|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. 30,346 copies of it were released to comic shops worldwide on May 7, 2008. The events within its pages conclude an existing Legacy storyline, while simultaneously kicking off several others. Several principal characters begin to move toward where they would eventually end up at the beginning of Star Wars: Legacy: Vector, the final chapter of a crossover event that ran through all four Star Wars comic series being published in 2008. Vector's story concluded within Legacy in the final four months of the year.
Loyalties, Part 1 sees the bounty hunter Cade Skywalker and a group of his allies storm the vessel Crimson Axe on Socorro in order to retrieve the starship Grinning Liar from the pirate Rav. After successfully obtaining it, Skywalker travels to Iego in his own ship, the Mynock, in order to visit his uncle "Bantha" Rawk, but is pursued by a masked stranger named Azlyn Rae. Meanwhile, Rav solidifies an alliance with the Sith Darth Maladi, and the deposed Galactic Emperor Roan Fel prepares to send several Imperial Knights on a mission to pursue Skywalker. His daughter Marasiah speaks with fellow Imperial Knight Antares Draco, and the two discuss their feelings for one another.
Loyalties, Part 1 was Dark Horse Comics' third-highest selling comic in May 2008, and received generally positive feedback across the internet following its release. The storylines and characters that it introduced went on to play large roles in later issues of Legacy, including in Vector's finale, which saw Azlyn Rae and several other characters aid in the apparent death of the Sith Lord Darth Krayt, Legacy's primary antagonist.
- "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 over the twelve months of 2008, Vector would conclude within issues 28–31 of Legacy. Ostrander and Duursema decided that the apparent death of Darth Krayt, the series' primary antagonist, would be a large event that would conclude Vector. Nearly every issue published in 2008 served to build up to the event, moving various pieces of the story into motion. Star Wars: Legacy 23: Loyalties, Part 1, published in May 2008, was one such issue.
Loyalties, Part 1 was the first issue of Legacy since its nineteenth to feature the bounty hunter Cade Skywalker, Legacy's principal protagonist. The nineteenth issue saw Skywalker escape from the clutches of Darth Krayt, and Ostrander wrote Loyalties, Part 1 as focusing on his actions and decisions immediately thereafter. Several plotlines involving other major Legacy characters also began within the issue's pages, including the introduction of Azlyn Rae, a character who would go on to play a large role in Legacy's chapters of Vector and directly contribute to the apparent death of Krayt. Within Loyalties, Part 1, Skywalker speaks several words of Huttese, and a short glossary was included within the issue's letters column. Ostrander consulted the Galactic Phrase Book and Travel Guide, published in 2001, in order to accurately portray the language.
Duursema pencilled the issue, while Dan Parsons inked, Brad Anderson colored, and Michael Heisler provided lettering. Duursema and Anderson also designed the cover, which featured a photograph of Skywalker, his friend Jariah Syn, and their former boss 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.
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. It was eventually released to comic shops on May 7, 2008, and was later included in the trade paperback Star Wars: Legacy Volume 5: The Hidden Temple, which was published on January 21, 2009.
Cade Skywalker was created by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema in 2006 as Legacy's protagonist. Loyalties, Part 1 sees him settle some old scores with his former boss Rav before attempting to disappear into the criminal underworld.
After being rescued from the Temple of the Sith on Coruscant by his friends and allies, Skywalker joins them in storming the starship Crimson Axe on Socorro, headquarters of the pirate Rav. After battling with and defeating a group of Rav's thugs, Skywalker bullies the pirate into giving them the Grinning Liar, a starship that formerly belonged to his allies Chak and Kee. From Socorro, Skywalker travels to Iego to visit his uncle Rawk, but must reconcile with his angry romantic interest Deliah Blue en route.
Jariah Syn was developed by Ostrander and Duursema as Skywalker's co-pilot and closest friend, and was a member of Legacy's cast from its inception. He was part of the team that helped Skywalker escape from the Temple of the Sith.
Along with Skywalker, Chak, and Kee, Syn storms the Crimson Axe and uses his blaster as well as Yuuzhan Vong razor bugs to eliminate a group of attacking thugs. While taking the Mynock, Skywalker's starship, to Rawk's Nest on Iego, Syn worries over a hostile reception due to previous advances of his made on Rawk's daughter Ahnah.
The Mynock's mechanic and a love interest of Skywalker's, Deliah Blue was also a major cast member of Legacy from the beginning. Prior to the events of Loyalties, Part 1, she witnessed Skywalker kissing the Sith Hand Darth Talon, and still harbors resentment towards him.
As the Mynock travels to Iego, Blue and the astromech droid R2-D2 tinker with the ship's innards. Skywalker joins them and apologizes for his actions, and, despite some initial hostility, eventually wins Blue's forgiveness.
