In Review: Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order-Dark Temple #3

A lot of fighting leads to a surprising return.

The cover: A pair of covers for fans of the Force to find. The Regular cover is by Will Sliney & Dono Sánchez-Almara and features a springy Cere Junda leaping from the left to the right. She holds her blue lightsaber high in her left hand as she strikes a cool pose in the air. Behind her are the two individuals she finds herself stuck between: her master Eno Cordova on the left and Chairman Daa. Both giant visages stare forward as if uncaring of what fate has for Junda. This is a good cover that establishes the three primary characters. I would have liked to have seen the Padawan colored a little more brightly as she blends in too easily with the characters behind her. The Variant cover by Paolo Villanelli & Neeraj Menon has Daa dominate the background, while in the lower foreground Junda and En-Threelo strike defensive poses, with the Padawan holding her lightsaber before her. I like that Daa is in lighter characters than the ones at the bottom, but the illustration is really average looking, with Daa being a generic looking anyone. Overall grades: Regular B and Variant C+

The story: As with the previous two issues, writer Matthew Rosenberg begins in the present with the Inquistor and her troopers on Ontotho looking for something that’s hidden in the village. The structures are in ruins, yet a lone Gigoran rises saying, “Defend — Defend Fylar!” Its words are cut short by the blast from a trooper. Since the survivors are fighting back, the Inquisitor believes they know something. After the troopers say they’ve discovered nothing, the Inquisitor uses the Force to collapse the floor of a ruin to reveal a secret spot. “You didn’t look hard enough…” The story then moves to “Years Earlier” where Daa’s agents have arrived to begin excavating Fylar. They find Cere Junda meditating. She tells them to leave and they refuse. She stands and ignites her lightsaber that is a call to resistance forces of the Fylari. There’s a battle that’s quick, leading to a moment for the characters to take a breather and discuss future plans before the battle returns to them. Daa gets involved in the fighting leading to a great scene between him and Cere. Daa reveals something on Page 17 that throws Cere’s goal into disarray. I love the conversation between her and this character. The end of 18 is outstanding. The conversation between two different characters on 19 is also good, with an ending that is surprising and funny. The book ends with a good cliffhanger that will have readers returning to see what’s inside a specific location. I enjoyed the battles and the return of a character. Overall grade: A-

The art: In this issue Paolo Villanelli really gets to cut loose with the action scenes. I was happy to see that a Gigoran was in this issue, as I think they look cool. Although this character looks great, the setting around it, though ruined, is really loosely defined. The setting essentially disappears on 2 and 3 with the Inquisitor walking in a space that’s fairly empty. The introduction of Cere on Page 4 is good and the close-up of her in profile that ends the page is a great focus on her. I’m a little confused by the layout of 5, with characters looking away each other, though they’re obviously supposed to be facing one another. When Cere goes into action at the end of the page she looks fierce. Page 6 is a full-paged splash of the forces colliding and it’s really good. I love how the Padawan is raging high above the other fighters. The start of the battle on 9 is good, with the final panel on the page great. The third panel on the next page contains no dialogue and is strong. This shows how accomplished a fighter Cere is. Daa’s smug smile is wonderfully arrogant, with me wanting to see someone smack it off his face. The bottom of 12 has the Padawan’s forehead becoming ginormous at the bottom of the page, which does not look good. I like how Cere’s lightsaber is shown in action on the next two pages, with it deflecting blasts and taking out a weapon. The quick work of the droids on 16 is strong. I like the tease that ends the page with the two weapons clashing. Cere’s reactions on the next page are perfect for whom she’s come face to face with. The last page reveals the location in this series’ title and it’s okay, but is fairly loosely constructed, which undercuts its importance. Overall grade: B

The colors: An incredibly strong element of this issue, and this series, are the colors by Arif Prianto. Ontotho is colored in a lot of reds. This adds a lot when there’s a battle raging, but it’s often used to create a mist on the ground, which seems designed to hide characters’ feet which have not been drawn. The intense reds on Page 3 are great to make the closing action and reveal intense. I like the reflection of light on characters’ armor and the depth the colors put into Cere’s robes. The full-paged splash could have used some more variety of colors because elements of the visual really blob up into other elements. It’s hard to find a focus on this page as well. Cere’s lightsaber stands out really well in emerald when she uses it, drawing the reader’s eyes. The only major change in colors occurs on 16 and 17. This makes this pair of pages important because they are so different from all else in this book. Overall grade: B

The letters: VC’s Joe Sabino creates scene settings, Gigoran and droid speech, dialogue, sounds, and a yell. I’m not liking the thin font used for dialogue which makes every speaker sound limp. The scene settings are fine, with them receiving the correct coloring so they don’t blend into the background. I liked the sounds that appeared, but there should have been many, many more of them. It’s not Sabino’s decision to create sounds for this book, but I know the fights would have been much more epic had they appeared. Overall grade: B- 

The final line: A lot of fighting leads to a surprising return. The story is definitely on a roll, though the visuals could be so much better with a bit more detail in the art and more variety in colors. I’m not planning on playing the videogame, but I am planning on seeing this story reach its conclusion. 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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