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REVIEW: STAR WARS COMIC PACK - COMMANDER FAIE & QUINLAN VOS
By Thomas Wheeler

I'm always up for adding new Clone Troopers to my Star Wars Legacy Collection. These days, however, it seems that most of the Clones are, perhaps not surprisingly, in the Clone Wars collection. But there are exceptions here and there.

One of those exceptions was a recent Star Wars Comic Pack, featuring Clone Commander Faie and Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos. These two characters have quite a history.

Quinlan Vos was created by Dark Horse Comics for their series of Star Wars comics which would take place during the Clone Wars, between Episodes II and III of the movies. Operating undercover to infiltrate the Separatists and get close to Count Dooku, it was never entirely certain just which side Vos was really working. Other Jedi had joined with Dooku here and there, and Vos had long struggled with the Dark Side.

The character was so well received that he earned a mention in the third movie -- you'll hear Obi-Wan bringing Anakin up to date on the war by stating that "Master Vos has moved his troops to Boz Pity." There were some plans to even cast the character and show him in the film, at least long enough to meet his end with the execution of Order 66. This ultimately didn't happen, which may be just as well for Vos' sake, as in the comics, he was shown as surviving, after dealing with the Clones that were sent after him.

Commander Faie commanded those Clones. After Quinlan Vos ended his covert work and rejoined the Jedi, he was given command of a contingent of Clone Troopers that ultimately wound up on Kashyyyk fighting alongside Yoda's troops, as well as those of Jedi Master Luminara Unduli. Vos and Faie clashed even before Order 66 was given. Vos was, not surprisingly, a rule-bender. And he didn't like Clones. Faie was a by-the-book soldier. Everything was to be done by the regulations. But, since the Clones were genetically engineered to follow orders given to them by Jedi without question, Faie found himself having to follow Vos' direct orders on several occasions when he disagreed with those orders, whether he liked it or not -- and he categorically didn't.

One can't help but suspect that in Faie's case, when Order 66 came through, his first thought was probably something along the lines of, "Oh, goodie. I get to punch Vos' ticket." Ultimately didn't work out that way.

The overall situation on Kashyyyk wasn't helped by the arrival of one Vilmarh Grahrk, a Devaronian con-man, smuggler, thief, and mercenary, who had somewhat befriended Quinlan during his covert operations days. Faie wanted to arrest and possibly shoot Grahrk on the spot, but Vis cut him a break. Grahrk was to Star Wars what Quark is to Star Trek Deep Space Nine -- just a bit nastier and better armed. Still, he was an interesting character in the comics.

Interestingly enough, the last time Quinlan Vos turned up as an action figure, which was also the first time, after fans had been screaming for a Quinlan Vos action figure for some time, it was in a comic two-pack with a Vilmarh Grahrk action figure. And now Vos is back, with Commander Faie.

The comic included in the set is a reprint of one of the more vital stories in the Star Wars comics. It picks up not too long after Grahrk's arrival on Kashyyyk, and follows through to the giving of Order 66, with Faie hunting down a badly injured Quinlan Vos, who is determined to deal with the Clones before they can deal with him. If you didn't follow the Star Wars comics all that closely, there are elements of the story that will not make sense to you.

In this regard, I very highly recommend the STAR WARS CLONE WARS Trade Paperbacks published by Dark Horse, and I don't mean the ones based on any of the animated series -- not that there's anything wrong with those. But if you want to see Dark Horse Comics' take on how the Clone Wars proceeded between Episodes II and III, presented in artwork styled towards the movies, then you want to get these books. There are nine volumes, they're all great, and Quinlan Vos is a major player throughout. Established characters such as Obi-Wan, Anakin, Mace Windu, and Yoda are focused upon as well, while minor characters that were established in the movie but didn't get as much play, such as Aayla Secura, Luminara Unduli, and others, see their roles greatly expanded, even as new characters like Quinlan Vos and Vilmarh Grahrk are introduced. Indeed, these books live up the concept and name of Star Wars' "Expanded Universe".

As to the two characters, and figures, represented in this particular comics set, let's take a look at them individually, starting with QUINLAN VOS.

