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Tales of the Jedi series - Dark Horse Comics.

I've recently been reading the 90s Star Wars - Tales of the Jedi series from Dark Horse Comics (1994-2001). I've known these guys were around since they were current thanks to my involvement with the Star Wars Roleplaying Game at the time, but never really read the Star Wars comics until fairly recently. Tales of the Jedi is a collection of series in the Old Republic time frame, exposing the events around the rediscovery of the Sith Empire and subsequent Great Hyperspace War (5000 BBY*) and Sith War (4000 BBY), through the adventures of the Qel-Droma brothers, Nomi Sunrider, et al., the rise of Exar Kun and the redemption of Ulic Qel-Droma (3998-3984 BBY). This is the same basic timeframe as the Knights of the Old Republic and The Old Republic computer games, and 3000-4000 years before the life of Darth Bane.

I was expecting some pretty solid stuff from the Tales series, as the Tales of the Jedi Sourcebook for the roleplaying game was an excellent game supplement… what I encountered was a bit of a disappointment. The stories put forward in the comics were solid and engaging… but poorly executed. All too often, the characters and dialogue were simply melodramatic; everything was a battle between the dark and light, and they had no qualms about saying so. It was quite unnatural, really. I think Aleema and Satal Keto were possibly the most unnatural, unconvincing characters of the series… painfully so at times.
In addition to the unnatural, melodramatic characters and dialogue, I found that in pretty much all of the series (except perhaps Redemption) the authors were trying to jam FAR too much story into too few books. The result is a very big story that seems to jump and jerk rather mechanistically between scenes and events, skipping over material that would have bridged scenes and characters together in the name of just moving along. The stories really suffered from this, leaving me somewhat disengaged from the events.

The poor characterizations and jerky storytelling were super unfortunate, because the stories/plots are classic Star Wars, and the timeline and events set the stage for much of the future of the universe. The scope and conflicts were pretty great, but suffered in execution, which put some serious dampers on the enjoyment factor. Add in the art, and overall, the series wasn't nearly as good as it could have been.

The exception here would be the 1993 Knights of the Old Republic series (the first series published) and the 2001 5-installment Redemption series. Redemption was fairly well executed, following the redemption of the fallen Jedi Ulic Qel-Droma via the daughter of Nomi Sunrider, Vima. The art is a complete departure from the 80s styling of the other series, and the characters were better written, with far less jumping around between scenes and events. I found Redemption almost believable, which is a nice jump from most of the rest of the Tales.
The original Knights of the Old Republic series had decent art as well, and more traditional than that of Redemption. The tales presented were each small enough in scope that the authors didn't need to leap about to tell them, and the characters weren't over the top... Despite being he same characters used in later series. There are decent themes of failure, responsibility and reaching throughout, which are central to the characters involved.

Despite my disappointment, the events and characters of Tales are pivotal for EU canon… and I do recommend reading them. If for nothing else the Tales series provide important context to galactic history and events. Read it.

* BBY - Before Battle of Yavin

3 blog comments below

I am interested in stories of star wars around the time frame of the knights of the old republic. Have you read the book about DarthRevan yet? It was heat but the ending kinda shocked me and disappointed me because I thought of Revan as a stronger force user.

Sorry my phone is giving me issue and can't change heat to great in the above sentence
darthrevan on Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:37 pm
I haven't read the Darth Revan material, just played the Knights of the Old Republic games, and have pieced together the in-universe canon based on what I know of the various possibilities in the game plots, parts gleaned from the Darth Bane series,, the Knights of the Old Republic comics (Zayne Carrick et al.)and other sources that mention Revan. I suppose I should read the books associated with him at some point Razz
Ankhanu on Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:40 pm
Oh yeah you should read it, if you can't tell, I'm a Revan fan if you look at my avatar and signature. I also have read some fan fiction stories that were good as well. I bought the Revan book by preordering it.
darthrevan on Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:39 am

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