– Spoiler Review –
The penultimate issue of Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu #4 offers up a compelling flashback which overshadows the main narrative, all the while setting everything in motion of the finale in December.
What I found most puzzling and interesting was how none of the previous issues have explicitly said the Jedi Council knew Hissrich, the planet Mace has taken his team to, was a valuable source of energy to be obtained in hopes of ending the war faster. Mace doesn’t deny things in issue #3 when fellow Master Prosset Dibs accuses the Council, instead declining to comment because those thoughts shouldn’t even be entertained. If Prosset is right, and the Jedi did know, then his accusations against Mace and the Jedi Order have some merit, as this did end up being a rather sleazy mission, something I felt came too soon in the war for the Jedi as discussed in last issue’s review. If he’s wrong, he’s still sort of right about the Jedi’s part in the war, just not that they are completely corrupted yet. We do get an answer here on who is right, well it sure seems like the definitive answer, but it comes from the most unusual spot: the opening crawl, which points out the Jedi knew about Hissrich’s value when it says, “But when Prosset Dibs discovers that the Jedi Council knew about the valuable energy source…” To put this important info in the crawl, away from the meat of the story, and not to be actively discussed by the characters beyond Prosset’s accusations seems like an odd move. It would’ve been more impactful if Mace owned up to it here while deflecting Prosset’s attack or even in the final issue, either revealing the truth to Prosset after they return to the Jedi Temple or Mace discussing how bad he feels for keeping that secret to Kit Fitso or whomever. In fact these moments still have the potential to happen, which makes this move even more puzzling, as even saying, “…Dibs believes he discovers that…” would keep the point open and allow what is a big moment for the characters to still ring through the characters. For those who read this in the trade paperback format, they won’t even get this crawl to reveal this info, so I’ll be curious to see how issue #5 addresses things.
However, this issue ends up being the best of the series so far due to it having a surprising and fantastic flashback sequence to a young Jedi Apprentice named Mace Windu (!) and his Jedi Master, Cyslin Myr. The two have been dispatched to the planet Mathas, where the people there suffer from a plaque neither modern medicine nor the Jedi can heal, but they have installed a Jedi Temple there to offer comfort and aid to the populace. The Jedi Master assigned to the Temple is gone and in their place is a man using the Jedi name to coerce credits and adoration from the public, preying on their need and desire to be helped. The very few moments we spend in the past exceeded my interest in the main story immediately, as the narrative is far more compelling and seeing Mace Windu as an Apprentice offers new and exciting moments of insight to the character that the main story has not, and probably won’t, be able to compare to by its end. The look into the past ends on a pose/image/choice that echoes through Mace’s life that I loved: Mace, standing over an opponent who he has just bested, deciding whether to end it now or bring them to justice. In the flashback, it’s a heretic besmirching the Jedi he looms over, saber pointed at their face, in the “present day” it’s Prosset Dibs, and in Revenge of the Sith it’s Darth Sidious. In each separate moment, there’s a third party involved whom argues against Mace delivering justice, and it’s only in RotS do we see him ignore the other person’s cries and try to follow through, leading to his own death. Seeing how Mace standing on the precipice of this decision reverberates through time was an excellent surprise, as seeking justice through the Council always should’ve been the answer, while how powerful and interesting this character moment ends up being makes me wonder why it wasn’t the focus of this miniseries instead. There’s still one issue left but I don’t think it’ll manage to have a similar, impactful moment, but if Matt Owens was able to deliver this surprise, I’ll place my doubts to the side for now.
While Denys Cowan (pencils) and Roberto Poggi (inks) are still the main team for the art, they were joined this issue by Edgar Salazar (pencils) and Scott Hanna (inks) for the flashback sequences. While I’ve liked the original team’s work for the droids and the new environment, though have had issues with Cowan’s odd, rushed, and frightening faces (the Yoda from issue #1 still haunts my dreams), already I wish Salazar and Hanna had been on this series from the start, as there’s something clean and uniform about their work that the main artist has lacked. Guru-eFX works colors throughout the issue, unifying the two sets of artists.
With the flashback sequence holding more excitement than the main story, I wouldn’t call this series a bust or anything, but it’s certainly had some problems finding its footing. There’s only one issue left, and I doubt it’ll have another flashback, so enjoy Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu #4 for the look into Mace’s past, if nothing else.
+ Flashback contains lots of promise and intrigue…
– …something the main story might not live up to
Aphra (#1-6) | And the Enormous Profit (#9-13) | Remastered (#14-19) | Annual: #1
The Screaming Citadel (crossover of Doctor Aphra and Star Wars on-goings)
Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25) | Yoda’s Secret War (#26-30) | Out Among the Stars (#33-37) | Ashes of Jedha (#38-43) | Annual: #1 | #2 | #3
Black Squadron (#1-3) | Lockdown (#4-6) | The Gathering Storm (#7-13) | Legend Lost (#14 – 16) | War Stories (#17-19) | Legend Found (#20-25)
Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith
The Chosen One (#1-6) | The Dying Light (#7-12)
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25) | Annual: #1
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Captain Phasma (miniseries)
Darth Maul (mini-series)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Rogue One (adaptation)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)