*Okay, so, this story opens with Camper pretending to be “Baron Hyro Margryph” & Jarael pretending to be his assistant. They’re on Telerath, a banking planet or something, in order to withdraw a lot of funds and close “Margryph’s” account. So, this is one of Gryph’s other identities, obviously, and our little pack of fugitives are going to get some of his hidden funds.
*More evidence about Gryph & Zayne awesome duo, etc.: “You can be replaced, you know that?” “Know it? It’s the thought that gets me through the day.”
*Gryph tries to convice Zayne that they aren’t doing anything dishonest. “We’re not stealing. This is my money.” “Yeah, but how’d you get the money in the first place?” I mention this exchange because Gryph’s only response to Zayne’s last question is an absolutely hilarious grin. Such great art. Gryph may turn out to be one of my favorite non-human comic characters, just purely speaking in terms of design, that is.
*There is this amazing bit where the bank account manager asks Camper for the thirty digit security code and Gryph realizes that he forgot to give Camper the document with the code on it. And, as we all know, Camper can barely remember his own name. And then Camper just coolly rattles off the thirty digit code. It’s just absolutely hilarious.
*Gryph and Zayne are just wonderfully drawn here as they panic as soon as Camper starts coolly saying numbers and then slowly realize that he’s actually managed to somehow remember all thirty digits. It’s like a page long scene and I laughed and laughed and laughed.
* “Four…nine…” “Wait! What is he doing?” “…oh…nine……one…eight…eight…” “Jarael! Make him stop! That crazy old coot is gonna get us killed!” “…nine…six…eight…” I really cannot tell you how much I love this scene.
*And the crowning touch is the ending. “Eight-four-nine-one…nine. Or something like that.”
*This is maybe displacing A Death Star is Born as the single funniest comic story in the EU. Because now enter Ithorian bounty hunters Del & Dob, the stupidest two individuals in the entire galaxy.
*The art is just amazing. I’ve never seen non-humans be this expressive. Artists seem to struggle with doing more with non-humans than just a couple of expressions, but these Ithorians are brilliantly done.
*There’s a moment in their very first scene when I swear Del says something stupid and Dob gives the reader a very Oliver Hardy look.
*Their conversations are really too complex and tortured for me to be able to pull any good quotes out. You’d basically have to just read their entire conversation to get all the funny. But they’re amazing. Anyway, Raana Tey has hired them to find Zayne, so they’re engaged in watching Camper & Jarael.
*So, they’re only supposed to follow Camper & Jarael back to Zayne, but, in a genuinely hilarious panel, they kind of forget and so they leap out of the bushes, screaming, in order to kidnap Camper & Jarael.
*This is amazing. There’s this great long panel of Jarael beaning one of them with a frying pan full of food.
*And there’s an even funnier panel of one of them headbutting Jarael. I loved this use of an Ithorian’s specific anatomy. And then she just calmly places a hand on either side of his head (as he just stands there, coolly watching her do so) and she just flings him through the air.
*I am not even joking, you guys. This comic is ******* hilarious. This is a genuine side splitter.
*Then the Ithorians grab THE BANKER and take off. Oh, there’s a twist.
*This side character, who never even gets a name, just walks off with this page. First panel, he’s just standing absolutely still, watching the Ithorians run towards him. Second panel, one of the Ithorians is blasting past him and a tray of drinks is being knocked high in the air. Third panel, he’s just standing there, covered in beverages. Final panel, Jarael & Camper dash past him. The thing that makes this so astoundingly hilarious is that it’s the exact same drawing. He never actually moves. He’s just like frozen the entire page.
*Gryph: “This is the last time I hire someone from a trash heap!” Great line.
*Zayne takes off in pursuit of the fleeing Moomo brothers (that’s the Ithorians). He’s impressed: “These guys put MY debris trail to shame!”
*So f’ing good. The Moomos kept saying they were there to watch “him,” so I assumed they meant Camper. They actually meant the banker . . . WHO IS ZAYNE’S DAD! Great, great twist.
*So damn good. Raana Tey isn’t happy with the Moomos for kidnapping the banker instead of watching him and letting him lead them to Zayne. Hilariously, they actually ran off when Zayne tried to stop them from taking his dad. So, they just frigging escaped from the guy they were supposed to capture.
*But here’s the good part. After Raana Tey signs off the comm after yelling at the brothers for a while, we get the following dialogue: “She’d be a happier person if she got more sleep.” “I’d be happier if you shut your maw.” “What’re you talking about Ma for?”
*I’d be happier if you shut your Ma. Oh, God, that’s good. Oh, I laughed until I cried.
*Also, they refer to Raana Tey as “Stripey-Head” so apparently I won’t be getting any help as far as her species from these guys.
*So, Gryph goes and finds Dob Moomo at a local bar and pretends that he’s going to sell Zayne out by turning him over to the Moomos. The art in this scene is just incredible. Harvey Tolibao, it looks like. Anyway, he’s a master. Just for Gryph’s expressions alone, this scene is a master class in characterization.
