Customer Reviews: Commencement (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Vol. 1)
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on February 16, 2007
I just recently started playing KOTOR again, and saw this book at my local comic shop and decided to pick it up. I got home that same evening and was going to browse through it while I waited for the game to load. Instead, I ended up reading it cover to cover and forgot all about the game! It's great! I became so totally immersed in the story that the next day, I went out and picked up issues 7-12. I recommend it even if you've never played the games.
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VINE VOICEon March 26, 2007
It's nearly 4,000 years before the birth of Luke Skywalker. Zayne Carrick is a Jedi initiate with some minor abilities in the Force and a ton of bad luck. Stationed with a team of Jedi masters and four peers in training on a planet on the outskirts of a war-torn region of space, Zayne is expecting to fail when the other initiates are knighted into the Jedi order. But when he arrives at the ceremony, he finds his friends dead at the hands of their masters. He escapes before he too can be murdered, and he soon finds himself on the run along with a handful of fellow fugitives.

This is the first chapter of what looks to be a fascinating story by John Jackson Miller. Brian Ching and Travel Foreman provide bold, colorful art to tell the tale. Zayne is an interesting character who, like the future Luke, is forced by circumstances to rise to the occasion. The question is, will he seek justice -- or revenge?

by Tom Knapp, Rambles.(n e t) editor
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on August 23, 2016
Story line is okay but somehow predictable. This is my first comic book reading on Kindle. I say the experience is good if you read on your tablet. Having read this on the phone was hard and looses that immersive experience from reading comic books. I say get this on your tablet or on a big screen.
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on April 20, 2013
John Jackson Miller brings knights of the old republic to life in Commencement. The mandalorian war is in action and the world of Taris is coming closer to being part of the war. Though Taris still has guardians within the jedi council, the knights are preparing upcoming padawans to take their place to protect Taris for future years to come. The class looks promising, all except one...Zayne Carrick, who has a lot of will, but lacks all other aspects and seems to fall short in almost every test. Zayne comes across a Snivvian who calls himself Marn Hierogryph, a con man, trying to push almost anything to his various customers throughout the lower and upper city. Zayne finally captures Marn after several attempts and brings him into the jedi temple, causing him to run late for his traditional ceremony to be promoted from padawan to jedi knight. Though when he arrives to the temple floor he finds that his predecessors have slaughtered his fellow padawan friends and want to end his life as well. The chase begins, but while Zayne is running for his life he realizes a few things...the jedi don't kill in cold blood, his prisoner is now his only friend, and he is the only one who can figure out what is going on. This is one of the best stories I've read from any of the books in the star wars universe. This adventure takes place after Tales of the Jedi (Star Wars Omnibus) volumes one & two and before The Old Republic - Blood of the Empire. Very well written and the art is done well also..I give this book 4.8/5 stars.
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on June 7, 2013
Great product! Great product! Great Product! Great product! Great product! Great Product! Great product! Great product! Great Product! Great product! Great product! Great Product! Great product! Great product! Great Product! Great product! Great product! Great Product! I enjoy it a lot and I'm glad I ordered it. My friend recommended this product to me as well. So I'm glad I ordered it. It's great that's all can I please stop typing now?
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on June 7, 2007
As a fan of Star Wars I was not disappointed by this book. Without giving much away, it really captured the feel of Star Wars for me with high action, comedy, some drama, and the occasional serious overtones. It both entertained me and made me think a little. It has some interesting plot points which make you think and creates a mystery type feel to the book. I'd highly recommend this to anyone: casual fans and hardcore addicts will find plenty to enjoy here. (Also, if you've ever been disappointed with other Star Wars books which seem a little too serious or sad (Tales of the Jedi), this one does a good job of not being too sad while still being true to the 'realistic' (bad things happen sometimes) feel of Star Wars.

P.S. It collects issues 1-6 of the series.
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on November 27, 2013
I can't say enough about the Knights of the Old Republic Series. It is without a doubt, the best of all Star Wars graphic novels and is on par or better than anything by Marvel or DC has put out in the past 10 years.

This is the starting point of the series and a MUST OWN for any Star Wars fan.
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Zayne Carrick is by no stretch of the imagination a great Jedi Padawan; but when he stumbles onto a startling scene, suddenly, he is wanted by the law and the Jedi Order. He ends up teaming up with a small-time scoundrel, Marn Hierogryph, and two junk yard dealers, Camper and Jarael, to flee.

I suppose I ought to toss my Star Wars nerd card out the window for my next statement. I think I'm probably one of the only self-proclaimed Star Wars nerds in existence who has never played the Knights of the Old Republic video game. (I have been remedying that by watching a fantastic Let's Play, hosted by a friend, and dayum, what fun!)

And as a Star Wars nerd, comics had never really been my thing. In later years, I've come back and tried them out, but really, a lot of Star Wars comics are meh to awful.

Not so with this comic.

John Jackson Miller and I have had an up-down relationship. Loved his "Lost Tribe of the Sith". Bored stiff with "Knight Errant", both the novel and the comic. So I had no clue what to expect with him and KOTOR. And you will be pleased to hear that he came out on the "Lost Tribe of the Sith" side of awesome.

This comic has all the fun you want in a Star Wars story AND a comic. Great characters. Witty dialogue. Intrigue. Mystery. Chases. Fights. All of it is here, and not tossed together in a salad, where the carrots get stuck all at the bottom of the bowl. No, it's put together with thought and care.

