*Editor’s Note: Okay, so first things first here. I began this chronological project quite a few years ago now; when I first began this project, this particular work, The Golden Age of the Sith, was the earliest work on the timeline, so at this point we get into some dicey territory, namely some very old reviews written by me back when I was *ahem* not so excellent a writer as I am now.
*Editor’s Note: There was also some confusion on my part about the formatting/style/intent of the reviews. At the time I wrote the old review that I’m posting (with copious new comments), I wasn’t really giving summaries of the works at hand, so I’ve taken in hand to expand the review a bit with Editor’s Notes.
*Editor’s Note: I can hear you now: “Well, then why are you posting this ancient review if it has so many problems?” Well, first of all, it is an official review I wrote for this very project and I hate to go back and just wipe it off the map. Secondly, I get into a groove fairly quickly – the reviews start getting longer, better and more like my current writing fairly quickly. So, this is a way to get a quick review of the work at hand and also to see the way I evolved as a writer. Enough preface; let’s get to the review. Expect to see lots of editor’s notes though.
*Okay, five thousand years?!? Is this trip really necessary?
*Editor’s Note: As already mentioned, when I first started this project, I thought it was kind of stupid that the EU would expand as far as it did; I thought that 5,000 years before the movies seemed a little extreme and pointless. Of course, now the EU has expanded to maybe like 200,000 years before the movie; I stand by my opinion that this is kind of dumb. Of course, what do I know?
*Okay, but since we got a big jump here, let’s once again kind of orient ourselves to how long ago this would be from us, counting Year 0 on the Star Wars timeline as the present day. Again, this is all very rudimentary research by me, so please correct me where I’m incorrect.
*Anyway, 5,000 years ago, the last ice age had definitively ended. Our ancestors and the ancestors of the animals we now know were expanded into territory previously covered by ice caps, including a lot of the plains areas of the planet.
*Now, this I find particularly interesting. The melting ice caps had raised sea levels quite substantially and so a huge flood probably hit the Mediterranean Basin really hard. A lot of historians believe that this is flood was so large that it would have seemed to be something approaching a “universal flood.” You see where this is going. This is probably the flood that created the different myths of a universal flood in the people of this geographic area, as in Epic of Gilgamesh, Book of Genesis, etc. These stories of this cataclysmic event would have been passed down orally, of course, for quite some time before they were ever written down.
*Interestingly enough this kind of corresponds to the date given to the universal flood by Biblical literalists, doesn’t it? 3,000 BCE? Like a thousand years after the earth was created in 4,000 BCE? Though they wouldn’t put the “E” on those dates.
*Couple of other things. In the Fertile Crescent, agriculture and domestication of animals was in full swing with it also going on at several other places all over the planet. This had developed slowly during the 10,000 year gap between this and the last story we looked at.
*Anybody want to add anything there? Or correct anything?
*And right out of the box, a work by Kevin J. Anderson. This is not going to be easy.
*Seriously, the time period is this work's biggest strength. It realistically takes the movies and says, "Now. Let's go back in time a LONG ways. How do things look?" This book definitely gives us a GFFA that looks very different from the films, yet remains recognizable.
*Editor’s Note: Revisiting this story not too long ago, I was struck by just how great the art really is. The story is a load of stupid, but the art is really absolutely incredible: finely detailed, esoteric, strange. Anyway, the point needs to be made, I think, that nothing else in Star Wars has ever looked this primitive. Works that came after this, some even taking place before this one, would steadfastly refuse to acknowledge that the GFFA was ever really this backwards. Stuff like Crosscurrent and The Lost Tribe of the Sith seem purposely calibrated to make it appear that the GFFA of 5,000 years before ANH actually wasn’t that different from the GFFA of the movies. I think this is a mistake, frankly; like I say, it’s the strange, primitive nature of the GFFA at this point that is really the only good thing about these comics.
*Editor’s Note: So, as this story begins, the Empress Teta is putting down some rebellious planets. Or the rebellions at least. We’re introduced to our main characters, a pair of flighty siblings name of Gav & Jori Daragon. Their parents are killed running supplies through a war zone, but ultimately, Empress Teta is victorious and the galaxy seems poised to entire a period of peace & prosperity.
*Cue running and screaming, right? Right.
*Okay, so Gav & Jori are flighty siblings who map hyperspace routes after their parents die. Needing money fast, they do a quickie that results in the loss of a supply ship. This could just as easily been a passenger freighter or something . . . We're supposed to like these people?
*Editor’s Note: So, they need this money because they’re having their ship repaired by Aarba the Hutt. He refuses to give them the ship back until they actually pay him.
*It is nice to see a Hutt that isn't greedy and even extends credits. He's the most likeable character in this book. How often can you say that about the Hutt?
*Why do all female characters in this universe wear evening dresses slit up to their thigh all the time?
*Editor’s Note: It strikes me, going back over this review, that the correct question is actually “Why don’t all women in this universe wear evening dresses slit up to their thigh all the time?”
*Editor’s Note: Okay, so this ship that was destroyed because of Gav & Jori’s horrible job at mapping hyperspace lanes . . . unfortunately for them, it’s a ship that belongs to Ssk Kahor, a Trandoshan crime lord. So, he sends some thugs after them to beat them up or maybe kill them. Couple of Jedi names of Odan Urr and Memit Nadill intervene and drive off the thugs.
*Okay, so at this point, the lightsaber is powered by a pack that you carry on your belt? Interesting . . .