Quinlan Vos was a Kiffar Jedi Master in the Jedi Order and a General in the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars. He hailed from the planet Kiffu in the Inner Rim Territories.

With long, dreadlocked hair and a band of pale yellow across his upper face, Vos was gifted with psychometric powers which allowed him to "read memories" from inanimate objects through physical contact.

Vos had an ongoing struggle with the dark side of the Force, particularly after he sustained recurrent amnesia after he overdosed on an illegal drug administered by an enemy shortly after the Battle of Naboo. The Sith Lords Darth Sidious and Darth Tyranus both showed an interest in him.

He was a prominent participant in the Clone Wars, one of the few survivors of the Great Jedi Purge and, with his lover Khaleen Hentz, conceived a son named Korto Vos.

Quinlan Vos was the son of Quian and Pethros Vos, members of Clan Vos, the rulers of Quinlan's homeworld. Quinlan was born with psychometric powers, and thus destined to become a Guardian like his parents. Most Kiffar had psychometric ability to some degree, but Quinlan's latent ability with the Force enhanced his own, and he was considered by many to be the best exemplar of the ability that had ever been seen.

Initially, Quinlan's people were unwilling to give him up to the Jedi Order, as that would require him to relocate to Coruscant, cutting him off from his homeworld. As a compromise, Jedi Watchman Tholme agreed to train Vos initially on Kiffu.

This changed when both of Quinlan's parents were murdered by Anzati and Quinlan's aunt, Tinté Vos, forced him to use his abilities to read the memories implanted in his deceased mother's medallion. Quinlan screamed for days on end, and only Tholme was able to calm the boy. Knowing that he would never be safe on his homeworld now that his aunt was ruler, Tholme took the boy to the Jedi Temple, and he entered into regular Jedi training.

As a youngling, he trained alongside other Jedi hopefuls such as Siri Tachi, Bant Eerin, Shylar, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Vos trained as a Jedi under Jedi Master Tholme. As a young apprentice, he fought beside his master in the Stark Hyperspace War, where he became close friends with fellow Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi. When the war was over, Tholme went away for a while, leaving Quinlan with Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn on Ragoon VI. While trying to show off each other with different moves, Quinlan accidentally tumbled into the water. Obi-Wan jumped in and they were saved by Qui-Gon.

When he was a young boy he was responsible for saving the infant Aayla Secura during a mission to Ryloth with Master Tholme. Quinlan immediately felt a strong connection to Aayla (who was being concealed amongst slaves for her protection) through the Force. Sensing she was in danger, Quinlan rushed to her rescue. Quinlan was able to communicate with Aayla through the Force and together they defeated a rampaging wampa. Quinlan persuaded Master Tholme to test Aayla on Coruscant for Jedi training where she passed the tests, and later she became Quinlan's own Padawan.

It is known that in 32 BBY (before the Battle of Yavin, a deciding point on how fans generally measure Star Wars time), Vos was in Mos Espa on Tatooine on an undercover mission, at the same time Qui-Gon Jinn found himself temporarily stranded there. Vos later mused that, had he been aware of Qui-Gon's plight, he would have undoubtedly aided him in reaching Coruscant.

A year after the Invasion of Naboo, Quinlan suddenly found himself inside of a burning building on Nar Shaddaa, with no memory of who or where he was, nor what he had been doing. He was able to escape to the roof, encountering a small group of bounty hunters upon doing so. Acting instinctively, he Force pushed them off the edge, sending them to their deaths. Diving into one of Nar Shaddaa's many dark alleys, Vos encountered Vilmarh Grahrk, a Devaronian smuggler.

Using a commandeered speeder bike, the two managed to find a place to hide, avoiding assassins at every turn. Villie, as he liked to be called, explained to Vos that the local criminals had made bets based on how long Quinlan would survive on Nar Shaddaa, knowing of his Jedi origins and his amnesia. Once they were safe, Villie put his blaster to Vos's head and pulled the trigger, but it turned out that Quinlan had switched the weapon's power cell while using it against enemies on Villie's speeder.