The art was great. To be honest, I tend to like art that almost seems to "disappear", if you will. Art that lets the action speak for itself, to let the narration and dialogue carry the panels, instead of funky lines, weirdly drawn people, or odd color schemes. Sure, it's fun sometimes to read a Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon type book, but when sometimes, I just want to read the story, not get caught up trying to figure out what the names of the 13 men who all look the same are.

In short: this comic was a true joy to read. It's so great, I've bought volumes 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 and have put on request the rest from the library. This is definitely one of the few Star Wars comics that I want to own and that I want to be able to go back and read and reread.

Brought to you by:
*C.S. Light*
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on July 28, 2012
This seemed like a decent start to the back story of the KoTOR games. Most of the interesting stuff is packed towards the end. The art is okay. Whoever they started using to draw some of the later comics probably does the best job. Most of the character's are good. Because it's the first volume, most of the story is establishing the characters and setting up the major sources of conflict. I like most of the characters but I wish that the main character, Zane, had a more refined companion. Gryph is just a little too cartoonish but I'm starting to warm up to this. All that being said, if you really like the KoTOR games, I would pick up these books.

The seller was also great. They shipped the item super quick and it arrived unscathed. It was practically new but they were selling it very cheap. The 4-star rating applies to the book, not the seller. They were definitely a 5.
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on February 4, 2008
It seems no one is able to come up with a fresh angle on Star Wars.

Here we have a new series set four millennia prior to the Anakin/Luke saga, a wonderful opportunity to do something different, to try on some new clothes, to even do an extensive makeover. What we get is a rearrangement of the essential elements: a Jedi-centric story featuring a white teenage boy set in the midst of a galaxy-wide war populated with the same old species playing the same tired roles.

The story is the film prequel in reverse. Our "hero," Zayne Carrick, is the evil chosen one, a padawan feared by a secret group of Jedi seers to be the next Sith Lord. Framing Carrick for murder, the Jedi cabal intends to arrest and then liquidate him - and all on a very flimsy pretense. In a seance-like trance, the seers have a joint vision of a Sith in a red suit. And, by gosh, Garrick has a red environment suit that looks eerily similar, in a trance induced dream-like way. Even George Bush had more credible evidence for his adventure in Iraq.

Zayne turns the tables by escaping and promising to hunt down every last one of the seers in order to clear his name. So rather than a chosen one who turns out to be the Jedi's nemesis, we have a supposed Sith Lord who appears set to save the Jedi - and the universe.

Admittedly, this is a clever plotting twist and not the only surprise writer John Jackson Miller has up his sleeve. In fact, given the warmed-over flavor of the concept, it's Miller's scripting and plotting chops that rescue the series from utter mediocrity. Besides a sharp wit and deft sense of comic timing, his writing is crisp and cinematic, with no exposition to slow the pace of events. He's aided and abetted by Brian Ching's pencils, some very sharp art that is sorely missed in Travel Forman's anime-style fifth chapter.

To be fair, Dark Horse and Miller may not be entirely to blame for the repackaged characters and plot devices. With two best-selling video games built around this era, Lucas Arts no doubt also had a say. While you need not have played the games to enjoy these comics, it might help if you haven't read or watched too much Star Wars. For those that have, you can play spot-the-retread:

+ Jedi obsessed with the reappearance, after a long period of inactivity, of the Sith
+ A Jedi council that despite its collection of big brains doesn't have a collective idea of what goes on among its members
+ Yoda leading the Jedi academy (actually, he has another name and a little more hair, but otherwise he's Yoda)
+ The Jedi council chamber looking the same as 1000 years later
+ A junk heap of a ship that breaks down at inopportune moments
+ Spaceships escaping pursuit in asteroid fields
+ Self-absorbed drifters and shady merchants who abandon the hero, only to return to rescue him from certain death

While Star Wars fans have come to expect this kind of patchwork storytelling in the EU, it would be of great service to the Star Wars universe as a whole if writers didn't borrow every latest addition and shoe-horn it into stories set in the far past. It makes for a static universe. In Commencement, for example, we have a Jedi talking about the "Living Force," a concept first introduced through Qui Gon Jinn. By the time it appears now in The Phantom Menace it is a tired and perhaps even trite conception. The same goes for "Shatterpoint," from the Clone Wars novel of the same name. Mace Windu's ability to perceive the universe as a woven object with points of stress, weakness, vulnerabilities - shatterpoints - is as a result of the millennial retrofit now stripped of any special associations with Windu or the Clone Wars. This same process of over-drawing from the idea-bank applies as well to species. One of Commencement's minor characters, a restaurant manager, is a Besalisk, who fans know most commonly as the four-armed biped Dex, the diner proprietor from Attack of the Clones. Besides robbing this species of a history that might have involved being discovered in the four thousand years between KOTOR and the Clone Wars, the Besalisk are now under threat for the next four millennia of being relegated to service in the food and beverage industry.

Miller and Dark Horse aren't the only ones guilty of this kind of clumsy universe crafting and I mention it here only because this volume offers a few choice examples. Despite its flaws, though, Commencement is a better than average comic and a lot more entertaining than the current novel series, Legacy of the Force. I'm looking forward to the next chapter - and hoping to see a little more originality.

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