|Star Wars: Legacy 23: Loyalties, Part 1|
- "Taking control of your future sometimes means cutting loose your past!"
- ―Publisher's summary
Star Wars: Legacy 23: Loyalties, Part 1 is the twenty-third issue of the comic series Star Wars: Legacy. Within its pages, the bounty hunter Cade Skywalker and a group of his allies storm the grounded starship Crimson Axe on the planet Socorro and retrieve another starship, the Grinning Liar, from the pirate Rav. Rav afterward solidifies an alliance with the Sith Lady Darth Maladi, and deposed Emperor Roan Fel prepares to send several of his Imperial Knights on a mission to pursue Skywalker. His daughter Marasiah and fellow Imperial Knight Antares Draco discuss their feelings for one another, and the crew of the Mynock arrive at the planet Iego to find the home of their friend "Bantha" Rawk under attack from the criminals of Black Sun. They are pursued to Iego by a masked stranger named Azlyn Rae.
Loyalties, Part 1 was written by John Ostrander and penciled by Jan Duursema. Its events conclude an existing storyline while simultaneously beginning to move pieces into position in advance of Legacy's contribution to the Dark Horse Comics crossover event, Star Wars: Vector. 30,346 copies of Loyalties, Part 1 were released to comic shops worldwide on May 7, 2008, which made it Dark Horse's third-highest selling comic of the month. The issue received generally positive feedback across the internet following its release, and the following month's Loyalties, Part 2 wrapped up Legacy's Loyalties story arc. In 2009, Loyalties, Part 1 was included in Legacy's fifth trade paperback, The Hidden Temple, and it was later part of the hardcover release Star Wars: Legacy Book 2 in 2013. The issue was released digitally on December 28, 2011.
- "The pirate Rav has nearly every bounty hunter in the galaxy looking for Cade Skywalker, but he never anticipated what would happen if Cade came looking for him. Scores will be settled the unfriendly way."
- ―Publisher's summary
In the year 137 ABY, Naxy Screeger—a debt-ridden gambler in the service of the pirate Rav—sneaks into the back door of Rav's Golden Gorg Cantina, located within the grounded starship Crimson Axe on the planet Socorro. He is spotted by Rav and chastised for using the unmarked entrance, but Screeger reveals that he has encountered some friends: the bounty hunters Cade Skywalker and Jariah Syn, and the smugglers Chak and Kee, who come in with guns blazing in an effort to retrieve Chak and Kee's starship, the Grinning Liar. Rav has been in possession of the ship since he betrayed Syn to Darth Krayt's Galactic Empire, and he responds by ordering a group of his cronies to attack the new arrivals. Skywalker and his allies make short work of their foes with a lightsaber, blasters, and razor bugs, and Skywalker turns his lightsaber on Rav. Rav offers him death sticks, but Skywalker uses the threat of Force lightning to coerce Rav into swearing the loyalty oath of the Bloody Bones to him in retaliation for Rav's betrayal of Syn, a former member of his crew. Rav releases the Grinning Liar back into Chak and Kee's possession, and Skywalker and his allies depart the cantina as a masked stranger watches them from the back door.
Rav immediately contacts Darth Maladi of Darth Krayt's One Sith and reports Skywalker's whereabouts to her. She threatens death if he is ever unfaithful to her, and he swears the oath of the Bloody Bones for the second time in several minutes. Meanwhile, on the fortress world of Bastion, deposed Emperor Roan Fel of the Empire-in-exile laments having let Skywalker, at one time his guest, leave the planet. Fel is worried that the bounty hunter betrayed Imperial secrets to Galactic Emperor Darth Krayt during his recent stint as a Sith prisoner, and he sends three Imperial Knights—Ganner Krieg, Antares Draco, and his daughter Marasiah—on a mission. Draco fails to answer his summons, choosing to instead sulk in the palace's greenhouses over his forbidden love for Marasiah. She seeks him out, however, and assures him that his feelings are reciprocated, kissing him to prove the point.
