I had high hopes for Dawn of the Jedi, especially when Force War was announced. There was a lot that this could cover. There were members of the Sith species chastised for being too fond of the Dark Side. There was a Galaxy-wide threat in need of fighting off. Between the title and Force Storm, I could only assume that both were going to be resolved.
To anybody who followed Prisoner of Bogan (or my review of it), it was clear this wasn’t going to be the case. This wasn’t a story of various tales about the history of the Jedi, spread out over the millennia. This is a story about a single group of individuals over the course of a few years, at best. That’s not to say that it couldn’t still cover both, and Prisoner of Bogan indicated a very powerful Darksider intent on becoming leader of the Je’daii. It’s also a single story arc in a decompressed style focusing heavily on the undersold romance of a Je’daii and a Rakata Force hound.
As somebody who has spent more time studying ancient Jedi and Sith history than many people have spent reading books, there are some things about this story that are particularly irksome to me. Let’s start with the biggest one. Established Jedi lore is that at the time of the Second Great Schism – the one in which the future Dark Lords of the Sith fought a war against the Je’daii before escaping to the Sith Empire in the Outer Rim – the Jedi did not yet have lightsabers, but swords. While the Dark Lords would experiment with Sith magic to produce the Sith swords that have appeared in other media (the highest profile of these being Knights of the Old Republic), the Jedi would experiment with what would become lightsaber technology. Over time they would become ceremonial weapons attached to a battery pack at the Jedi’s hip, until eventually they became functional on their own right.
Dawn of the Jedi either skips this history, or arguably pushes it the other way around. Forcesabers are handheld without requiring an external power supply, like a fully complete lightsaber, with the only drawback being that it requires the holder to tap into the Dark Side. While this has potential for Volume 4 to discuss one of the Great Schisms, Volume 4 is never going to be written because Marvel has about as much interest in making a Dawn of the Jedi comic as Paramount has in making a post-Nemesis Star Trek show. The end result is what comes across as a retcon that makes it seem much more likely that Naga Sadow would have a lightsaber than Odan-urr.
The next concern isn’t that far off from my prior concerns about Star Wars media in the TCW era – that is to say, the time period starting with the release of The Clone Wars pilot in 2008 and ending with Disney’s purchase of LucasFilm – consisting of The Clone Wars, Dawn of the Jedi, and The Old Republic. That is the over-use of visual and literary queues from the original trilogy and a general misuse of the concept of history. In the case of The Clone Wars, that was the cherry-picking of reality to form the story that George Lucas and Dave Filoni wanted to tell rather than stories that worked in the Star Wars universe as it currently existed. In The Old Republic, that consists primarily of the design team pretending to be telling a story about Clone Wars-era Republic versus New Hope-era Empire. In Force Storm that consisted primarily of mixing a bunch of species together in a forced way to avoid looking different from what Star Wars fans are used to. In Force War this consists of the Insignia of Unity, a.k.a. the Emblem of the Galactic Republic, being used to symbolize a Kwa
Stargate Infinity Gate. Not so huge in the grand scheme of things, but irksome and symbolic of the mindset the creators had at the time of Force War. This was also a feature in Force Storm, but on a personal level at least, this symbol didn’t seem as problematic when associated with an unknown device intended for unification as when associated with a specific race.