In Review: Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order-Dark Temple #2

A big improvement over the previous issue.

The cover: With a massive temple in ruins behind her, Padawan Cere Junda holds her emerald lightsaber before her, its blade horizontal. She looks intensely at the reader, showing that none shall get past her. A fine cover from Paolo Villanelli & Neeraj Menon, though the colors are so dark and washed out in places it’s hard to make out many details in the artwork, even when looking at it closely. Overall grade: B-

The story: The Inquisitor makes her way forward to the Jedi flanked by several stormtroopers who voice their concern at a direct confrontation with the outlaw. The Emperor’s tool leaps forward and pushes the woman back, who is barely able to defend herself with her lightsaber. “You’ve grown soft and slow. I expect more of my prey, old woman.” The Jedi takes a swing with her saber, but the Inquisitor leaps up and slashes the Jedi’s leg. The woman goes to her knees, and then pulls something from her back that surprises her foe. This causes the villain to literally disarm the hero. With her crimson blade at the Jedi’s chest, the Inquisitor demands where the Jedi found such an item. She is barely able to choke out, “Ah — the temple…It was in the temple…” A stromtrooper brings news that allows the Jedi to make a fateful action, leaving the Inquisitor standing alone. As she walks forward she states, “I will find this temple.” Matthew Rosenberg then moves his story to “Years Earlier” as Cere Junda wakes up in a cell. She’s being monitored by a droid on the other side of the bars who has the misfortune of having her lightsaber on a chair next to it. A quick escape has her being greeted by her captors and learning who has brought her to her location and what happened to Master Cordova. She then finds herself having to speak to the government on Ontotho and in the process learns who incited the attack that ended the last issue. There’s an excellent betrayal and battle and the end of this issue with a fantastic moment that’s at the close of Page 18. I was impressed that this moment was topped by the final page. This is a huge step up in story and action from the previous issue. Rosenberg really impressed. Overall grade: A

The art: This issue’s visuals were also a step up, starting with the work by Paolo Villanelli. The first page is a different take of the Inquisitor rushing to confront the Jedi. There’s a blast (?) of energy down the center of the image that has the antagonist racing at the reader at the bottom center. To the left stormtroopers look to the right at their leader, while the far right shows her close to her prey from a different angle. This is a very different layout, but easy enough to follow. The battle with the Jedi looks good, lots of action that’s easy to follow. I like the close-up of the Jedi in the third panel on Page 3. The action at the bottom of this page is a little difficult to understand until the text explains it on the next page. I really liked the fourth panel on the next page that clearly shows what’s occurred without any description from the text. I love the design of En-Threelo and he steals focus every time he appears. Morro looks good, but is a little close visually to Saw Gerrera. The reveal at the top of 8 is okay, but the colors blur much of the visual into a blob. That said, the temple on 10 looks great; I hope to see more off this location. The setting on 11 is also good and I love how Cere gains entrance to it; communicated in visuals rather than dialogue. The entrance in the third panel on 13 is outstanding and all it’s missing is a “Hello there.” The smiling character on 13 created so much revulsion in me; the calm demeanor of this character made me despise this person. The action on 15 – 18 is really good, with the final two panels on the latter stellar — this is exactly what I want to see a Jedi do. The last page is a full-paged splash and has someone return in dramatic fashion. I would have liked to have seen more of the background than that extreme lighting effect, but it’s still solid. Overall grade: B

The colors: Arif Prianto is using colors to establish the alien world, employing a lot of pinks and violets for Flyar. It does make the land foreign, but it also loses much of the artist’s details. The book opens in the present with the Inquisitor and the now-revealed Jedi. It’s pretty dark, but the combatants’ blades brighten up the action with reds and blues. Very cool. When Cere’s blade goes into action, the green really pops in every panel. It’s really cool. Page 8 uses colors to clearly establish an alien setting, but there needs to be more variety; it’s overwhelmingly pink and violet. Way too much. Much better is where Cere and a companion go next. When her blade is activated for battle it stands out superbly on the page. I love the green eyes that end Page 18. Due to the light source on the final page, it’s difficult for Prianto to do much, but what’s here looks very dull. This was supposed to be a triumphant moment and the colors just blob it up. Some good and some not so much for the colors this issue. Overall grade: C+

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, sounds, weakened speech and whispers (the same font), yells, and droid dialogue are created by VC’s Joe Sabino. The scene settings look good because, for once, they are colored correctly, so they don’t blend in with the visuals. There is a tremendous amount of dialogue in several panels and Sabino really has to pack it in. It seems really tiny at time, but his options are limited with what to do. What he does is fine. The weakened speech and whispers are in a smaller font than the regular dialogue, but easy enough to read. The yells are good and I like that the droid dialogue is in italics to set it apart from the living characters’ speech. A fine job this issue. Overall grade: B-

The final line: A big improvement over the previous issue that has me looking forward to the next installment. I am really enjoying Cere, with her being an excellent diplomat and a terrific fighter. I love En-Threelo and how he survives this series. The art is much better, giving the story a stronger punch. There some issues with the colors, but the letters are tad better. I want to read more about Cere! Overall grade: B

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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