Story: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Paolo Villanelli
Colors: Arif Prianto
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
What They Say:
Leading into Jedi: Fallen Order™ the upcoming third-person action-adventure Star Wars™ title from Lucasfilm and Respawn Entertainment, DARK TEMPLE follows the Jedi Master ENO CORDOVA and his impulsive Padawan CERE JUNDA on their most dangerous mission yet. The Jedi Council has sent them to the remote planet Ontotho to oversee the peaceful excavation of a mysterious temple that has been uncovered. But they will come to find that what surrounds the temple may be even more dangerous than the mysteries within it. Clandestine local resistance forces and ruthless corporate security troops in a war for the fate of Ontotho – and the Jedi are caught in the middle!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The interconnected nature of the Star Wars universe is one of the things I enjoy as the various media complement each other and build on each other like a proper multimedia property does. Compared to the days of old where only one aspect mattered, these pieces connect and influence. Matthew Rosenberg takes on this five-issue miniseries that leads into the upcoming new first-person game and that can set some interesting foundations. There’s a lot of stage setting here – and more dialogue than I think these books usually get – and it’s wonderfully complemented with Paolo Villanelli and Arif Prianto’s artwork. It’s very dynamic and active, diverse across several strongly defined locations, and with expressive characters that speak just as much as the dialogue does.
Taking place before the rise of the Empire, we follow the padawan Cere Junda as she’s partner with Master Cordova, an elder of the Jedi to be sure but a solid field Jedi as well who has a strong interest in understanding culture and history to settle disputes, which is key. We see that in the flashback piece that defines the run for now near the start as he works to understand the problem between a group of monks and some very angry Trandoshans. That’s not what the impulsive Cere wants to do, she wants to just get things settled, and while Cordova is away she gets caught up in some territorial stuff between some of the Trandoshans. They’re a fun race that’s getting plenty of due in the modern telling of the property in a few different places and expanding on them more is definitely up my alley. Suffice to say, it takes a wise Master to settle things and nicely chide his padawan – something that the Jedi Council does later as well.
Where the story wants to take us, and to push Cere’s training more, is to a mission with Cordova on Ontotho. This is a curious world that has recently opened up to the Republic for interactions and they’re assigned to work with the Daa company, which has discovered an ancient temple there to be examined. It’s not believed to be a Jedi temple but they’re being sent as the Republic can’t get there anytime soon and they want to keep the peace with someone who has an affinity for such work. Of course, Cere will be a problem eventually but also in that where this place is located it’s not part of the larger treaty, so there’s plenty of setup for misunderstandings. Especially since both master and apprentice discover that the Force isn’t coming through as normally does here.
I really love the artwork for this book and how the characters come across and the color work, especially on Ontotho, is fantastic. Rosenberg gets us into the characters quickly and deeply but I’ll admit that I’m a little frustrated with the impulsive padawan bit as that’s defined every main padawan we’ve followed at this point I think. Cordova’s an interesting one to follow and the Daa corporate head could be intriguing as well, especially if it adds some insights into the Corporate Sector and their view of the Separatists and the Republic. Rosenberg goes a lot wordier than I expected for a Star Wars book but the verbosity is appropriate as you have Council elders talking about the mission, Daa talking about the world in a way that fills them in on critical knowledge, and other such events. It’s welcome but it’s just surprising.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: September 4th, 2019