*Okay, Odan-Urr is probably the most likeable character here, if only because he seems a lot like me. For one thing, he'd rather just stay with his books.
*Editor’s Note: So after that close call with the thugs, they decide to get off planet. So, they steal their ship back from Aarba and, under hot pursuit by the bad guys, they take a wild stab and leap blindly into hyperspace with no idea where they’ll end up.
*Just once I'd like to read a story where someone takes a blind leap because they have nothing to lose and then they fail utterly, dying in the process.
*Editor’s Note: Seriously, how awesome would that be? Like the main characters like take a desperate leap and then they just die and you realize that they’re not actually the main characters. What a trip.
*Editor’s Note: Okay, so, Marka Ragnos, Dark Lord of the Sith, has died. In his honor, the Sith have turned out for a huge funeral procession. During said procession, two of the other Sith Lords start arguing about which of them is going to take Ragnos’ place as supreme Dark Lord. This would be Naga Sadow and Ludo Kressh.
*Editor’s Note: Yes, the name of one of the Sith Lords is Ludo Kressh. I’m just going to let that stand.
*Naga Sadow: to be played by Ralph Fiennes.
*First Blue Glowing Spectre Alert!
*Uh, okay, so the dead Sith Lord appears to his feuding students and tells them . . . NOTHING! The scene ends with each of them saying that the cryptic remarks the Sith Lord spewed obviously mean that they are right and the others are wrong. How did this help exactly? And why did they even stop fighting?
*Editor’s Note: At this point, I really have to bring up the art, which is just fantastic. I’m no fan of the story stuff here, but this is some amazing art. The Valley of the Dark Lords, where the funeral is being held, is just breathtaking. It’s given a full two page spread and I think I could look at it for like half an hour without getting tired of it. And keep seeing new details too probably. It’s just a gorgeous, strange piece of artwork.
*None of the other characters are that great, but Naga Sadow is an interesting villain. He's a slightly more liberal Sith than the others and he's pushing for expansion. The debates are nicely rendered and are probably the best scenes in the book.
*I don't particularly like the designs of the Sith. They're too obviously Satanic in appearance, if you ask me.
*Editor’s Note: So, just when we most expect it, Gav and Jori arrive. They’re strangely optimistic upon confronting a race of beings that has all the accoutrements of the devil except the pitchfork.
*Okay, so Odan-Urr’s master is basically a brain in a jar. One of the most powerful Sith Lords is basically a head in a jar. That’s two too many 1950s B-Movie villains for me, thanks.
*Okay, I’m cutting all this Editor’s Note on every other paragraph nonsense. Just know I’m adding things and revising things, okay? That’s out of the way now, right?
*I guess Naga Sadow’s plan is workable. He breaks Gav & Jori out of the Sith prison and leaves evidence to make it appear that they were rescued by the Republic; so, he argues that this is an act of war by the Republic, which mobilizes the Sith. Meanwhile, he lets Jori escape in her ship, on which he has planted a tracker. So she’ll run back to the Republic and then Sadow and the rest of the Sith are going to follow. It’s . . . about ten times more complicated than it really needs to be, but I guess it’ll work.
*So, Sadow kills Simus, the Sith Lord that’s just a head on a plate. How? Well, he shoots him in the head of course.
*I question the efficacy of this, however. I mean, if the head has managed to survive being totally severed from the body, would shooting it really kill it? This is a pretty tough head is all I’m saying, given that it can survive without oxygen from the lungs and blood from the heart. Wouldn’t shooting it in the brain just give it a traumatic brain injury?
*NOTE TO SELF: Brain-damaged Sith head as comic side character in next fanfic.
*So, the battle scenes are well done. In terms of the art.
*So, Sadow starts training Gav in creating little illusions with the Force or something. Has there been any indication to this point that Gav is Force sensitive? They might have slipped something in there about being a hyperspace mapper and how preternatural his talents are or something. Does “preternatural” mean what I think it does? I don’t know. I really don’t know.
*Nice cliffhanger ending.
*All in all, this one is really only interesting for its historic element. It definitely shows us a galaxy very different from the films. Given that we now have Dawn of the Jedi and all that, I’m not sure that really justifies this series at all.
*The characters are pretty awful and the dialogue is risible. The comic rides right on the line of stupidity the whole time and occasionally, as in Dark Head of the Sith Simus for instance, just charges right into stupid for a little detour. Only Naga Sadow and Aarba the Hutt are really interesting at all.
*CANONICAL STATUS: Mostly discredited. Some version of these events certainly occurred around this period in the GFFA. Many characters here, like Simus and Ludo Kressh, are fabrications created by the author of this book. Other characters, like Naga Sadow, Aarba the Hutt, Odan Urr, etc., are definitely historical figures. The Great Hyperspace War occurred at around this time period, though little can be verified except that Sith Lord Naga Sadow led his forces against the Old Republic, not counting later events that will be discussed in this project. Even the existence of the Daragon twins is dubious. In short, while the Great Hyperspace War was a reality and many of the characters here certainly played a part in it, or at least lived at the time of the War, the version of events here is most likely almost entirely fabricated. With such a verdict, this work must be NOT RECOMMENDED as a historical resource.
* ½ out of **** stars.
Kevin J. Anderson
*Next time, we’ll move on to the first issue of the follow up series as we see how Naga Sadow fares against the Republic. Join me for The Fall of the Sith Empire 1: Desperate Measures.