The pirate Rav was developed during Legacy's conception, and was established as Skywalker's former bounty hunting boss. As Loyalties, Part 1 begins, he is in possession of the Grinning Liar and is reluctant to part with it.
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
The Wookiee Chak first appeared in the final arc of the Star Wars: Republic comic series, penned by Ostrander and Duursema and published in 2006. He reappeared in Legacy partnered with the Devaronian Kee, a new character, and helped break Skywalker out of the Temple of the Sith.
Chak and Kee crew the Grinning Liar, a starship currently in the hands of Rav, and the two are rewarded for their rescue efforts when Skywalker and Syn help them retrieve the 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.
The gambling-obsessed Sakiyan Naxy Screeger is perpetually in debt. Early in Legacy's story, he was captured by Skywalker and turned over to Rav, and he began to serve the pirate to whom he owed credits.
For a sum of money, Screeger 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.
Maladi 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.
The first issue of Legacy established Emperor Roan Fel as the leader of an Empire-in-exile. Early in the series, Skywalker was briefly a guest of his on the Imperial fortress world of Bastion.
Having learned that Skywalker was a prisoner of the Sith, Fel is furious, 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 during his stay on Bastion, and prepares to send his daughter Marasiah on a mission with Krieg and Draco.
The daughter of Roan and the heir to his throne, Marasiah Fel played a large role in Legacy's first story arc, Broken, before disappearing from the series' pages for over a year. Loyalties, Part 1 marks her return to Legacy.
Marasiah 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.
"Bantha" Rawk was first introduced in Star Wars: Legacy 0, a preview issue of the series that was released prior to Issue 1. Loyalties, Part 1 sees him appear for the first time, although his identity as Skywalker's uncle would not be revealed until the following issue.
The home of Rawk and his family is under attack by the criminal organization Black Sun, who hope to bully him into paying for protection. As the various members of his family man blaster turrets and speeder bikes to fight them off, the Mynock arrives and helps them win the battle. Rawk then invites Skywalker, Syn, and Blue in for dinner.
Loyalties, Part 1 marks Azlyn Rae's first appearance in Star Wars canon. She remains unnamed until the issue's final page, and her identity as an Imperial Knight and an old friend of Skywalker's would be revealed in the following issue. She would go on to play a major role throughout Legacy's various story arcs in 2008.
Hidden behind a mask and a cloak, Rae observes the skirmish in the Crimson Axe before boarding her cloaked ship and following the Mynock to Iego. She makes planetfall after the Black Sun forces are defeated, and reports on Skywalker's whereabouts to an unseen ally.
- "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
The Sakiyan Naxy Screeger sneaks into the back door of the Golden Gorg Cantina within the starship Crimson Axe on Socorro and is immediately spotted by its owner, the pirate Rav, who chastises him for using the unmarked entrance. Screeger reveals that he has encountered the bounty hunters Cade Skywalker and Jariah Syn, as well as 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 the Galactic Empire, and responds by ordering a large 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 Force lightning to force Rav to swear 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 the 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 Galactic Emperor Roan Fel laments having ever let Skywalker leave the planet, worried that the bounty hunter betrayed Imperial secrets to the Sith Emperor Darth Krayt during his recent time as a Sith prisoner. He sends three Imperial Knights—his daughter Marasiah, Ganner Krieg, and Antares Draco—on a mission. Draco fails to answer his summons, choosing to instead sulk in the palace's gardens 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 Darth Talon. She eventually forgives him, and Skywalker shoos the 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 the 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.
Although it kicked off several new storylines, Loyalties, Part 1 also brought one to a close. Chak and Kee had first appeared in Legacy's fourteenth issue, where they revealed that Syn and Blue had borrowed the Grinning Liar before going missing. The sixteenth issue established that Rav had betrayed Syn and Blue to Darth Krayt's Imperials and had taken the Grinning Liar for himself. Loyalties, Part 1 saw Chak and Kee retrieve their ship from Rav, and marked their final appearance within Legacy's pages.
- "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. At the website Comic Vine, the issue holds an average rating of 3.6/5 from four user votes as of September 2010. Customer reviews on the website "Things From Another World" are overwhelmingly positive, with three of the four rating the issue 5/5 stars and one rating it 4/5.
The various plotlines introduced in Loyalties, Part 1 continued in subsequent issues of Legacy, affecting its story throughout 2008 and beyond. "Bantha" Rawk was 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 saw them follow Skywalker to the Jedi Order's Hidden Temple and join him on a mission to assassinate Darth Krayt. Rae played a large role in Legacy throughout 2008, also joining the mission and rekindling an old romance with Skywalker during its course. She stabbed Darth Krayt during Vector's climax, directly contributing to his apparent death. Rav's partnership with Maladi saw him lure Skywalker into her clutches on Wayland during a 2009–2010 story arc, and the Grinning Liar helped evacuate residents of the planet Dac after it was poisoned by the Sith.
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