|Star Wars: Legacy 4: Noob|
Star Wars: Legacy 4: Noob is the fourth issue of the Star Wars: Legacy comic series.
A galaxy-shaking secret is revealed in the heat of battle! Old friendships will be strained to the breaking point, unlikely new alliances will be formed, and the relentless forces of evil will pursue their dark ends with even greater vigor and purpose. In a universe on the brink of either destruction or salvation, it is the actions of an unexpected few that will determine the fates of all. The previously uncharted future of Star Wars takes a surprising turn in this latest issue of Legacy—be there!
At the Imperial Base on Yinchorr, also serving as the Headquarters for the 407th Stormtrooper Division, Anson Trask attempts to find his squad, and has a run in with Darth Maleval. Sergeant Ran Harkas steps in and saves the "Noob" from the Sith's wrath and takes him to Joker Squad, Company C, Battalion 9. There, Anson meets Jes Gistang, Hondo Karr and Vax Potorr. The troopers welcome him by inviting him to join the bet they have on how long he will live. Lieutenant Gil Cassel informs Joker Squad that Grand Admiral Veed and the Moff Council have ordered the termination of the 908th division on Borosk for defecting from the New Empire and joining the former Emperor Roan Fel and that it is Joker Squad's job to see it done.
On Borosk, Joker Squad is assigned to capture and secure the gun and shield placements along the perimeter wall of the 908th's Headquarters. After they secure the gun platform the troop is allowed to rest for the night. Anson and Jes talk about their reasons for signing up with The Empire and Jes goes on to tell the brief back stories of the other members in Joker Squad. Lieutenant Cassel is confronted by Darth Maleval who tells him that his idea of a truce with the 908th is out of the question and that an example will be made of the 908th. Hondo comes up behind Darth Maleval with a drawn blade and is subsequently Force thrown in a wall. As Maleval walks away, talk of joining the 908th or simply walking away from the fight arise but Sergeant Harkas reminds them that a soldiers duty is to complete the mission no matter the cost. One by one the members of Joker Squad agree.
The next day the squad breaches the main fortress of the 908th Headquarters and press into the main mess hall, were Vex steps on a mine and is killed. Jes is killed when enemy fire hits one of the power packs on her waist and Sergeant Harkas is severely wounded by the ensuing explosion. When the battle is over, Darth Maleval brings forth a bound 908th prisoner, Captain Jared Cassel, Lieutenant Cassel's brother and orders Lieutenant Cassel to execute his own brother. The Lieutenant refuses and as Darth Maleval raises his lightsaber to kill both men, Hondo charges the Sith's back with his sword. Darth Maleval back hands Hondo with a clenched fist before lassoing Hondo's neck with a shock whip and electrocuting him. Anson shoots Darth Maleval in the back killing the Sith and saving Hondo. It is reported that Darth Maleval and Hondo Karr were killed in battle. Sergeant Harkas is taken away by a med-droid leaving Anson the only remaining member of Joker Squad. Anson is approached by a "Newbie" looking for Joker Squad to which he replies, "I'm it." The two troopers walk away to find their transport ships.
- "I'll just add that NO ONE working on the book is IGNORING the deadlines. We're working hard to do quality work AND hit the deadline. That's why, from tome [sic] to time, we'll have fill-ins like issue 4. Except that I'm really working at using those stories to expand on the LEGACY era. You'll see what I mean as we go."
- ―John Ostrander
In June 2006, Dark Horse Comics began publishing the comic book series Star Wars: Legacy. Its initial story arc, Broken, was originally intended to span Legacy's first six issues, with series architects John Ostrander and Jan Duursema providing the script and the pencils, respectively. Noob, a standalone issue drawn by a new penciller, would follow Broken in order to give Duursema breathing room with Legacy's monthly schedule. When the design work involved with the series' launch and the demands of plotting out a new story with new characters proved more work than the creative team expected, Noob was moved up to become Legacy's fourth issue and an interlude to Broken.
