“Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.”
— Babe Ruth
On April 25, 2014 Disney removed almost all published content from the last four decades of Star Wars canon and started a new era, with a “new canon.” The old canon officially became known as “Legends” and the only previously published materials considered part of new canon were the six Star Wars films, the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series and film, and some odds and ends, like the Dark Horse comic Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir and part 1 of the short story Blade Squadron.
But wait a minute, what does that mean for all the Legends comics and books? Will Disney abandon them in their mission to build out their new canon with the sequel trilogy, The Mandalorian, numerous standalone films, and a tidal wave of books and comics? Good news! Legends may be gone, but the incredible stories of that time period are not forgotten.
So for all the folks out there who love them some Legends material (like yours truly), Star Wars Legends Epic Collection is going to be right up your alley. There are eleven different collected Star Wars comic book series within the Legends Epic Collection and today we’re talking about the second and final volume of The Menace Revealed.
Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos has lost his memory! Now he must rediscover his past while searching for his Padawan, Aayla Secura! But deadly gamblers, false Jedi, corrupt officials and the pull of the dark side all stand in his way! Then, lightsabers clash as the bounty hunter Aurra Sing arrives on Coruscant, slaying Jedi in the very shadow of the Temple! A number of Jedi Knights volunteer to take action – but do they seek justice, or vengeance? And when a prison planet watched over by the Guardians comes under attack from a deadly enemy, the still-troubled Quinlan Vos investigates – but his newest assignment may be a suicide mission! Plus more tales from the Republic era of Star Wars!
What’s the skinny?
This collection contains multi-part stories, one-shots, and an overarching arc from a team of seven writers and seven artists that take readers on a journey alongside renowned maverick and Jedi Knight, Quinlan Vos. Set between the period of The Phantom Menace and The Clone Wars, fans will witness Vos confront the deadly bounty hunter Aurra Sing, become a slave to the witches of Dathomir, wage his own personal battle against falling to the dark side, escape the underbelly of Nar Shaddaa, use his legendary psychometry talents to find his lost Padawan, and confront one of the most dangerous dark side-wielding beings in the galaxy.
What’s the catch?
Technically speaking, there are nine comics that make up this collection. But as the last three are only between eight to ten pages a piece, I don’t count this as full comics, but more as short stories that were likely included as bonus content in some of the comics in this collection. Two of the three aren’t worth taking the time to read and if I had it my way, wouldn’t have been included in the collection.
As for the featured full story comics, I really didn’t care for Star Wars #27, “Starcrash Part One of One,” written by Doug Petrie and drawn by Randy Green. First and most glaring, the story is completely out of place with the rest of the collection and ongoing story about Quinlan Vos. Not only is Vos not involved, but none of the characters we meet are in any way related to the events found in the rest of the story arcs. That’s not inherently a bad thing — Star Wars is a gigantic universe with countless stories to tell, and taking a break within a long arc is sometimes nice. But this story feels completely irrelevant and on top of that, it isn’t even an entertaining read.
The art isn’t my style, but I’m not about to call it bad because of that. It’s entirely the writing that really irked me. Technically I suppose I can’t take off points for the story being included in the collection, as the editors at Dark Horse were the ones responsible for publishing this comic back when Star Wars was an ongoing under their umbrella. The real problem is that it isn’t a good story, plain and simple. Our hero is a full-blown Jedi Knight, but comes off as a barely trained, arrogant Padawan, and his ace in the hole during his bleakest moment is utterly unconvincing.
Is it good?
Menace Revealed Vol. 2 is a collection of comics from 19 years ago and the majority of it holds up very well to this day. The opening and closing multi-part stories, Twilight and Darkness respectively, bookend this collection with its two best stories. Both of these arcs come from the same creative team of writer John Ostrander and artist Jan Duursema. Of the fourteen writers and artists found in this book, Ostrander and Duursema are easily the most talented. Their stories were the most compelling, had the best characters, and looked absolutely gorgeous.
The one-shot story The Sith in the Shadow was an unexpected delight. Written by Bob Harris and drawn by Jerome Opena, the story is short, only about ten pages, but still manages to suck you in and intrigue you. I was left wanting to know more about the Padawan and his failed trial. And really, is it any shock that Opena created something beautiful?
As far as I see it, the Epic Collection series is a wonderful gift from Disney to Star Wars fans, especially as it’s one that they aren’t at all obligated to provide. I mean let’s face it, stories from Legends aren’t exactly a priority for Disney right now, so the fact that they’re bothering with this at all is a really nice surprise. The vast majority of these stories are 15+ years old and from a period of time when smaller publishers like Dark Horse Comics were telling some of the best Star Wars stories to be found, and largely under the radar. Regardless of when these stories were told, they’re an easy way to enjoy titles and characters from the Old Republic, Empire, Rebellion, and more, in a galaxy far, far away.
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