With Disney’s transfer of all comics fiction rights for Star Wars from Dark Horse Comics to Marvel Comics confirmed a few months ago, things are winding down for the former, who’ve been putting out Star Wars comics and encylopedias and artbooks for several years now. One of the publisher’s more recent efforts was the continuation of the Star Wars: Legacy series in a follow-up that trailed the adventures of Ania Solo and a Jedi named Jao Assam as they discovered and fought against a Sith known as Darth Wredd in Legacy II Book 1: Prisoners of a Floating World. The series is to end soon, but if Legacy II Book 2: Outcasts of the Broken Ring is any indication, then the series is going out with a bang.
This graphic novel collects issues #6-10 of the series and is being released today. I’ve read the issues separately as I bought them some time back, and decided to wait on the review since the release was so close. I loved Book 1 and I have to say that Book 2 is every bit as good, if not more. Ania Solo and Jao Assam make for some really awesome, three-dimensional characters who are not locked down in any particular roles and the overall story of their continued hunt for Darth Wredd is pure Star Wars, almost classic in its approach and tone and mystery.
Book 1 provided us with all the set-up that we needed and with Book 2 writers Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman jump into the thick of things as they expand this brave new world of Legacy II and continue the story of Ania and Jao’s hunt for Darth Wredd, who escaped to parts unknown as the end of Book 1 after a rather stunning fight against Jao Assam, Ania Solo and Master Yalta Val. Now, these two are back on the trail of the Sith and this time they do not have the blessings of the Triumvirate government since Empress Fel has pretty much decreed that as long as Darth Wredd is killing other Sith lords, they have no business getting involved and that they are just going to let the villain do whatever he wants, unless he makes an overt move against the Empire. And in their hunt for the Sith lord, Ania and Jao end up getting involved in a conspiracy that seeks to manipulate the survivors of the recent war against the Sith lords that saw many parts of the galaxy devastated.
With Book 2, the writers go big and they go big in a grand way. Now the story takes on a very mystery-thriller type feel as Ania and Jao do a lot of legwork to find Darth Wredd, even going undercover in some of the less than reputable worlds to get the information that they need. And it is glorious. A Star Wars story is nothing without a little detective work and lots of great, big, epic action, which is something that Outcasts of the Broken Ring handles quite well in fact. From one place to another, we are always right there with Ania and Jao in the trenches and it is a great feeling to see so much more of them. The fact that Corinna and Gabriel’s writing is so on point and the story is always focused on the end-goal without going into needless subplots, well, that’s just an extra dose of chocolate/whipped cream on top of a really delicious cake, which is what Book 2 is, really.
One of the more fun things about Book 1 was that all the characters were quite wonderful, whether we talk about the assassin droid AG-88 or the Mon Calamari engineer Sauk or Master Yalta Val or even the protagonists Ania and Jao or the antagonist Darth Wredd himself. There was a purpose to each character beyond the superficial and one of the characters to really benefit from this in Book 2 is that of Empress Marasiah Fel. In Book 1 she was a somewhat distant character, making decisions from afar that affected the lives of everyone in the Carreras system. Now, she is shown i a much different light as her character is expanded upon and we see just how ruthless she can be, and how callous even. I expected better of her as a character, that is true, but I liked how she is portrayed here nonetheless and I think that everything we see of her here is a big lead-up to what is going to happen with her and to her in the following issues. At least, that’s my hope.
AG-88 and Sauk don’t get to do much this time, unfortunately, but their cameos are fantastic and come at just the right moment in the story, which enhanced the tension of the narrative even more, given what Jao and Ania have to go through in the meantime. Now that was really great timing.
For much of this five-issue arc, we are following Jao and Ania and we see how these two clash with and support each other on their mission. Their differences of opinion are many, and yet they find a way to work together, so they aren’t exactly a cliched pair at all. And, most of all, the writers avoid any romantic entanglements for these two, which is great since that is a well-worn trope and would really be far too much like Han Solo and Princess Leia’s relationship in the original Star Wars (movie) trilogy. That is something that I could well appreciate and am glad to see that the writers stayed away from that temptation. These two are simply friends and acquaintances working towards a common goal and the fact that they have developed a series of shared experiences only enhances who they are and what they are to each other.
Unlike Book 1, the artist on all the issues for Book 2 is Brian Albert Thies. Consequently there are some artistic continuity issues in the arc, and in the first few pages they really put me off, but it seemed that Brian warmed up to the characters and the setting quickly and then he was on a roll for the next four-and-a-half issues. His art lacks the details of Gabriel’s own work at times, but in the end what matters is that his art is just as amazing as Gabriel’s, and that was quite satisfying since this had been a concern of mine when I sat down to read all the issues and noticed Brian’s name in the credits. Rachelle Rosenberg however is still the colourist and just as before and as on most of her projects, she delivers some really great colour-work, with changes in palettes from scene to scene, locale to locale. Generally, Book 2 has more of a darker feel to the art and Rachelle captures that brilliantly, so that was another plus point for the entire arc. It is nice to have that kind of continuity between both works and it seems that Brian and Rachelle quite well together so that’s all I care about really.
Livio Ramondelli and Agutin Alessio do the covers for the fives issues of this arc, instead of Dave Wilkins who did the ones for the previous arc. Ramondelli’s covers, for issues #6 and #7 weren’t all that to my liking but Alessio’s covers for the next three issues were pretty damn good, largely because they had a bit of stylistic consistency with Dave Wilkins’ covers from Book 1. The difference between the three cover artists is substantial and unfortunately Ramondelli’s work loses out, but still, the ideas of the covers are all great. Execution can always be improved, just the basic styles have to be solid, and that was something I had zero problems with here.
So overall, Book 2 proved to be just as thrilling a read as Book 1. The writing was definitely at par and even better in some ways while the artwork was largely similar in quality. It is great to see this series turn out so well, and as I move into the third arc, I am hoping that the experience is on the same level, at the least. So yes, recommended read and you should definitely check it out.
More Star Wars: Legacy: Book 1.
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