Ostrander and Duursema chose to make Noob the series' fourth issue because they felt that the end of Broken, Part 3 was the most natural break in Broken's story—they believed that interrupting the arc after its fourth or fifth issue would have been more disruptive to its flow. Although Legacy's fourth issue was originally solicited as Broken, Part 4, with a projected release date of September 6, Dark Horse's official website later modified it into a solicitation for Noob, and Broken, Part 4 became Legacy's fifth issue. However, Noob's profile on DarkHorse.com has always mistakenly listed both the credits and publisher's summary of Broken, Part 4. Duursema has acknowledged the mistake.
Although Travel Foreman filled in as Noob's artist, providing both penciling and inking, Ostrander—with input from Duursema—wrote its script, as he wanted to maintain some control over Legacy so soon after its launch. He referred to Noob as a "fill-in" issue but assured fans that he was working hard to use its story to expand on the Legacy era. Brad Anderson colored the issue while Michael David Thomas provided lettering, and both Anderson and Duursema drew the issue's cover. Although Noob is not part of the Broken story arc, its cover follows the pattern used by artist Adam Hughes on the covers of the first five issues of Broken, showcasing three new characters against a bluish-gray background.
Noob's title refers to its protagonist, Anson Trask, who is fresh out of his stormtrooper training. Ostrander recalled the term from his days with the Boy Scouts of America, when it was shorthand for "newbie" or "rookie." He was unaware of its use in online circles and later stated that if he had been, he likely would not have used it, as he felt that it had the potential to draw attention to itself and distract readers from the story. Randy Stradley, the issue's editor, joked on the Jedi Council Forums that "noob" had been a replacement after Lucas Licensing had forbidden them from using "FNG." When designing Darth Maleval, Ostrander drew inspiration from the title of a novel by French writer Pierre Boulle, as he liked the sound of "Maleval" and thought that it would work well in a science fiction setting. In Noob's script, Ostrander described Lieutenant Gil Cassel as being his late twenties, but Foreman's art depicts him as an older man. Stradley claimed responsibility for the discrepancy, stating that he would have made adjustments after receiving the art if time had permitted.
With Noob scheduled for a September 6 release, a four-page preview was published on DarkHorse.com in late August. However, the issue was soon afterward pushed back to October 4 due to compounded delays from the previous issues of Broken. Duursema apologized for the delays, citing the unforeseen difficulties involved with exploring new territory. Noob was eventually released to comic shops on October 11. With advertisements, the issue is thirty-two pages long; the issue contains twenty-two pages of story.
Noob, along with issues eight through thirteen of Legacy, was later included in the trade paperback Star Wars: Legacy Volume 2: Shards, which was released on March 26, 2008. Noob is the second issue in the collection, coming after the chronologically-earlier Star Wars: Legacy 8: Allies. The same ordering is used in the hardcover omnibus Star Wars: Legacy Book 1, released on June 5, 2013. Within the hardcover's pages, both Allies and Noob follow Broken. Noob was additionally included in the Polish language omnibus Star Wars Komiks 2/2008, published on October 17, 2008; also included were the Star Wars comics Moment of Doubt, The Way of the Warrior, and sixteen pages of Star Wars: Legacy 0½. Noob's cover art was used on the front of the book. Dark Horse released Noob digitally on August 3, 2011, and the issue was later included along with the rest of Legacy and the miniseries Star Wars: Legacy—War in the digital "Star Wars Legacy XL Bundle," released on February 12, 2014.
- "I went back and forth with two pieces of reference I had on the Quarren. Since the artist for the issue had designed his Quarren around the 5 fingered Quarren, I went with that for consistency. I prefer the three fingered Quarren myself… by 3 or 5 fingers, Maleval is still a nasty lookin Sith!"
- ―Jan Duursema, on designing Noob's cover
Prior to Noob's release, its events were indirectly referenced in Broken, Part 3 by General Oron Jaeger of the Empire-in-exile. The issue sees Roan Fel retake the fortress world of Bastion from Krayt's Imperials, thanks in part to Jaeger having slowly rotated Fel-loyal stormtroopers into service on the planet. When Fel asks Jaeger if all of the troops have arrived, the general responds "The 908th has been delayed."
