So, ladies and gents, if you’re familiar with my comic musings here or my Twitter, you probably already know that I am a big fan of Black Krrsantan (I even named my SWGEmu character after him). As such, it should further come as no surprise that I am quite excited to read an annual story that is said to focus primarily on the background information of his character. If you didn’t already know these things, well, now you do…anyway, I feel like I’ve stalled enough, let’s get into the pits and throw down!
Doctor Aphra Annual #1
Our story begins years ago with a band of trandoshans landing on Kashyyyk to “get ourselves a rug.” We soon find out that’s not their true purpose, in fact, they work for the Xonti brothers and are after live stock for pit fighting training. They come upon a large, bound, and bleeding out wookiee that’s already unconscious…which is a trap set for potential slavers. My boy Krrsantan takes care of all but one of the trandoshans, finds out they’re actually not slavers, and volunteers to go become a fighter – which we learn straight from the trandoshan that “captured” him as he’s telling two fairly annoying, plot device journalists. They decided they “have to meet this guy.” Next we see them landing at a spaceport and being welcomed by Aphra and the murderbots, going under an assumed name, of course. They tell the journalists, one of whom has a really dumb name, even for Star Wars (Dixnet), that Krrsantan is inside waiting. The journalists banter, blah blah blah, go inside, and we find out Aphra wants in their ship for something…after enduring more journalist banter, we get back to Krrsantan’s story: he gets off the ship at the Xonti’s place with a dowutin, talz, gamorean, and something that looks like a humanoid orca…which I can’t decide if I like or not…anyway, unlike the rest, he’s unchained because he volunteered, but the first rule of Xonti fight club is “you wear the chains.” After more blah, blah, blah with the journalists, we get an awesomely-drawn couple of panels that’s a montage of Krrsantan’s training that involves trudging through snow, a blade-heavy obstacle course, some fighting (of course), avoiding a sarlacc (awesome), avoiding some kind of demon-faced rancor-esque creature (very awesome), and then fighting off either weird bugs or weird robotic bugs…I’m not sure which they were going for, but neither really seem to fit in to me…finally, we see that Krrsantan and the dowutin are the only two who made it through the training process alive and are sparring with swords. The Xonti brothers believe they’re both capable combatants, but to fetch a better price at the market, they want to improve them even more…they start by considering going full-on cybernetic enhancement, but decide that a slighter, more low-key modification is what’s best (unfortunately, it turns out that Cylo, the regrettable portion of the first Vader run, was in on this modification somehow). So they pretty much turned Krrsantan into a retractable-claw-less Wolverine. He’s a huge, badass wookiee with great fighting skills and a metal skeleton…kinda cheesy, kinda awesome…but, since I’m biased, I’ll lean toward awesome…after “one recovery later,” however long that is, he kicks the dowutin’s ass and he’s off to be sold. Before we see how that pans out, though, we see that Aphra wants to hack the journalists ship and use it to send a message…then we’re back to Krrsantan! He’s in a fighting pit with some fire hazards around it to make it extra, and it’s him vs. a weequay, a trandoshan, and some pink, fat-faced species that I can’t place. He’s holding two swords, but makes a show of tossing them down like he doesn’t need them (which he doesn’t). Krrsantan jumps into the trio, singling out the trandoshan and removing his head with his bare, enhanced hands (the panel goes sort of black and white here save some subtle color and the red of the trandoshan’s blood – reminded me of something from Sin City and I quite liked it). Next, the weequay charges, but has the dead trandoshan thrown at him, knocking him down. Then Krrsantan goes for the fleshy, pink guy, breaks his blade with his hand, and tosses him into one of the fire pits. Lastly, he grabs the last remaining combatant by the shirt, speaks to him briefly, holds him up, and has him scream, “HAIL BLACK KRRSANTAN UNDEFEATED! UNBOWED!” We find out this was the Xonti’s last rule of fight club, “showmanship.” (Side note, the main guy who’s trying to purchase Krrsantan is a Chagrian…I love me some Chagrians.) Sadly, we’re back to the journalists and story time is over because they offend him. They leave, find Aphra hanging out like nothing happened while they were gone, and they’re off. Between when they leave and when they discover that Aphra used their ship to send out the invitation for her “come buy Rur” party, we find out that Krrsantan seeks not necessarily revenge on the Xonti, since he volunteered, but owes them a kind of life debt – he vows to change their lives in the same way that they changed his…and once he does that he also vowed to “peel loud-mouthed wordsmiths,” which I wouldn’t be opposed to because I didn’t care for the two of them at all…to wrap things up, Krrsantan gets a bit of nostalgia and decides to enter the pits again. This time, it’s him vs. a besalisk and what I think looks like a crolute, Unkar Plutt’s species. We don’t get to see what happens, but based on the crowd, Aphra, and 000’s reactions, Krrsantan does quite well…
And there it is, the first Aphra Annual! If they’re all mainly about Krrsantan, may there be several more. So, what’d you think? Did you enjoy the BK backstory, or was it a dull issue for you? What do you think of his adaman…er, I mean, metal skeleton? Was it too much for you, or do you dig it? What’d you think of the journalists? Did you hate them like I did, or were they quirky and funny? Oh, and what about the orca species? Kind of reminded me of an orca version of Street Sharks…I’m actually sorta leaning toward not liking it, oddly enough…anyway, give the book a thorough second read and let me know what you think in the comments…or it’s straight to the pits vs. Krrsantan for you, sucka…TWS out.