Here we are again with another look at Star Wars comics from Dark Horse. This edition is a little bulkier with more books being looked at. Check out what we've got below, it's time for Dark Side of the Horse III.

Star Wars: 30th Anniversary Collection Volume 8--Splinter of the Mind's Eye
Based on the novel by Alan Dean Foster as a sequel to Star Wars, Splinter of the Mind's Eye tells the tale of Luke and Leia as they crash land on planet Mimban. Turns out there is an Imperial mining facility on the planet, one that our duo must infiltrate in order to get either a ship to leave or radio for help. While sitting in a dive eating food that matches the setting Luke meets another force user, an old lady who knows he has use of the force and gives him a force enhancing crystal. Things take a turn for the worse as Luke and Leia get captured and guess who is on the way to visit them, dear old daddy himself Darth Vader. Doing what heroes do they escape and go in search of the crystal, the entire crystal. Traveling with an old lady, couple of Wookie-ish allies. Long story short, they travel underground, encounter from cave dwellers, fight, encounter Vader and Storm Troopers, fight, then make their way to the crystal for a showdown with the Dark Lord. This fight makes the entire volume worth the purchase as Vader and Luke face-off. One loses an arm, the other his life. The crystal is destroyed after granting new life and onto Empire Strikes Back we go.

The art is passable and the story is not bad considering it was really the first side-story in the Star Wars universe. It's interesting to see how Vader and Luke first battle one-on-one. I was happy to see they don't have Luke winning per-say, but rather just surviving. It's fitting given the power of the Sith. When it comes to the novel or the comic adaptation I'd go with the comic, it is Star Wars after all.

Star Wars: 30th Anniversary Collection Vol. 9--Boba Fett: Death, Lies, and Treachery
Ah, Boba Fett, the most bad-ass Star Wars character in the original trilogy. In Death, Lies, and Treachery we are introduced to a day in the life of Boba Fett as he serves up his services for the right price. We are introduced to Bar-Kooda, space pirate and his brother Ry-Kooda, Hutt Gorga and H'uun's Orko and his daughter Anachro. There are the five main players in a story where Gorga enlist Fett to hunt down Bar-Kooda so that he may offer him up as a peace offering to Orko in order to gain his daughters hand in marriage. Bar-Kooda has been playing havoc with Orko's ships. He pays the price which then leads to Ry-Kooda showing up wanting to eat, yes eat, everyone as vengeance. Nobody really wins; there are no good guys here just a bunch of baddies facing off with the fat ones left not singing.

The art carries a tone and color that portrays the life and world of the bounty hunter. Grungy and dark. The stories of Boba Fett are always a joy to read and this is on exception. Taking place years after the Emperors death this story of marriage, blood and betrayal could have been told anytime during Fett's life as a hunter. Overall the story leaves a feeling of watching Cops: Boba Fett as this is just one adventure in the hunter's life. These hard bound volumes offer great stories collected together and this one is a must have for every Fett fan.

Star Wars Omnibus: Tales of the Jedi Volume 1
Sith Lords battling over ascension after the death of Sith Lord Marka Ragnos and the unlikely arrival of two siblings, navigators down on their luck looking to catch a break with an unknown space lane sparks a war between the Republic and Sith Empire 5,000 years before Luke's run on the Death Star. Long isolated from each other both the Republic and Sith view the other as just myth, until Gav and Jori Daragon happen upon a the Sith Empire igniting a war that would continue to play out for centuries. This story along with shorter tales about young Jedi Ulic Qel-Droma and Nomi Sunrider make the first Tales of the Jedi a worthy addition to any collection.

What I found most interesting about this collection is it gives you a hint of the Star Wars universe before space travel, when there was still a great unknown. If Star Wars has a beginning it can be found in these tales. There is still more room to go back further, but this is a grand beginning, and one that has me ready for volume 2.

