Friday, March 30, 2012

Shepherd492 reviews: Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi: The Freedon Nadd Uprising

Tales of the Jedi: The Freedon Nadd Uprising  

The Freedon Nadd Uprising collects both issues of the comic series of the same name. The issues were later republished in the omnibus Tales of the Jedi: Volume 2.

                   The Freedon Nadd Uprising is the second arc in what I like to consider the story of Nomi Sunrider and Ulic Qel-Droma. This short arc basically gives us the story behind the two meeting, though sparks don’t exactly fly between the two, and the premise is deeply flawed. Also, the artwork is exactly as terrible as previous issues, with the continual use of narrative bubbles distracting from the otherwise passable art. After the excellent second half of the Knights of the Old Republic, this piece is a profound disappointment.
                The Freedon Nadd Uprising takes place just a few days after the events of the Knights of the Old Republic. A funeral procession on the world of Onderon is interrupted by the Naddists- worshippers of the long dead Sith Lord Freedon Nadd. After a fierce battle, the cultists make off with the body of the recently deceased Queen, and Freedon Nadd himself. Then, our heroes (at this point only Ulic and his friends from the last comic) go to investigate the apparent ruler of Onderon, King Ommin. Here, the first major discrepancy arises as it simply doesn’t make sense that the actual ruler of Onderon would be presumed dead (not to mention unseen and unnamed in the first book), or that his plot to help the cultists acquire control of the planet is better hatched after the city dwellers and beast masters have come to a peace agreement. After a fight with the cultists, who are now revealed to be under the direct influence of Freedon Nadd’s ghost, Ulic is forced to call in back up to deal with the threat.
                Enter Nomi Sunrider and four extremely forgettable Jedi. They arrive just in the nick of time, saving Ulic and company from their fates. The dynamic between the two is underutilized here, and the other Jedi (including Ulic’s companions and Nomi’s team) might as well not even have names. In fact, the characters on the whole in this comic are rather under developed and boring. Nomi does develop a bit as a Jedi, acquiring new skills and growing in her mastery, but Ulic remains fairly similar throughout. King Ommin looks extremely creepy, but he is far from a formidable villain, and the most visually interesting antagonist is cut down a few panels after his appearance.
                The conclusion of the story is similarly anti climatic, though we are given a pretty obvious point for the overall advancement of the series. The story is extremely clipped and brief. It doesn’t even manage to fill the entire two issues that it appeared in, and as a result, a completely random and pointless sub plot concerning two people we’ve never seen before and their fascination with Sith artifacts is thrown in. It doesn’t go anywhere in this particular work, though hopefully they will be featured again and their story will become moderately compelling.
The art is about what you would expect from the series thus far.
                As for the art, it is pretty much exactly what you would expect from the series if you’ve read this far. It features the same occasionally cheap, occasionally vibrant looking pastel colors that have become the hall mark of the series. This aspect doesn’t bother me, as the art is hit or miss, but generally pretty good. I particularly liked King Ommin’s visage, he was definitely a weird looking guy. The random cameo Jedi looked pretty good too, even if they didn’t really contribute anything to the actual story. Art design isn’t much of a problem here though the beast masters do look rather embarrassing in the few scenes in which they show up.

Ommin looks extremely frightening and is easily the best element of the art here.
                The problem is the scripting, and the awful narrative text boxes that seem to show up on every single page. Again, these text boxes are nothing more than telling us what we already know, can plainly see from the artwork, or don’t need to know. It is extremely juvenile and quite baffling to me as, this far along in the arc, you would think someone would inform our author that the text boxes are nothing more than ugly, useless eye sores. As for the scripting, most of the battles are very short, in particular the light saber duels. There isn’t much room to let battles develop any sense of intensity. The battles in this book really irked me, although they were drawn no worse than the previous issues. The content really got to me here, much like the seemingly endless amount of brief duels with disposable villains seen in Dark Empire II, the battles here are eye candy with absolutely no substance.
Pointless narration for a useless sub plot.
                The Freedon Nadd Uprising tells a story that needed to be told- how Ulic and Nomi met after clearly setting up for this in the previous arc- but it does it in the most unimaginative and boring manner possible. A fresh start on a new planet would’ve done wonders- Onderon feels spent by this point. Hopefully the series can return to the strong finish to Knights of the Old Republic- developing characters, intelligently setting up future arcs, and actually trying on the artwork, including cutting back on the absolutely terrible narrative boxes. This comic is a disappointment all around.
Final Score

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