Kevin J. Anderson used to be considered to have written the worst works of fiction in the Star Wars prior to the release of the prequels. After the prequels the spot is held by either Karen “Jedi are Scum” Traviss or by George Lucas himself, depending on who you ask.

It wasn’t always this way. The Tales of the Jedi series, which came out contemporaneously with Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire series, and the end of the EU drought. But, were these actually good, or was their reception the “OMG New Star Wars !!!!111!1!” talking?

General Information

Title: Star Wars Omnibus: Tales of the Jedi Vol. 1
Contains the following stories

The Golden Age of the Sith
Script: Kevin J. Anderson
Pencils: Chris Gossett, Mark G. Heike, Bill Black, David Jacob Beckett
Inks: Stan Woch, Perry McNamee
Colors: Pamela Rambo, Dave Nestelle, Perry McNamee
Letters: Sean Konot, Willie Schubert

Ulic Qel-Droma and the Beast Wars of Onderon
Script: Tom Veitch
Pencils: Chris Gossett
Inks: Mike Barreiro
Colors: Pamela Rambo
Letters: Willie Schubert

The Saga of Nomi Sunrider
Script: Tom Veitch
Art: Janine Johnson & David Roach
Colors: Pamela Rambo
Letters: Willie Schubert

Available through Amazon.com

The Premise

A long, long time ago, millennia before even the events of the Knights of the Old Republic games, the Jedi Knights of the Galactic Republic faced their first struggles against the Sith.

(In The Golden Age of the Sith)

Gav and Jori Daragon are hyperspace explorers who are trying to scrape a living by discovering hyperspace routes between systems and to new systems. A blind hyperspace jump leads them to the systems of the Sith Empire, a new menace which will haunt the Republic for untold generations to come.

(In Ulic Qel-Droma and the Beast Wars of Onderon)

Ulic Qel-Droma, his brother Cel, and another Jedi are sent to the planet of Onderon to negotiate a peace between the planet’s government and the savage Beast Riders who live outside the walls of the planet’s only city. However, the government hides a dark secret.

(In The Saga of Nomi Sunrider)

Nomi Sunrider, the wife of a Jedi Knight, and a force-sensitive in her own right, goes to meet with the Jedi Master Thon, to fulfill her husband’s wishes, after he is murdered on their way to meet Thon. She brings with her her daughter, Vima, who will have an influence on future galactic events.

High Points

While the comic is very much a product of the 90s in it’s art, the art style reminds me of what I’ve read of Heavy Metal Magazine and old issues of Epic Illustrated, not in terms of the graphic violence and the nudity, but in terms of the colors and the details in the character, weapons, and environment design.

Low Points

Well… it’s a 90s comic book. The colors are very different then modern colors. They’re much more pale, on the side of pastels at points. This isn’t to say that the comic’s art is itself bad – but it is an acquired taste. Additionally, while it’s referenced in much of the Star Wars work, both in the EU and in the main continuity to come, it has its points where pieces of the plot feel clunky compared with the modern Star Wars continuity.

Content Notes

No nudity or sex. There is some blood and other violence, including the rather grisly stabbing death of a Hutt. There is no actual gore though.

The Scores

Originality: For the time this is definitely an original take on the Star Wars universe, taking the story well outside of the then established continuity, with nary a Skywalker in sight. 5 out of 6.

Artwork: I like the artwork. Again, it reminds me of some of the art of Heavy Metal, in a good way – removing the gratuitous sex and violence, but leaving a well drawn space opera story. I do have some problems telling the Sith in the Golden Age of the Sith apart, but that’s the only major problem I noticed in that story. 5 out of 6.

Story: The Golden Age of the Sith is probably the best story I’ve ever read of Kevin J. Anderson’s. The other two stories are alright, but they feel much more confined than the first story. 4 out of 6.

Characterization: The characters in Veich’s stories are much more fleshed out than most of the cast of the Golden Age of the Sith. However, Naga Sadow is certainly in the Top 5 Star Wars villains, alongside Palpatine, Thrawn and Isard. 4 out of 6.

Emotional Response: I got much more of an emotional response out of Nomi Sunrider’s story than all the rest of the stories in this volume combined. I still wanted to continue reading but the other stories didn’t get me to respond in anything near the same way that Sunrider’s story did. Mind you, I wasn’t move to tears or anything like that by any of the stories here, but I felt that I got to know Sunrider more than Qel-Droma or the Daragons. 3 out of 6.

Flow: 6 out of 6.

Overall: This is definitely some of the best Star Wars Comics that have been published, and if you call yourself a Star Wars fan you really need to read these. They’re worth your time and they’re easier to get now. 5 out of 6.

In total, the book gets 32 out of 42.