I had time to read them all after I was laid up after foot surgery. This series, which began in and ran until , was one of the first stories to be told in the Expanded Universe after the Star Wars franchise had pretty much died out. There was of course the Marvel comic book series which told stories about Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo until when it was canceled.
Back then Lucas still had input in these materials. The first two graphic novels are about the origin of the Sith race and how they came to be controlled by a Dark Jedi. Now the word Sith goes hand in hand with the term Dark Jedi, but the Sith were originally a red-skinned humanoid race that formed the basis of a Dark Side empire on the other side of the galaxy from the Old Republic. In this time the galaxy is not yet fully explored.
Hyperspace jumps are extremely dangerous because navigation computers have not been invented yet. So only the bravest or most desperate explorers take random jumps hoping to find a new trade route and gain wealth and fame. A brother and sister team accidentally discover a Sith homeworld and inadvertently lead them back to the Old Republic.
And so begins the first Sith War. Lightsabers have cords connected to power packs that were worn on the back or belt. After this introductory story, the narrative then leaps forward a thousand years. The later five graphic novels all tell a connected self-contained story with the same characters.
This is where it gets good. Their masters are good characters as well but it is the students who have the greatest character arcs. I especially liked Nomi Sunrider, someone who never wanted to be a Jedi Knight. I love this cover by Dave Dorman of the moment Nomi first picks up a lightsaber and realizes that she is a Force sensitive. It has such a mythic-religious aura about it.
I even like how Dorman painted the rim lighting on her hair to resemble a halo. Her husband is a Jedi Knight who is surprised and murdered by a band of thieves. To protect her child she picks up his lightsaber and cuts them all down with remarkable ease. But throughout the story she is a true pacifist and refuses to pick up a lightsaber again. She is not merely Luke with boobs as Rey is but a feminine mother protector. She eventually falls in love with the doomed Jedi Ulic Qel-Droma.
The story centers on a resurgence of Sith power on a backwater planet. Ancient Sith texts and artifacts from the previous story are discovered and once the dark techniques are mastered, the new Sith begin to easily start taking over again. One of the brothers in the story, Ulic Qel-Droma thinks that he can learn to control the Dark Side, but as always, he succumbs to it and joins the enemy.
So you end up with brother vs. The art in the series is not the best, but it is also not the worst. Star Wars was not a best-selling property then so they had to make do with what they had. One interesting thing the editors did was have one artist draw the characters and another draw all the tech like ships and weapons. What really makes this series great is that it was adapted into a series of audio dramas sold on cassette and CD.
These were full productions with professional actors, sound effects, and music. I am kind of surprised at how well these radio plays brought this story to life and elevated the characters in my mind. The audio drama stops mid-way through the saga. The audio drama is essentially a film without the pictures. The entire story was also released in a series of two large omnibus editions from Dark Horse. It takes place 40 years after these events.