Star Wars
Honor and Duty

Author: John Ostrander
Artists: C.P. Smith and Luke Ross
Titan Books
RRP 9.99
ISBN 1 84576 334 3
Available 25 August 2006

Young Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi and his even younger Padawan Anakin Skywalker protect a senator from assassination. Joining the Jedi in their mission is Sagoro Autem, loyal Senate Guard. Yet, as Obi-Wan and Anakin fend of a league of master assassins, Autem discovers a link between the killers that will change his own life forever - a secret he will not be able to face until the Clone Wars have comes and gone, and he finds himself on the run from the new Emperor's enforcer. Darth Vader...

Honor and Duty collects together two different stories that were originally printed in issues #46, #48 and #78 of the Dark Horse Star Wars: Republic series of comic books. Both tales revolve around Sagoro Autem, a painfully loyal Senate Guard, who puts his work before everything - much to his family's frustration.

The first tale (Honor and Duty) sees Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker employed to protect a member of the Senate from assassination. This doesn't go down too well with the Senate Guards, who feel that they are more than capable of doing their job without Jedi interference.

However, this is merely the backdrop for the main story, the life of Autem and his family. Fighting on, what he believes is, the side of truth and justice, Autem won't let anything get in the way of the greater good. However, when his son breaks the law we quickly learn that he can bend the rules a little when it suits him.

The second story (Loyalties) takes place between Episode III and IV. Darth Vader is being introduced to the troops as the Emperor's right hand man, and some of the Emperor's guards are starting to get a little concerned about their bosses motives. Autem is one of the guards that witnesses the full wrath of Lord Vader's anger and realises that everything he once held dear is crumbling in front of him.

It's not that there are any major shocks, just an interesting perspective from which to view the whole twist in the Star Wars saga - one that all Star Wars fans already know. It's the fact that you start to feel for Autem that makes this the great read that it is. It was a brave move to take a background character, that of a Senate Guard, and weave an intricate tale around how these law enforcers found themselves changing sides (from good to evil) without really realising what was going on.

This is one of the best Star Wars releases I've read in a long time - and certainly the most interesting tale I've seen that doesn't use the franchise's main characters as a crutch to keep you interested.

Darren Rea

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