*I love this. You guys. I love this. I mean, people have been telling me this series is awesome. Well, they undersold it. It’s better than my wildest hopes.
*Gryph tries to sell Dob on Zayne: “He’s a Jedi. No—he’s a Dark Jedi. They see EVERYTHING.” “I’ve heard that.”
*The script is not so funny there, but the expression on Dob’s face as he reverently intones, “I’ve heard that” is one of the funniest things yet in this story.
*Gryph then starts trying to sell Dob on the idea of cutting Del out of the picture. There’s a series of three panels that is just incredible. “Y’know…Del doesn’t manage money well.” “This is the best thing for him.” “He eats too much when he has his own money.” “Think of his health.” “And he keeps cheating me at Pazaak.” “IT’S THE ONLY WAY HE’LL LEARN!”
*God, I hate to keep saying the same thing over and over, but the art is amazing. I love Gryph’s sympathetic, hangdog face when he says, “Think of his health.” And the genius of having Gryph just lose his **** and yell that final line, complete with flying spittle . . . I mean, that’s hilarious.
*Their ship is named the Moomo Williwaw. Of course it is.
*Okay, so here’s the whole deal behind the “coincidence” of Zayne and his dad, Arvan, running into each other. Seems the bank Arvan worked at was bought out by a consortium that includes Adascorp, Czerka Corporation & the Draay Trust. So, some shady stuff there. I don’t know Adascorp, I don’t think, but I know a bit about Czerka. They have some stuff going on later in the War I think or maybe in the Jedi Civil War with Revan. I think they’re kind of Sithy or something.
*Anyway, the bank shuttles Arvan to Telerath in order to kind of set a trap for Zayne, I guess, with the Moomos on hand to let the Covenant know when Zayne arrived to see his family.
*I really loved this moment which comes as Zayne is rescuing his dad: “Dad—you, um, never asked if I did what they said I did.” “No, we never asked . . . we know you.”
*So, Gryph shows up to the Williwaw (God, I love this series so much) with “Zayne” in tow. It’s actually Camper in a hooded Jedi robe.
*Gryph & Camper are hot on the heels of Gryph & Zayne as the awesomest duo ever: “Touch me again, Snout, and I’m gonna chop that paw off.” “You owe me, Mumblechops.”
*I am totally putting “mumblechops” in my personal bank of great insults.
*So, they rescue Arvan and escape, leaving the Moomo brothers having a fistfight (long story).
*So, the Draay Trust. Yeah, the Draay family is incredibly wealthy. Eh, some details that we’ll get into later if they turn out to be important.
*Zayne & Gryph take the lead in the awesomest duo contest again: “That reminds me. Now that you’re getting all this money, Gryph—pay me.” “Ahem. You just said the Jedi weren’t into the whole material thing.” “I’m a henchman, not a Jedi. I hench, you pay. Now pay me.” “There’s nothing left to believe in anymore. Here, this amount seems fair.” “GRYPH!” “My hand slipped! My hand slipped! This has all been very hard on my nerves.”
*There’s nothing left to believe in anymore. So good.
*As Zayne and co. get ready to head out on the run again, Arvan gets off a great line: “May the Force—start doing what it’s supposed to do, I guess.” That really perfectly encapsulates Zayne and his weirdo relationship with the Force.
*And the story ends a week after Zayne and co. head out. Arvan and Zayne’s family have moved to Dantooine to manage the Jedi Academy’s finances under the personal oversight of Vandar Tokare, the Yoda-esque Jedi that’s on the Council. Obviously, this is all to keep Zayne’s family out of the line of fire and in a place where the Jedi can protect them from the meddling of the Draays and such.
*Anyway, this was awful. I hated it.
*No, seriously, this series just continues to blow me away. It’s a real exercise in contrast, right? I mean, there’s been humor before in the series, but this story was essentially purely a lark – it’s written to basically just be a comedy. It’s not an adventure with comedy in it; it’s a comedy with adventure in it.
*And I love that this pure comedy story comes after the series’ most serious story, Homecoming. Homecoming had such a tight focus on Lucien and his past that there was really not a single moment of overt humor in it that I can remember. It was about helping us to realize that Lucien isn’t just a bad guy, he’s, in some ways, a tragic figure and the story got quite emotionally heavy and dark. And then, the very next story, you’ve got the frigging Moomo Williwaw.
*It’s also kind of clever that the two stories actually share similar themes. The Draay story is called Homecoming; this one is called Reunion. You could really have switched those titles if you wanted, so closely do these main plots resemble each other. But wildly different tones and styles.
*This series just defines masterful for me. Here’s hoping it keeps up. I have confidence that it will.
*CANONICAL STATUS: This work is of exceptional accuracy and is RECOMMENDED as a historical resource.
*Highly recommended. 4 stars.
John Jackson Miller
*Next time, something a bit different. Most of Zayne’s story is told via comics, but there are a couple of exceptions and we’ll hit one next time, a short story by Miller entitled Labor Pains.