- "This war is nothing like the wars our ancestors fought! I'm tired. I stink of Flesh Raider guts. Using the Forcesaber makes it impossible to stay in balance. This war is darkness… I hate this."
- ―Sek'nos Rath
Dawn of the Jedi: Force War 1 is the first issue of the Force War miniseries, a story arc in the Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi comic book series. Written by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema and published by Dark Horse Comics on November 23, 2013, the issue begins in 25,792 BBY, one year after the events of the Prisoner of Bogan arc. Force War deals with the Rakatan Infinite Empire's invasion of the Tython system, and the first issue sees the Je'daii Order repel the Infinite Empire's Flesh Raider soldiers from the planet Shikaakwa. Force War 1 also sets up the rest of the arc, revealing Predor Skal'nas's plan to invade the planet Tython and locate the Infinity Gate rumored to exist there, as he hopes that the Gate will restore his species' declining Force-sensitivity.
- "The fearsome Rakata have invaded the Tython system, and war rages on every world. With Forcesabers in hand, the Je'daii have aligned themselves with unlikely generals: Daegen Lok, the mad Je'daii, and the stranger, the Force Hound Xesh—one the devil they know, the other the wild card they don't!"
- ―Publisher's summary for Force War 1
One year after the Infinite Empire of the Rakata species has invaded the Tython system, the Empire has conquered the planets Furies Gate, Obri, Mawr, and Ska Gora. They were repelled by the Je'daii Order at Tython, though the Rakata have established a command post on Ska Gora. The Je'daii have allied with the Settled Worlds and appointed Rajivari as the general of their joint forces, and also constructed Forcesabers with the aid of the former Force Hound-turned-Je'daii Xesh—but the weapons forced the Je'daii to draw upon the dark side of the Force. The mad Je'daii Daegen Lok has been freed from his imprisonment on the moon of Bogan and allowed to lead the Je'daii into battle against the Flesh Raiders.
When the Je'daii foresee the Infinite Empire's attack on the planet Shikaakwa, they arrange for their forces to ambush the enemy in the swamps surrounding Ryo Fortress, which serves as a command post for the Tythans. As the Flesh Raider soldiers of the Empire make their way through the swamps around Ryo Fortress, Xesh ambushes a group and engages them in battle. Xesh dispatches many of the Flesh Raiders, and when a Force Hound tries to attack Xesh, the Je'daii Ranger Shae Koda intercepts the Force Hound atop her rancor-dragon Butch. Koda kills the enemy's mount, and Xesh defeats the Force Hound when his opponent survives. Xesh and Daegen Lok then flee from a trio of destructive Rakatan annihilators, and Xesh convinces Lok to order an airstrike on their position in order to take out the enemy walkers. Despite the presence of other Je'daii in the area, Lok orders Hawk Ryo and his Hunter-class starfighters to bomb the Annihilators. Amid the chaos, the Je'daii Sek'nos Rath saves his ally Trill and ferries her out of danger. In Ryo Fortress, General Rajivari oversees the battle despite criticism from Baron Volnos Ryo, and upon learning of the successful attack on the Annihilators, he orders Masters Tave, Quan-Jang, and Tem Madog to launch their primary assault against the Rakatan forces.
The Rakatan commander, Sub-Predor Ceh'let, informs Predor Skal'nas of the heavy losses that her forces are taking, and Skal'nas allows Ceh'let to withdraw her forces to Ska Gora. Despite the Rakatan retreat, the Flesh Raiders continue to fight, and as a result Xesh orders the Je'daii to wipe them all out. Hours later, Lok gives a victory speech to the remaining Je'daii, though Sek'nos Rath storms off in disgust, as he dislikes how the Je'daii are embracing the dark side. Xesh struggles to recall where he remembers Trill from, and he and Shae Koda share a moment before Koda departs. On Ska Gora, Ceh'let openly challenges Skal'nas's authority in front of the other commanders, prompting Skal'nas to end the war conference and speak to her in private. Skal'nas explains that the Rakata are losing their connection to the Force, and that he seeks the Infinity Gate built by the Kwa species that supposedly exists on Tython. With the Infinity Gate, Skal'nas hopes to reverse the decay of his species' Force potential, and by doing so become the ruler of the Empire. However, after explaining his plans, Skal'nas then executes Ceh'let with Force lightning as punishment for challenging him.
Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi: Force War 1 is the first issue in Dawn of the Jedi: Force War, a five-part comic book miniseries produced by Dark Horse Comics. Force War is the third story arc miniseries in the series Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi, and follows the Prisoner of Bogan arc. The story for Force War 1 was written by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema, the creative team behind Dawn of the Jedi; in addition to the overall story, Ostrander handled the script and Duursema the pencils for the issue. Dan Parsons was the issue's inker, while Wes Dzioba handled coloring duties and Michael Heisler lettered the issue. The cover for Force War 1 was drawn by David Michael Beck, and Randy Stradley served as editor. Jimmy Presler, Freddye Lins, and Mike Richardson were also credited as the designer, assistant editor, and publisher for the issue respectively. The Force War arc was first announced as "Force Wars" at Wondercon 2013 on April 1, and Force War 1 was first officially announced on August 14, 2013 in Dark Horse's November 2013 solicitations. The issue itself was released on November 20.
- "Xesh has forgotten much of his life as a Force Hound of the Rakata. But he never forgot these creatures—mutated lower caste Rakata, bred in the thousands as soldiers. As weapons, hungering to kill, hungering to eat. Flesh Raiders."
- ―Xesh recalls the origins of the Flesh Raiders
The Flesh Raiders that appear in Force War 1 are a species which first originated in the video game Star Wars: The Old Republic, and the comic was the first Star Wars material outside of the game's metaseries to depict the species. Force War 1 supplies backstory for the Flesh Raiders, establishing them as mutated lower-caste Rakata, and gives a precedent for their presence on Tython in The Old Republic, twenty-four thousand years later. The issue is also the first to depict a female Rakata in Ceh'let, and introduces the fact that female Rakata have hair unlike their male counterparts. Force War 1 depicts Rajivari, a character first introduced in The Old Republic, as the general of the Je'daii and the Settled Worlds, and builds off of Rajivari's established in-game history as a Je'daii leader.
- "Shortcomings aside, Ostrander and Duursema remain the strongest and most consistent team to ever touch the franchise in comics, and Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi – Force War #1 is a stellar example of that. The force is indeed strong with this one."
- ―Comic Book Resources review
Force War 1 was released on November 20, 2013, and it was particularly well-received by critics. Comic Book Resources gave the issue 4 out of 5 stars, praising the art and the writing; Ostrander's development of the Je'daii as the precursors to the Jedi was also acclaimed. In their Best Shots Rapid Reviews, the entertainment site Newsarama gave the issue a score of 7 out of 10—while the amount of backstory necessary for the issue was seen as a potential detriment, Duursema and Ostrander's writing was well-received. According to the review, Duursema "has the look of Star Wars down to a science," and her action compositions in particular received praise. A number of other comic news sites reviewed the issue as well: Unleash The Fanboy gave the issue 4.5/5 stars, All-Comic.com 5 stars, and ComicList gave it 3.5 out of 5.
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Notes and references
- Dawn of the Jedi: Force War 1