As they prepare to depart Socorro in their respective ships, Skywalker exchanges farewells with Chak and Kee, who advise him to lose himself in the galaxy's underworld. Screeger is desperate for a ride offworld to spare him from Rav's wrath, and Skywalker tosses him into the smelly cargo hold of his ship, the Mynock. He and Syn then prep the ship for a journey to Iego to visit their old friend "Bantha" Rawk. En route, Skywalker seeks out Deliah Blue, the ship's mechanic and a romantic interest of his, who is tinkering with the ship and is resentful of him for having become passionate with the Sith Hand Darth Talon. She eventually forgives him, and Skywalker shoos his astromech droid, R2-D2, away as he and Blue share a tender moment.
The Mynock arrives at Iego, although it is followed by the masked stranger from the cantina. Its crew finds Rawk's home under attack by forces of the criminal organization Black Sun, and Skywalker mans his ship's guns to help Rawk's family fight the attackers off. When the threat is neutralized, Rawk invites them in for dinner. The stranger makes planetfall and reports via comlink to an unseen ally on Skywalker's whereabouts. As she concludes her transmission, she mentions her name: Azlyn Rae.
After being rescued from the Temple of the Sith on the planet Coruscant by his friends and allies, Cade Skywalker joins them in storming the Crimson Axe on Socorro and demanding that Rav return the Grinning Liar to Chak and Kee. He becomes furious with Rav for having betrayed Jariah Syn and uses a display of the Force to intimidate the pirate into giving in. From Socorro, Skywalker travels to Iego to visit Bantha Rawk, but he must reconcile with his angry romantic interest Deliah Blue en route. Although Blue berates him for having become physical with Darth Talon, Skywalker maintains that he was trying to fool the Sith into believing that he had fallen to the dark side, and that unlike Talon, Blue helps him keep the darkness away. On Iego, Skywalker mans the Mynock's guns during a battle with Black Sun.
Along with Skywalker, Chak, and Kee, Jariah Syn storms the Crimson Axe and uses his blaster as well as Yuuzhan Vong razor bugs to eliminate a group of attacking thugs. The Mynock's pilot, Syn flies the ship to Iego and worries over a potential hostile reception due to previous advances of his made on Rawk's daughter Ahnah. He later flies the ship while its crew helps the Rawk family fend off an attack from Black Sun, complaining to himself that he is never allowed to shoot things anymore.
As the Mynock travels to Iego, Deliah Blue and R2-D2 tinker with the ship's innards. Skywalker joins them and apologizes for his actions, but Blue, claiming that something is broken that can't be fixed, remains unconvinced. Skywalker eventually wins her forgiveness, along with an exasperated questioning of why she puts up with him. Blue later joins Skywalker in firing the ship's guns during the battle on Iego.
When Skywalker and his allies barge into the Crimson Axe and defeat Rav's cronies, the pirate tempts Skywalker with death sticks before receiving a shock of Force lightning. Under pressure, he swears the loyalty oath of the Bloody Bones to Skywalker and releases the Grinning Liar back into the hands of Chak and Kee. He contacts the Sith scientist Darth Maladi immediately afterward, however, and promises by the same oath to share all knowledge of Skywalker's whereabouts with her.
Chak and KeeEdit
Chak and Kee crew the Grinning Liar, a starship currently in the hands of Rav, and the two are rewarded for having assisted in Skywalker's rescue from the Sith when Skywalker and Syn help them retrieve their ship from the Crimson Axe. They participate in the skirmish with Rav's thugs before taking their recovered ship and disappearing into the criminal underworld. Chak encourages Skywalker to do the same, and Kee advises that he speak with Deliah Blue in order to discern why she is treating him coldly.
For a sum of money, Naxy Screeger—a gambler who is serving Rav in order to pay off a debt—helps Skywalker and his allies break into the Crimson Axe. Following the skirmish, he begs them to take him offworld and help him avoid Rav's wrath. Skywalker obliges by throwing him into the Mynock's cargo hold, which reeks of rotting gorgs, until they can find safe harbor.
Darth Maladi, the head of Sith Intelligence and Assassination, has employed the duplicitous pirate Rav to report to her on Skywalker's whereabouts. Rav contacts her following the skirmish in the Crimson Axe, and swears on the oath of the Bloody Bones to remain loyal to her. He has sworn the same oath to Skywalker, and Maladi declares that such a bond of trust is a tool that can be exploited.