Quinlan kicked Vilmarh to the ground and, after grabbing the blaster and switching its power cell once again, demanded Grahrk tell him everything he knew, or he would kill him. Before he could do so, two beings carrying lightsabers walked into the room, claiming to be Jedi. Vilmarh told him that they were in fact "bad boys," and with that the two attacked. Quinlan instantly killed one with Villie's blaster, then grabbed his downed opponent's green lightsaber.

As it touched his hand, visions suddenly flowed through his mind, including that of his padawan, Aayla Secura, and his own name.

With help from Grahrk, Vos returned to his homeworld to try to put together more of his own life. Ultimately, Vos traveled to Ryloth and was reunited with his former Padawan, Aayla Secura. For more on Vos' adventures prior to being more involved in the Clone Wars, I recommend checking out the entry for Quinlan Vos on the Web Site "Wookieepedia".

The character certainly has a distinctive look about him, and so does the figure. Vos' hair style, the thick black dreadlocks, seems better suited to that of a rock star than a Jedi. Nevertheless, Hasbro has done an excellent job taking the comic character's likeness and transferring it to the action figure.

The first version of Vos was closer in appearance to his "covert" mode, when he was trying to pass himself off as a smuggler and general low-life. This version is closer to his Jedi likeness, since at the time of the comic included in the pack, Quinlan Vos had rejoined the Jedi to take a more active role in the war.

Quinlan Vos is dressed in a dark brown tunic, with a tan short with off-white wrappings around his lower arms. He is wearing dark brown trousers and boots. Along with his lightsaber, which is, I believe, a brighter shade of green, almost a tennis-ball green, than usual (I rather like it), he also has a blaster, and there is a holster for it on his tunic. A little surprising for a Jedi, really.

The paint work is excellent, especially on some of the small metallic details around Quinlan's belt. His face is also neatly detailed, and if memory serves, the yellow stripe across his face is a little more visible this time than it was last time.

I wish I could say that this Quinlan Vos figure was an improvement in articulation over the first one, which was somewhat restricted, but unfortunately, it isn't. Although the arms have a full range of motion, and thankfully do not use that abhorrent "diagonal cut" design that some Star Wars figures have, the figure's knees and ankles do not move.

To be blunt, I find this pretty inexcusable on any modern Star Wars figure, at least the more human ones, which Quinlan certainly is. Granted, the figure has an excellent range of motion at the head, arms, elbows, wrists, and waist, but apart from basic leg movement, there's nothing else. No knees, no ankles, nothing. Excuse me, but it's not the 1970's anymore.

For all the rest of the excellent articulation, and the sincerely superb detailing, both sculpted and painted, this figure comes up short in this regard. I don't expect every action figure in the world to have a range of motion, but I think most of us have certain expectations of the human-type figures in the Star Wars line these days, and Quinlan's legs don't meet them. And that's a shame, because he's otherwise a really great figure.

Now let's consider COMMANDER FAIE.

Faie was a clone trooper commander who served in the Grand Army of the Republic under Jedi General Oppo Rancisis during the height of the Clone Wars.

Commander Faie was created and trained on Kamino. One of the first hundred clone commanders put through Alpha-17's specialized training regimen, Faie's by-the-book personality often put him at odds with his Jedi superiors.

As the Clone Wars reached its finale, Faie was chosen to lead one of three elite battalions, with the other two being led by Commanders Neyo and Bly, set aside for action on Saleucami, where they were to take out Separatist cloning facilities being used to churn out deadly Morgukai warriors. The task force was placed under the command of Jedi Generals Oppo Rancisis and Quinlan Vos. As the battle against Saleucami's Morgukai defenders raged, Republic capital ships pounded the clone facilities into dust. Their victory on Saleucami was undercut, however, with the death of General Rancisis at the hands of the Dark Jedi Sora Bulq.

Following his success on Saleucami, Faie was once again paired with Jedi General Quinlan Vos and sent to the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk as part of an elite task force helmed by Jedi Master Yoda and Commander Gree of the 41st Elite Legion When the Separatists moved against the city of Kachirho, Faie, Gree, and the Jedi were there to meet them. As the fighting for the city intensified, both Gree and Faie received Order 66 directly from Supreme Chancellor Palpatine himself.

