is the first of a three-part series, "Dreadnaughts of Rendili." The Republic is attempting to convince Jace Dallin, Rendili fleet commander and Republic ally during the Stark Hyperspace War, to defect. During the war, Rendili was self-governed but has recently joined the Separatists, a movement led by former Jedi Count Dooku, whose goal is to unify planets dissatisfied with the Republic government in order to dismantle the current administration.
Jedi Master Plo Koon and Republic Captain Jan Dodonna, also veterans of the Stark Hyperspace War, board the Rendili commander's ship. Dallin is conflicted about choosing the Republic over Rendili, his homeworld, as he's loyal to both. Before making a decision, junior officer Lieutenant Yago, labels him a traitor and leads a mutiny. Plo Koon, Dodonna, and Dallin, along with other senior officers are imprisoned.
However, the main plot of this issue is an encounter between Master Obi-wan Kenobi and Dark Jedi Quinlan Vos, with whom his friendship began when both were still padawans.
Kenobi is on his way to the planet Mycroft, whose leaders asked him to check the status of a stranded ship belonging to the Intergalactic Zoological Society (IZS), whose mission is to seek out, record, and procure specimens of the galaxy's life forms, and who have been contracted to do so by Mycroft's Exploration Corps. Though the IZS remains neutral in the ongoing Clone Wars, Kenobi is aware that despite their belief in the universality of biological research, the organization isn't exempt from being a political target.
As Kenobi's Starfighter nears the Titavian IV,
he detects a Jedi distress signal from within. The code is an old one but a Jedi signal just the same, so he docks his ship in a hangar bay.
He investigates the vessel and finds casualties before encountering Vos, who's fighting for his life against hunter-killer (HK) droids. The Jedi believe Vos defected and is now an assassin of Count Dooku's. Indeed, Vos has killed several Republic politicians injuring other Jedi in the process, and has manipulated his former padawan, Aayla Secura, into revealing vital information. Though Kenobi questions their long friendship, he casts these aside to aid Vos, as his former Master, Qui-Gon Jinn taught him to do: to give others the benefit of the doubt. In exchange, Vos offers to explain his recent actions once they're clear of the HK droids.
After escaping, the two Jedi rest. While Kenobi treats Vos's wounds, Vos reveals the reason he committed dark side acts. For months he has been deep undercover in order to infiltrate Dooku's inner circle. Few Jedi are aware of this mission--Yoda, Mace Windu, and Vos's former Master, Tholme.
Moments later, the pair are confronted by two of Dooku's minions: Dark Jedi Asajj Ventress and Skorr, each the nemesis of Kenobi and Vos respectively. A short battle ensues, and Kenobi distracts Ventress and Skorr by springing a rancor specimen from its cage, which creates an opportunity for the two friends to reach the hangar bay.
Unfortunately, the Starfighter seats only one. Vos's ship, the Skorp-ion,
broke down earlier, which is why he was on the Titavian IV
in the first place. Then the Dark Jedi arrived and Skorr impounded the ship.
Vos and Kenobi hatch an escape plan: Vos flies the Starfighter to where the Skorp-ion
is docked, then tows it back to the hangar bay, where Kenobi will remain to stall Skorr and Ventress. He still harbors doubts about Vos's loyalty but places his trust in him again.
Ventress arrives, astride the rancor, who she tamed by using the Jedi mind trick. She attempts to convince Kenobi that Vos has betrayed him, manipulated him into believing it was Kenobi's idea to stay behind while Vos retrieves the Skorp-ion.
Though he no longer works for Dooku, Ventress insists that Vos has crossed over to the dark side, reinforcing the notion that Kenobi has been abandoned.
The issue concludes with Kenobi preparing to battle Ventress, and readers are left to wonder about who Kenobi believes--his nemesis, or his old friend?
Because of my fangirlship of Quinlan Vos, I hope he's redeemed, especially since I don't want him to die any time soon. He's my current favorite character. But I peeked at the previews for #s 71 and 72, so I know he'll be captured and "brought to justice." Still, it doesn't mean that he won't be redeemed. Anyway, the Jedi aren't going to kill him because that isn't their way.
My attempt at criticism:
John Ostrander's stories are plot-heavy, in spite of the economy of words necessary for comics dialogue.
Jan Duursema, my favorite comic book artist and co-creator of Quin, illustrates the scenes superbly as usual. Her work transcends the nearly two-dimensional art of older comics and/or comic strips in its realism. She goes beyond merely depicting a scene--her illustrations contain nuances between characters that are barely detected between the text's lines.