Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith – SPIRAL #1
Written by Jonathan Jackson Miller
Pencils by Andrea Mutti
Inks & Colors by Pierluigi Baldassini & Michael Atiyeh
Review by Joey Braccino
Thousands of years Before the Battle of Yavin (BBY, or Before Episode IV), in a galaxy far, far away, a spaceship carrying members of the Sith order was marooned on the planet Kresh. The Sith Tribe took over the planet and has been in control for a few millennia by the time Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith – SPIRAL picks up. Writer Jonathan Jackson Miller created this portion of the Star Wars Extended Universe in his Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith ebooks available on the interwebs, and SPIRAL represents the next chapter in the series.
I’ve always wanted to read a Star Wars comic book. I knew that there was this extended canon of novels and comic books that continued the merry adventures of Han and Luke and R2D2 and Chewie. I knew that there were new Jedis and new worlds and new emperors and new babies and new droids. What I didn’t know, though, was just how extensive this canon had become in the years since the respective trilogies ended. A lost tribe of Sith on a faraway planet? Stories set nearly 3,000 years prior to the events of Episode I? Did we ask for this?
No… No, I don’t think anybody ever does ask for stories like Lost Tribe. Nevertheless, Jackson Miller and Company do put together a sufficiently entertaining comic book. If it weren’t for the lightsabers and the big Star Wars banner, it could operate as an intriguing bit of sci-fi storytelling. The Sith have turned their territory on Kresh into a staunch meritocracy, where even offspring of the Sith Lords need to prove themselves worthy of attaining the privileges that the Dark Side grants. Though this does produce a semblance of order, there are hints of corruption and/or dissatisfaction within the ranks of the Sith and Kreshiri. Our “heroes” (can Sith be heroes?) in this story are Takara and Spinner, two emerging adults who are initially at odds with each other. The issue ends with Spinner being exiled to the South Pole and Takara playing stowaway on the same ship in order to redefine her life.
Again, there are some interesting questions at play—the merits of meritocracy, the role of parents in defining their child’s life, chaos versus order, heroes versus anti-heroes, etc.—but I wonder if standard Star Wars fans will be interested in the material, especially since it lacks any resemblance to anything from the film trilogies. It also doesn’t help that there is a long series of ebooks that have already established the Lost Tribe universe, as Jackson Miller spends very little time setting the scene before jumping into the action of Takara and Spinner. Yes, we need to show, not tell, but I was pretty confused despite the giant #1 on the cover.
Andrea Mutti’s artwork serves the story well. There isn’t much in way of experimentation or innovative paneling, but her linework is crisp and her action is clear. Her design for Takara is especially striking, and the character should make for a great strong female lead for the mini-series.
I can’t really recommend this book to any reader that isn’t versed in Jackson Miller’s Lost Tribe ebook series or the extended Star Wars canon. It doesn’t really feature any connections to the film continuity, so casual readers interested in reading a Star Wars story (myself included) won’t find anything here. It is a 5-issue miniseries, though, so it could pan out to be a relatively contained sci-fi tale. Time shall tell.