Acting without hesitation, Faie and his clone troops moved against Generals Vos and Unduli before they could catch wind of what was going on. However, Commander Gree did not fare as well, as he was decapitated when he tried to sneak up on General Yoda. With the death of Gree, the burden of orchestrating the defense of Kashyyyk, as well as hunting down the surviving Jedi, fell upon Faie's shoulders.

Faie's search for the fugitive Vos took him and the clone troopers of Bogey Squad deep into the heart of Kashyyyk's thick forests, where he met his fate at the end of Vos's lightsaber.

Faie was known to wear three sets of armor--a set similar to a Clone Engineer, one similar to that of the 327th Star Corps, and that of a clone swamp trooper.

This is not the first Commander Faie figure. In fact, fairly recently, there was a single-carded Commander Faie figure that was based on one of these other versions. But the Commander Faie figure included in the two-pack, appropriately enough for representing the time he spent on Kashyyyk alongside and later trying to hunt down Quinlan Vos, is based on his "Clone Swamp Trooper" uniform.

A version of these Clones were first seen in Star Wars Episode III during the Battle of Kashyyyk, and appeared to be modified versions of the popular Imperial Biker Scouts that were seen in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. However, these Clones did not have the white armor and black undersuit of the Biker Scouts. Rather, their uniforms were more camouflage in color.

This "pre-Biker Scout" was well received by fans, although it took a while for Hasbro to get around to initially making a figure. There are actually a couple of different versions available that have been released over the past several years. This one has a fairly radical camouflage design that is more in keeping with the armor as it was colored in the Star Wars comic book.

I was surprised to discover a 2008 Copyright date on the bottom of the figure's boot. This suggests that some aspects of the figure differ from previous Clone figures of this type that I have in my collection. Whatever the case may be in this regard, it's still a truly superb figure, with tons of articulation. Commander Faie is fully poseable at the head, arms, elbows (including a swivel), wrists, mid-torso, legs, knees (including a swivel) and ankles.

I think one of the things I especially like about Clone Troopers is that the articulation points can generally be reasonably well concealed along their armor lines, even the often difficult to hide mid-torso point. Faie is no exception to this.

The armor is molded in a very pale tan, and has very distinct camouflage in darker tan and a dark greenish brown imprinted across it. The camouflage pattern is much more striking than I have seen on any previous camouflage-armored Clone Trooper. The undersuit is dark brown, not black, although the gloves are black.

Commander Faie is wearing the "Biker Scout" style helmet, which has a gold visor, very unusual for a Clone. The helmet is removable, with the expected Jango/Clone head underneath, although somewhere along the way, Commander Faie got a couple of nasty scars across one side of his face. The helmet is of a very decent size. Sometimes when one of these Clone Trooper figures is given a removable helmet, the helmet looks too big, but that's not the case here.

Commander Faie comes equipped with a standard blaster pistol, and a long and nasty-looking blaster rifle.

So what's my final word here? This is a cool set. Although I may have given the lion's share of the biographical time to Quinlan Vos -- let's face it, Clones don't tend to have a lot of personal history -- the Commander Faie figure is the more impressive of the two figures in the set, and is certainly a welcome addition into the collection of anyone who may be building an army of Clone Troopers and Stormtroopers. And believe me, I know there's any number of Star Wars fans out there doing exactly that.

The Quinlan Vos figure looks good, but the lack of leg articulation rankles, it really does. There's just no reason. One might hope someday we'll get a more poseable figure of this notable and fascinating Jedi.

However, I'm not prepared to discount the set on the basis of that alone. The Quinlan Vos figure isn't too bad, the Commander Faie figure is excellent and very distinctive, and the comic book tells an interesting story that's open-ended enough on both ends to maybe inspire people to seek out the rest of the tale. I'm all in favor of encouraging reading.

With all of that in mind, the STAR WARS COMIC SET featuring QUINLAN VOS and COMMANDER FAIE definitely has my enthusiastic recommendation!