Star Wars: Legacy #17
Claws of the Dragon pt. 4, Cade's adventure with the Sith continues as he trains in the dark arts and begins to master his force healing power ... but is he really turning or just trying to control an uncontrollable situation? Darth Krayt is well aware of the fact Cade is not fully turning, but he knows no matter how much Cade tries he will turn just as his forefather did. We learn more about Darth Krayt's past, how he embraced the Dark Side. We're also updated on the rescue mission for Cade run by his mother. Legacy is one of the best comics I've read recently due to a combination of great art and an outstanding story. Don't wait, go out and get parts 1-3 of Claws of the Dragon and get caught up on the legacy of Skywalker.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #21
'They'll Kill Us All.' How can you ignore text like that on a cover of a comic, as seen in Daze of Hate part 3. This story arc for KOTOR comes to an end as Zayne Carrick and his former master Lucien form a tentative pact in order to escape Lord Adasca's clutches and mess up his plans to sell the Exogorths to the higher bidder, the Republic or Mandalorians. The plan works as Zayne makes it appear Adasca was trying to double-cross the Mandalorians all the while Camper launches his own plan and leads the Exogorths into deep, unknown space. Rohlan and the rest of Adasca's 'guest' escape and it's off to Tarsis for Zayne, thanks to the help of a surprise visitors.

I joke about the text on the covers, but it seems every issue of KOTOR tries to build up the intensity in this manner, a build up not needed as the stories inside carry themselves very way. This series, this issue, is what Star Wars should feel like with tons of action that spans universes and races. A good time to be had for sure, but I will make one complaint. The art never really captured me overall, but it does the job.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #22
With Adasca in the rear view Zayne returns back to Tarsis as he learns Gryph is indeed
alive. Reunions on planets overrun by the Mandalorian army can only go so well, a face Zayne learns very quickly as he's taken in by a swoop gang, Gryph's word keeping him alive. A reunion with Shel does not go as planned as she points a blaster at Zayne's face, looking to avenge her murdered brother with the true killer standing behind her, saber drawn urging on the kill. This is a two part story arc that will wrap up and hopefully lead into more of the great stories and art seen in the KOTOR line.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Handbook
Ever feel confused by the old Star Wars storylines? Who are all these folks, how do the tie-into the grand scheme of things? Problem solved thanks to this one-shot from Dark Horse for KOTOR. Set 3,963 years before the Battle of Yavin learn who Padawan Zayne Carrick is and how he ties into the Mandalorian Wars. Each character in the KOTOR comic is outlined with background bio including Lucien, Squint all the Mandalorians ... even the ships and planets seen in the series. This was a heaven send for me as I jumped into this series 19 issues in, and as much as I'd love to buy past volumes 18 is a lot to pony up for at one time. Very enjoyable, and really enhances the series for any reader.

Star Wars: Dark Times #5
The Path to Nowhere, Former Jedi Dass Jennir, who survived the Jedi purge, is hunting down a trader who took Bomo Greenbark wife and daughter. Upon entering the trader's mansion they learn a grizzly truth that some trading is done for food. In order to prevent Bomo from doing something drastic Jennir does it first taking care of the trader. The mourning Bomo is not thankful and reveals to their traveling companions that Jennir is a Jedi. Vader shows up for a few pages, but I never really grasped what his deal was with him. Anyway back to the story. If not for the hard bound 30th Anniversary series I would not know who Jennir was, thus removing the one interest I would have in this issue. If you know who Dass Jennir is, have an interest then check out this volume of Dark Times, if not check out another Star Wars storyline from Dark Horse.

Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Volume 9
Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Volume 10
Clone Wars Adventures delivers more of the action seen on Cartoon Network to your hand. These are not just printed version of the animated adventures but more stories, four to be exact, per volume. The animation style from the animated version along with colors and humor all remain intact. Ever wonder where the diner food Obi-Wan eats comes from? What would happen if a clone did not receive order 66 or what happens when native animals go wild? These questions and more are resolved in volume 9 and 10 of Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures. I'm a huge fan of the animated series, mainly for the fact I got to learn more about the tweens of the various movies without reading a novel. These volumes are a great read, and due to their art style are great for both kids and adults. Oh, did I mention space vampires? Yeah, there are space vampires too.

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