Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm #4 by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema (2012, Dark Horse)
The penultimate issue of Force Storm, the first five-issue Dawn of the Jedi miniseries, has the elder Jed’aii attempting to locate the three young Jed’aii protagonists and unravel the mystery of the Force storm that began with the crash landing of Xesh’s ship on Tython.
Meanwhile, Shae, Tasha, and Sek’nos, after a strange encounter in a cave, find Xesh, rushing to defend him from a vicious, lightning-breathing creature.
For the most part, however, this issue spends its panels expounding on Xesh’s past as a gladiator, fighting to the death for the entertainment of his Rakatan masters.
As I mentioned above, the three “Journeyer” Jed’aii, before saving the ass of an extremely ungrateful Xesh, encounter some definite weirdness in a cave they come across. Shae sees a vision of her dead parents and goes utterly ballistic, lashing out at her companions. It’s good to address these tensions arising from the characters’ baggage, but this incident has a very abrupt and clunky feel about it. One could argue that the sudden mood swing is the dark side at work (this cave clearly has some Dagobah cave-style bad mojo going on) but some build-up before tense sequences like this one is usually necessary for them to be dramatically effective. Furthermore, the solution to all of this sudden strife was equally sudden, feeling easy and cheap.
Overall, Xesh fighting his way out of a nest of spiders and the flashbacks to his past were cool, but much of the issue— such as two pages featuring the Jed’aii Rangers for little more reason than to remind us that they exist— felt like unnecessary padding.
I was hoping, given that Dawn of the Jedi’s third issue was strong, that the series was on a steady, upward climb. Unfortunately, the new issue hasn’t maintained that trend. The majority of it is solid, but there’s just enough weak material to significantly detract from the issue as a whole.
Hopefully next month’s fifth issue will be a satisfying conclusion to Force Storm. In the meantime, check back in two days for the regular Friday review.