Emperor Roan Fel, whose Imperial throne was displaced by Darth Krayt and who now leads an Empire-in-exile, briefly hosted Skywalker as a guest on Bastion. He is furious that Skywalker was a prisoner of the Sith, worried that the bounty hunter divulged Imperial secrets to his captors. Fel summons the Imperial Knights Ganner Krieg and Antares Draco to his presence, but only Krieg comes. Fel laments not having imprisoned Skywalker himself, and prepares to send his daughter Marasiah on a mission with Krieg and Draco.
Marasiah Fel, daughter of the Emperor, has completed her training as an Imperial Knight, and has been assigned by her father to accompany Draco and Krieg on their mission. She confronts Draco, who has ignored the Emperor's summons and is sulking in Bastion's royal greenhouses. Draco worries over both her safety and his feelings for her, but Marasiah assures him that she is a capable Knight of the Empire and that his feelings are reciprocated. After surprising him with a kiss, she leads him to her father to learn more about the upcoming mission.
Imperial Knight Antares Draco is in love with Marasiah Fel. After disobeying a direct order from her father, he was told to forget about the idea of ever marrying her, and he is consequently avoiding her until she seeks him out in the greenhouses. He indicates his intention to counsel the Emperor to withdraw Marasiah from the upcoming mission in order to keep her safe, but she rebuffs both the idea and his attempts to avoid her.
The home of "Bantha" Rawk and his family is under attack by the criminal organization Black Sun, who hope to bully him into paying for protection. Rawk's own family is his protection, however, and he and his kin man blaster turrets and speeder bikes to fight off their attackers. The Mynock arrives and helps them win the battle, and Rawk invites Skywalker, Syn, and Blue in for dinner.
Hidden behind a mask and a cloak, a mysterious figure named Azlyn Rae observes the skirmish in the Crimson Axe before throwing a homing beacon onto the hull of the Mynock. She then boards her cloaked ship and follows the Mynock to Iego, where she makes planetfall after the Black Sun forces are defeated and reports on Skywalker's whereabouts to an unseen ally.
- "We knew we wanted to have a big thing coming out of 'Vector.' And we figured taking Krayt out of the mix would make it a big event. It would be something that we could focus all of 2008 working up to. We spent all of 2008 moving the pieces into motion."
- ―John Ostrander
In 2006, Dark Horse Comics' Vice-President of Publishing Randy Stradley conceived of a crossover event occurring throughout all four Star Wars comic series being published by Dark Horse at the time: Knights of the Old Republic, Dark Times, Rebellion, and Legacy. His hope was that events in the crossover would genuinely affect the characters of each series, keeping existing fans satisfied while simultaneously attracting new ones. John Ostrander and Jan Duursema, the creative team behind Legacy, helped Stradley plan the crossover, which was eventually dubbed Star Wars: Vector. They were committed to telling a good story within Legacy's chapters of the tale. As a twelve-issue event that would be told in the pages of all four series throughout 2008, Vector would conclude within issues 28–31 of Legacy. Ostrander and Duursema decided that the death of Darth Krayt, the series' primary antagonist, would be the large event that would bring Vector to a close. Accordingly, nearly every issue of Legacy published in 2008 served to build up to Krayt's death, moving various pieces of the story into motion. Star Wars: Legacy 23: Loyalties, Part 1 introduces the character of Azlyn Rae, a character who would go on to play a large role in Legacy's chapters of Vector and deliver one of the the killing strokes to Krayt.
Loyalties, Part 1 is the twenty-third issue of Legacy and the first of two issues in the series' Star Wars: Legacy: Loyalties story arc. However, the "Blaster" department of the 101st issue of Star Wars Insider, released on May 6, 2008, asserts that the arc covers Issues 22–23 and is titled Home. Loyalties, Part 1 is the first issue of Legacy since its nineteenth to feature the bounty hunter Cade Skywalker, the series' principal protagonist. The nineteenth issue saw Skywalker escape from the clutches of Darth Krayt, and Loyalties, Part 1 focuses on his actions and decisions immediately thereafter. Skywalker speaks several words of Huttese in the issue, and a short glossary appears within the comic's letters column. Ostrander consulted the Galactic Phrase Book & Travel Guide, published in 2001, in order to accurately portray the language.
