When Dark Horse’s Star Wars Legacy started up I had the same feeling I had about Batman Beyond when it premiered: How can the story of a younger, edgier Jedi/Batman set in the near future/marginally less distant past be anything but a bad idea. Lucky for me Batman Beyond, as goofy an idea as it was, worked brilliantly. Had it been a tremendous failure I probably would have put of Legacy even longer than I already have.
The premise is, on the surface, a simple one: The New Republic that Luke, Leia and all the classic trilogy heroes forged from the ashes of the Galactic Civil War has fallen. This allows for some new Sith and Imperial remnants to regain power in the galaxy and leaves Cade Skywalker, decendant of Luke, to undoubtedly become the “last hope” for the galaxy.
At first this sounds a bit too much like what the original trilogy was all about, right down to the roles played by Sith, Empire and Skywalker, but there are some interesting twists. Take for instance that Cade, a ruthless bounty hunter, was a gifted Jedi healer in his youth but has turned his back on the Force and his family legacy after he taps into the Dark Side to bring his slain master back from the dead. Turned his back isn’t enough. He’s straight up cut himself off from the Force, even going as far as to maintain an (un)healthy Death Stick habit to keep himself out of touch from both the Force and the frequent ghostly visits of a now dead Luke Skywalker.
Cade’s renouncement of the Force and day job as a gun-for-hire isn’t nearly as interesting as the New Empire and Sith agents. Darth Krayt has assembled a small group of Sith Lords, completely ignoring the long held Sith Rule of Two, something that has greatly upset the spirits of his Sith fore-bearers. He is also a very vulnerable villain, having been afflicted by some sort of corruption or disease that has him in a weakened state when behind closed doors and gives him reason to want to hunt down this story’s particular Young Skywalker.
The Empire, though aided in regaining power by the Sith, doesn’t trust them, which is wise given Krayt’s immediate assumption of power once the Republic and Jedi are defeated. This is an Empire that employed the service of elite soldiers who appear to be neither Jedi or Sith but are no less skilled in their ways. They even appear willing to work alongside Jedi to get to a mutaually sought end–the destruction of the Sith.
Broken, like any opening act, serves to set up the pieces. We learn who Cade was, is and why he’s chosen his life. We get a glimpse of two powerful evils once united now gathering arms against one another. What I had expected to be the same ol’ galaxy in more of the same ol’ turmoil is actually fresh. While I always liked the Tales of the Jedi stories because of their distance from the events and characters of the films, this is a surprisingly interesting spin on the Skywalker legacy. So long as Han’s ghost doesn’t show up to coach Cade on hyperdrive motivator maintenance I think I’ll be reading this one for a while.