The first story arc of many comic books tends to be rather lifeless. The authors generally write them not as self-contained stories, but as a writer's guide establishing the major characters, settings, and situations that will carry on for years, if not decades.
The first volume of Dark Horse's KOTOR was as origin stories go fairly entertaining. Despite having the aroma and flavor of Lucas left-overs (a Jedi-centric story featuring a white teenage boy set in the midst of a galaxy-wide war populated with the same old species playing the same old roles), writer John Jackson Miller spiced things up with a couple of clever plot twists and great comic timing.
In this second volume, though, he hits his stride, delivering what has to be the funniest comic book of 2007, and certainly the funniest Star Wars comic ever. Forget Tag and Bink. Check out Del and Dob, the Ithorian brothers who woke up on the wrong side of the species. Assigned to track a likely contact of padawan fugitive Zayne Carrick, the pair set in motion a 2-chapter comedy of errors when they decide to take the initiative and capture their contact instead. Besides creating characters that are sure to be fan favorites, Miller also finds at last a voice for Gryph, a character that previously played only a role (the problem-solver who knows where to go and who to ask), but who comes into his own as a key player and comic sidekick in both stories of Flashpoint.
Miller in addition introduces two Mandalorians that will likely be appearing in future stories. The evil genius Demagol is rather crudely drawn. Outfitted in Mandalorian armor, we never see his face or learn much about him except that he is investigating the source of Jedi force abilities in order to neutralize or replicate such powers. And he enjoys experimenting on live subjects. He's prepared to have his way with Jarael when Zayne and the Mandalorian deserter Rohlan show up on the penal outpost of Flashpoint to launch an expertly crafted jailbreak. Less comic in tone than the story featuring the Ithorian brothers, Miller nevertheless manages to work in some great one-liners, like the farewell between the Jedi known as Squint - "May the Force be with you." - and Zayne - "Yeah, we'll see how that goes..."
And if that weren't enough for one volume, Miller also delivers a chapter of back-story on Lucien Draay, the leader and fixer for the murderous cabal of Jedi seers, those who hired the Ithorians and who want Zayne Carrick's head.
About the only disappointment in this volume, aside from the anemic villain Demagol, is the rotating stable of artists. I have since the Clone Wars been a fan of Brian Ching and enjoyed his work on Commencement, but in Flashpoint he delivers only two chapters out of six. And compared side-by-side with Dustin Weaver and Harvey Tolibao's pencils, I find Ching's work stiffer, less life-like, less animated.
My only other concern has to do with the KOTOR universe as a whole, which is being crafted partly by Miller, but which is also in part dictated by Lucas Arts, publisher of the two popular KOTOR video games. While reading these comics, what becomes increasingly apparent - and annoying - is that time and innovation move at a glacial pace in the SW universe. For over 4000 years Mandalorians wear the same basic armor design, hyperspace travel seems not to have improved, nor has hologram technology. Humans rely on droids that mimic human form in its crudest manufacture; their design, form and function change as little as their nomenclature. The same is true of ship form and function; space battles are waged like chess matches - powerful but unwieldy capital ships supported by smaller, maneuverable craft following set rules of engagement. Perhaps some future writer will take note of these trends and craft a story explaining how the constant wrangling of Jedi and Sith retarded technological and social progress in the Galaxy Far Far Away.