– Spoiler Review –
Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu #2 doesn’t save the series from its nondescript start, but it does opens up some potential and dives into meaty subject matter that could help propel the series towards something more than average.
The characters, especially the newer ones, take a back seat in issue #2, and instead Mace Windu and the mercenary droid AD-W4 take front and center, which is both great and disappointing. On the good side of things, the philosophical issues Mace has with the Clone War are confronted by AD-W4’s pragmatic, but not off-base outlook at the war. They battle and debate as a cavern comes crashing down around them, and their heated discussion allows AD-W4 to point out what we know about the prequel Jedi from the films: their arrogance will be their undoing. While this debate ruins some of pacing with the action-packed panels of their battle, as you’re reading a lot of text instead of pushing onto the next sequence, it’s one which helps highlight the errors of the prequel Jedi and the genius of Palpatine’s schemes, where uses their own morals and justifications to trap them into the conflict in the first place. It’ll be curious to see how the argument between Mace and the mercenary droid continues through the next 3 issues, as some of the best points seem to have been made here.
The original characters taking a back seat this issue is the disappointment I mentioned earlier with the focus on Mace. The focus of issue #2 was mainly action, so it wasn’t surprising Rissa and Prosset didn’t get as much time as the first issue, but they still carry the greater potential for character development and story opportunities, as we know largely how Mace (and Kit Fisto) will end up after this encounter. We’re left on a bit of cliffhanger with Prosset at the very least, as he and Kit Fisto look to be stuck under the cavern caving in, while Rissa and Mace uncover the Separatists’ goals with Hissrich. I’m still betting Prosset might find himself disillusioned with the Jedi after all is said and done, which was hinted at in the first issue, while I’m still hoping Rissa, fan-girl of Jedi Masters, doesn’t end up fridged in any way to help Mace comes to terms with his doubts about the war.
A throwaway line/detail about the planet Hissrich from issue #1 actually contained the information we needed to understand the Separatist plot for Hissrich. We were told the planet is in perpetual twilight where it receives only one hour a month of sunlight, but it seemed important at the time solely to describe how stealth would be a major part (which it wasn’t) of the Jedi plan to recon the Separatist presence; turns out the plants suck up colossal amounts of energy to stay alive for that whole month without sunlight and the Separatist are harvesting the plants to steal their abundance of energy to charge their armies. This is at least a solid plot for the Separatists to be there and for the Jedi to want to stop, so my problems with the forced story feeling of issue #1 is brushed aside for now. Matt Owens seems to relish writing AD-W4 and the discourse between it and Mace, while I’m hoping to see the humor and oddities of the new characters again soon!
As I imagined, the art was an easier pill to swallow for most of this issue as we were dealing with seeing characters in Denys Cowan’s heavy style surrounded by original environments so they stood out less and melded less abrasively for reader’s eyes. In fact, the action-focus really seems to be Cowan’s strength, as panels flowed together and sequences of events were easy to follow, but sometimes the panel placements made me unsure if I was supposed to be jumping over a page while, as mentioned before, the dialogue stopped me from matching the pace the art sets for the action (no fault of Cowan’s). However, the faces still feel irksome in Cowan’s angular style, leaving characters looking vastly different one panel to the next. The inking by Roberto Poggi and colors by Guru-eFX lean on the darker side, which fits with the cavernous setting, while the final panels in daylight show it’s not all gloomy.
Here are a few other things:
- Personally, I believe AD-W4 was a poor choice of droid name, as it constantly makes me think of WD-40. So like I said, a personal problem, but maybe now that I’ve made you think of it, you might not be able to get it out of your head either…sorry.
- I understand the caverns were supposed to be dark, but their seemed to be ample light, leaving me confused why the four Jedi insisted on keeping their lightsabers ignited while surrounded by peaceful natives. Minor thing, but it bugged me when I saw it aka another personal problem with this issue.
- Seeing the Octuptarra tri-droid again was a nice little touch, as these inefficient droids weren’t really seen outside of The Clone Wars film and three more early episodes of the series. I guess it was in issue #1, which I’ve noticed it now looking back, but the art makes it a little hard to decipher what it is until now.
- In the original announcement for the series, I speculated the “Jedi of the Republic” part of the title meant this could be a series with revolving Jedi for main characters, and in both issues’ opening crawls, Mace Windu is consider Book 1….potentially confirming the idea. We’ll know more by October, when the solicitations for Marvel’s comics go live for January, as Mace Windu will end in December so they’ll likely be announcing what follows before those solicts go live. UPDATE: Nope. The January solicitations didn’t reveal the Windu series’ replacement.
Story potential takes shape in Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu #2, but it still hasn’t found a way to sink any solid hooks into readers.
+ The debate begins
– Art is hit or miss still
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