When designing Noob's cover, Duursema had two different pieces of reference art for Maleval's species, the Quarren—one depicted them with three-fingered hands, and the other with five-fingered hands. Although she preferred the former look, she ultimately chose to go for consistency with the five-fingered look that Travel Foreman was using on the interior art. Maleval thus has five fingers both in and on the front of the issue.
Jes Gistang's appearance in Noob made her the first named female stormtrooper in Star Wars canon, although an image of an unnamed female trooper had earlier been included in the preview issue Star Wars: Legacy 0, and Star Wars creator George Lucas had established the existence of female stormtroopers while preparing background material for 1977's original Star Wars film. Gistang's weapon was first given a name in 2009's Legacy Era Campaign Guide: the BB-23 heavy blaster cannon. The guide asserts that the cannon's power pack must be replaced after ten shots, which contrasts with Noob's claim that a new power pack is needed after just four shots.
- "A break from the main story, which shows a slice of what's happening in the rest of the galaxy. A gripping tale of the hardships of being a soldier, Ostrander at his best."
- ―JF Boivin of TheForce.net
34,346 copies of Noob were shipped to comic shops for the issue's release in October, making it Dark Horse' best-selling comic of the month and the fiftiest best-selling comic overall. It received fairly positive feedback on both the Jedi Council Forums and the DarkHorse.com message boards. A review written in 2007 for TheForce.net by writer JF Boivin graded the issue 8.5/10, deeming it "Highly Recommended" and "Ostrander at his best." Boivin praised Noob's high drama about duty and loyalty, calling it a gripping tale of a soldier's hardships and a nice change of pace for Legacy. He also complimented Foreman's art, which he felt used minimal backgrounds as a way to focus on the characters and their drama, and which he believed portrayed Maleval as effectively sinister and dangerous. Boivin was, however, critical of the word "noob" existing in the Star Wars universe.
When the Shards trade paperback was released in 2008, a staff writer for Things From Another World named Josh gave it five out of five stars, singling out Noob as a treat and a nice break from Legacy's primary storyline. Two user reviews of Shards on Goodreads.com similarly single out Noob as a highlight of the book.
- "Standing at a bold 1/6th scale and roughly 12" tall, this rarely seen but often asked for character from the vast expanded Star Wars universe is one to watch."
- ―Gentle Giant Studios describes its statue of Jes Gistang
Anson Trask, Ran Harkas, and a newly-staffed Joker Squad go on to play minor roles in Legacy's sixteenth, seventeenth, and forty-eighth issues, as well as issues three and four of the followup miniseries Star Wars: Legacy—War. Hondo Karr reappears in Legacy's twentieth and twenty-first issues as a new recruit in the Galactic Alliance Remnant's Rogue Squadron, but he deserts his post in the series' forty-first issue, which also reveals through flashbacks how he first joined the Jokers. The word "noob" appears again in Legacy 14, spoken by Captain Gunn Yage of Darth Krayt's Empire.
Various characters and organizations from Noob were given entries in 2008's The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia; and Hondo Karr, Darth Maleval, and Joker Squad are profiled and expanded upon in 2009's Legacy Era Campaign Guide. Karr's entry confirms his Mandalorian heritage, which is only hinted at in Noob. Both the Jokers and Jes Gistang specifically are mentioned in Imperial Icons, an article from 2014's Star Wars Insider 148. The Jokers are cited as a notable stormtrooper unit of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, while Gistang is named as one of the "best-known members of the rarely-explored ranks of female stormtroopers."
In 2009, Hasbro Inc. released a set of Joker Squad action figures as part of its Star Wars: The Legacy Collection line. The set includes six figures—Trask, Harkas, Gistang, Karr, Potor, and Darth Maleval. Each figure comes packaged with at least one weapon that appears in Noob: Maleval with his lightsaber and shock whip, Gistang with her heavy blaster cannon, Karr with his knife, and each stormtrooper with a blaster rifle. Advertised with the tagline "As seen in Dark Horse Comics Star Wars: Legacy No. 4," the set's packaging includes a brief summary of the events of Noob. It was sold exclusively through the online retailer Entertainment Earth. 2011 saw Gentle Giant Studios release a 1/6 scale statue of Jes Gistang, referring to her as a "rarely seen but often asked for character."
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