Shiny Shelf

Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi #0

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 08 February 2012

It might be a bit difficult to review an issue “0″ of a series.

In this case, the inaugural issue of Dark Horse Comics ‘Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi’ serves as an introduction to the series, heavy on text and illustrations providing the historic and narrative framework in which this new era will take place.

For new fans, they need to know nothing – and I really mean nothing – of the the ‘Star Wars’ franchise to read this. The series takes place well over 25,000 years before the movies, and serves as an exploration of the origins of the concepts we as fans take for granted in established lore.

This new series is brought to us from the same team responsible for the ‘Star Wars: Legacy’ comic book series, John Ostrander (writer) and Jan Duursema (artist).

Full disclosure: I am a ‘Star Wars’ fan. But not rabidly so.

My initial though was to give ‘Dawn of the Jedi’ a pass. I love reading the novels, almost an apologist for the flaws of certain series (such as the 9-novel ‘Legacy of the Force’). But I don’t read everything, and I’m not one to get up in arms because George Lucas tweaked the original trilogy for the ‘Special Editions’.

I don’t care whether Han shot first or not. I just love the franchise and setting. I love the mythology it created.

I jumped aboard ‘Star Wars: Legacy’ when it came out. The series, which took place 137+ years after ‘Return of the Jedi’, was a success to a point, despite its flaws, but after 34 issues I jumped off the wagon. It was with that taste in my mouth that I wearily received the news of ‘Dawn of the Jedi’, and was not really sold on the initial concept.

After reading issue #0, I have to say I am.

If you’re new to ‘Star Wars’, ‘Dawn of the Jedi’ will be easy to get into. Issue #0 provides a wealth of background information and provides some fascinating potential for where the series will go. This is before the Old Republic was founded, before there were Sith as a polar opposite to the Jedi, and before hyperspace travel has really taken off. This is before the Jedi have formulated their Order’s codes regarding the Force.

A long-time ‘Star Wars’ fan will get a kick out of the certain ironies set up. In this era, the Je’daii (as they are referred to in this time) are comprised of a number of races, including the original Sith species. They do not favor being to close to either the light or dark side of the Force, but rather embrace balance. There are various sections of the Order devoted to exploring various aspects and applications of the Force, such as weapons, healing, and technological. There are no lightsabers, at least not in the ‘modern’ sense.

What makes ‘Dawn of the Jedi’ potentially intriguing is that it is looking at a history of ‘Star Wars’ that is mythological and mostly lost in the current era. Much in the same way fans of Greek or Egyptian mythology look back at those tales, these stories are the revelations of what happened in that galaxy far, far away – only a really, really long time ago.

It’s fresh because there is no expectation of Sith vs. Jedi or a Skywalker to save the day. While the archetypes are sure to be present – Ostrander and Duursema like to play with those, given their past ‘Star Wars’ comic book work – ‘Dawn of the Jedi’ sets itself up to be something unique and truly different.

You can find this even in the minor details, such as the designs for ships. One of my nitpicks about looking at ‘The Old Republic’ and ‘Legacy’ era stories are that the ships look mostly the same to me, with just minor tweaks. Effort has gone into giving the ships in ‘Dawn of the Jedi’ an actual feeling of antiquity.

‘Dawn of the Jedi’ #0 does a great job as being a jumping-on point for the series. It even drew in a skeptic such as myself to give the series a legitimate chance.

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By Julio Angel Ortiz

Julio Angel Ortiz maintains his collection of curiosities at You can also Like him on Facebook as well and check out his latest writing projects.