Knights of the Old Republic vol 8: Destroyer

With volume 8 I’m coming close to the end of this series, and I can certainly understand why fans were so disappointed when it was announced that Knights of the Old Republic would be coming to an end. The pace has really picked up, and each collected volume has been well worthwhile since Vindication – and Destroyer is no exception. Picking up where Dueling Ambitions left off, Zayne’s group of misfits has just discovered Jarael’s secret – she was once a slaver. Now they all have to decide what that means for them, and where it will lead them next.

At first, for Jarael it means trying to continue to hide from her past. In the first part of this story, called Masks, the group lands on a peaceful planet with the intention of taking a respite from their adventures. But what they don’t expect is for Republic recruiters to show up, under the official sanction of the Jedi who have now joined in the fight against the Mandalorian invaders. Among these recruiters are Alek, former Revanchist but now fully supported by the Jedi, and Ferroh, a Jedi Knight who was a padawan with Zayne (but not a part of the group who were murdered). Ferroh reveals how Revan and the Jedi had a vision of what the Mandalorians had done to Ferroh’s people, massacring them, which led to the formal decision for the Jedi to join the war. Alek meanwhile has come to convince Jarael to join him; and while a part of her wants to go with him, another part feels she must atone for her past, and going with him won’t achieve that (not to mention Alek may not understand her past). When Zayne convinces Alek that Jarael is “with” him now, Alek leaves – looking that much closer to becoming Darth Malak.

Having decided to atone for her past deeds, Jarael and Zayne concoct a plan to free some slaves that her former group, The Crucible, have delivered to a mining station in the next part of the story called The Reaping. They figure it will disrupt both operations (the mining and the slavery) but what they don’t count on is how the mining operation has expanded, and how many slaves they will have to free. And when the mining corporation figures out the deception – they call in reinforcements from The Crucible to deal with the troublemakers.

This leads to the last part of the story, Destroyer – where Zayne becomes a captive of The Crucible, and learns about the secret history of Jarael from her slave sister Chantique. How Jarael’s name means Destroyer, and how she came to destroy many slaves lives, including Chantique’s. Zayne learns what the life of a slave is like first hand – while Jarael and the rest of the crew search to find him. When they finally locate him, left behind by The Crucible to sow the seeds of distrust between Zayne and Jarael – and it almost succeeds, as Zayne has seen first-hand what Jarael was capable of as a slaver. But on the final pagehe discovers that name the other slaves gave her did not mean Destroyer, but Protector – well, lets just say that things look to get interesting in the final volume of this story.

There really wasn’t anything to dislike about this volume of the story. I read it in one sitting, fully engaged and immersed in the tale at hand. I particularly liked the art in the first part by Ron Chan, and even Bong Dazo’s art in the second part – but I felt like Brian Ching’s art had taking a bit of a hit this time around (at least as far as depicting Zayne goes, as he just seemed off to me). We’ve got a great introduction to The Crucible and Chantique, including a good dose of her history, and the mystery of Rohlan grows deeper with each volume as I struggle to figure out what his interest in Jarael is. He’s very protective of her, but so far there’s no reason given as to why that is. But it should all make for a very compelling final volume, as I imagine our heroes will take The Crucible on head-first, and hopefully wrap up the mystery of Rohlan at the same time. Join me soon for a look at the final volume in Knight of the Old Republic: Demon.

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