Star Wars: Knight Errant Volume 1 Aflame - John Jackson Miller I am seriously wondering if graphic novels and comic books are even for me. Seems like every time I open one up, I am sorely disappointed. I don't think I have that high of expectations:

1. An interesting, unique story

2. Consistent artwork

3. A well-written main character, and good side characters

4. Good dialogue and clear writing

Is that too much to ask? Am I being overly demanding?

"Knight Errant" is the story of a Jedi Knight who loses her master in a battle on Chelloa and must finish their mission. What makes this story interesting (in theory) is that A) the Jedi Knight is Kerra Holt, a woman (*GASP SHOCK HORROR!* they have those in the Star Wars galaxy?!), B) there are TWO Sith Lords fighting over the planet (Daiman and Odion), and C) the Jedi Knight is essentially solo, and must defeat TWO Sith Lords.

Unfortunately, it took me over THREE MONTHS to finish ~110 pages. Why did it take me so long?

1. Inconsistent art. From panel to panel, Kerra changes shape from looking somewhat like she does on the cover (which is an art type I liked), to looking like Samantha Morton or a fuller-figured America's Next Top Model contestant. I must ask: is it not possible to get the same person to do the drawings? Is asking for a little consistency in the depiction of the characters too much? Should I just be used to seeing a new version of Kerra Holt every time I turn the page?

2. Unattractive art. There are some truly ugly renditions of Kerra, Daiman, Odion, and others in this book. We get great shots up Kerra's nose, up her chin, with all her teeth bared (making her look half mad), contorted into impossible even for Jedi positions, and looking drugged or half dead. I don't need my comic books filled with busty babes and meatheads, but is it too much to ask to make sure that the characters look nice?

3. Jumpy art. I can't tell you how many times I had to look between two panels to try to make some sense out of what was happening in the action. Characters just suddenly move from being far away to being near, from background to foreground, from stationary to moving with absolutely NO transition or movement lines or anything to help me figure out WTF happened. There are several panels of lightsaber fighting that truly make no sense whatsoever. I have no idea of flow; it's like the artist just drew a bunch of his or her favorite lightsaber scenes and threw them in the book.

4. The characters. I was excited about how this graphic novel (and the companion novel) star a female Jedi Knight. However, nothing about Kerra Holt's character makes her interesting. She apparently was from a planet in the same system (not clear by the text, and I reread several portions to try to understand WTF I was reading), raised by Jedi, but there is nothing about her to make her stand out, other than the fact this is the character that was chosen to be the main character. Another thing that irritates me is that ALL of the main characters are humans (if they are not human, it's not noticeable). This is STAR WARS; take a look at the variety of aliens in the cantina scene in "A New Hope". THAT is what we should be seeing: way more aliens. Kerra Holt needed to be one alien species, her master another, Gorlan another, the Sith Lords another. Humans should NOT be so prominent...unless the Sith Lords are conveniently as xenophobic as their successors.

5. The story. Yawn. I feel like I've read this story a million times. Hero(ine) gets left on planet, must save the poor slaves, fights against baddies, the end. There is nothing that makes this story remarkable. It's not like the Jedi vs. Sith graphic novel that told an interesting story of a man's rise to power; it's not even like Hard Contact, where we have an interesting discussion on the humanity of clones (interesting how similar these two stories are!); it's just a formula graphic novel, dressed up slightly to make it seem different (Oooh, the protagonist is a female! And she must defeat TWO Sith Lords!).

So what does make this book any good? Well, I adore the cover art. I really wished that that style had been incorporated throughout the novel. I also really liked the back cover art and how it mimics Ralph McQuarrie's classic Vader vs. Luke Skywalker pose.

Ralph McQuarrie A New Hope Art

Also, there is some decent action at the end.

I just hope to the Maker that the novel is better than this graphic novel. It is supposed to be a companion novel, not a carbon copy of the story here, so I am hoping that it is better. Maybe I just don't "get" the things that make graphic novels appealing to such a large demographic. Are the things I complain about commonplace and should be ignored, my dear audience? Am I being too picky?