chapter.
First off, ignore the (cool-looking) cover featuring Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker and two other Jedi ready for action; that scene happens only as psychic dream in the opening pages of the book (see below) - the majority of this opener to the year-long story is all about setting the scene and introducing readers to characters and concepts that don't come from the movies. Luckily for "Expanded Universe" virgins like myself, it all follows well-known Lucas formulas pretty well, including a annoying comedy sidekick for the hero: Having the plot revolve around a prophecy makes a lot of sense, considering the movies' reliance on prophecies about balancing the force and all, but there's also an element of Indiana Jones in the way that our heroes are questing after an artifact that gets found by the bad guys first. Sure, there aren't any Sith to give us hot lightsaber action in this first part (Replacement zombie-like aliens the Mandalorians feels a little too generic and dull, right now), but it all zips by fast enough for you not to care: The dialogue is better than at least, oh, five of the movies - writer John Jackson Miller gets his derring-do on without the humorlessness of the last three movies - and the art strikes the right note of being cartoony but not distractingly so.
Dark Horse know what they're doing with their movie and TV comics - They're the ones behind Joss Whedon's awesome Buffy comics - and this is a pretty good launch for what could be a fun story for both Star Wars obsessives and those who just like reading about people shooting each other in space. After four issues of Knights Of The Old Republic, the story crosses into companion title Dark Times (set just after Revenge of the Sith) for two issues, then original trilogy-era Rebellion for two, before ending in Star Wars: Legacy - starring the descendants of Luke, Leia and Han - at the end of the year. If nothing else, you know you want to pick up the ones with 1980s Empire Strikes Back-era jumpsuit Luke, right...?
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #25 - Vector part 1 [Dark Horse.com]