Loyalties, Part 1 was written by Ostrander, penciled by Duursema, and edited by Stradley. Dan Parsons inked, Brad Anderson colored, and Michael Heisler provided lettering. Duursema and Anderson also designed the cover, which features a photograph of Skywalker, Jariah Syn, and Rav. While penciling it, Duursema attempted to invoke the feeling of a photograph from the American Old West, hoping that it would reflect a happy time from Skywalker's past. Sean Cooke was also credited as Designer, Mike Richardson as Publisher, and Freddye Lins and Dave Marshall as Assistant Editors.
Loyalties, Part 1 was originally scheduled for a release date of April 16, 2008, but its publication was delayed by nearly one month due to compounded delays from previous Legacy issues. After a three-page teaser preview was published online by Dark Horse, the issue was eventually released to comic shops on May 7, 2008. Including advertisements, the issue is forty pages long; the story itself is twenty-two pages. The comic was later included in the trade paperback Star Wars: Legacy Volume 5: The Hidden Temple, released on January 21, 2009, and the hardcover omnibus Star Wars: Legacy Book 2, released on September 18, 2013. On December 28, 2011, the issue was released digitally.
- "… when Cade confronted Krayt, Talon intervened. Cade ran her through with his lightsaber, killing her almost instantly."
- ―The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, contradicting Loyalties, Part 1 by claiming that Cade Skywalker killed Darth Talon
In addition to setting up the events of Vector, Loyalties, Part 1 also brought a storyline to a close. Chak and Kee first appeared in Legacy in its fourteenth issue, where they revealed that Syn and Blue had borrowed the Grinning Liar before going missing. Issue 16 established that Rav had betrayed Syn and Blue to Darth Krayt's Imperials and taken the Grinning Liar for himself. Loyalties, Part 1 sees Chak and Kee retrieve their ship from Rav, and marks their final appearance within Legacy's pages.
Legacy's nineteenth issue saw Skywalker impale Darth Talon with his lightsaber. Although The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, later released in December 2008, claims that the act killed her, Loyalties, Part 1 in fact reveals her survival by showing her floating in a bacta tank behind Darth Maladi. The planet Iego's appearance in Loyalties, Part 1 marks its first appearance in Star Wars canon after first being mentioned in the 1999 film Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
- "Perhaps the best thing about this issue, and even the previous ones, is that it feels like you are reading a Star Wars story, which is good if you are a fan of the universe, and this was the biggest thing I liked when reading this comic."
- ―"Graceland Geek" at Geeks of Doom
30,346 copies of Loyalties, Part 1 were shipped to comic shops worldwide for its May 2008 release. It was the seventy-second highest-selling comic issue of the month, and the third highest for Dark Horse. Following its release, Loyalties, Part 1 received positive reception among fans at both the Jedi Council Forums and the DarkHorse.com message boards. A reviewer called "Graceland Geek" at the website Geeks of Doom felt that it was a filler issue where not very much happened, but praised the cliffhanger ending for leaving the reader wanting to read more. They asserted that the issue's best quality was that it felt like a genuine Star Wars story, but believed that the art was rough in some places. On TheForce.Net, reviewer JF Boivin awarded the issue 7.5/10, praising its personal story for balancing out the galaxy-shattering events of previous issues, yet still depicting the Sith as manipulating events behind the scenes. Boivin also asserted that the artistic team were at their top form and encouraged readers not to miss the issue.
- "Well, you gave me up for dead, didn't you, Cade?"
"Long time ago… Azlyn Rae."
- ―Azlyn Rae and Cade Skywalker, in the following issue of Legacy
The various plotlines introduced in Loyalties, Part 1 continued in subsequent issues of Legacy, affecting its story throughout 2008 and beyond. "Bantha" Rawk is revealed to be Skywalker's Uncle Nat in the subsequent Loyalties, Part 2, and Azlyn Rae an Imperial Knight and childhood friend of Skywalker's. The mission undertaken by Draco, Krieg, and Marasiah sees them follow Skywalker to the Jedi Order's Hidden Temple and join him on a mission to assassinate Darth Krayt. Rae plays a large role in Legacy's remaining 2008 issues, also joining the assassination mission and rekindling an old romance with Skywalker during its course. She stabs Darth Krayt during Vector's climax, directly contributing to his apparent death. Rav's partnership with Maladi sees him lure Skywalker into her clutches on Wayland during a 2009–2010 story arc, and the Grinning Liar helps evacuate residents of the planet Dac after the planet is poisoned by the Sith.
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