– Spoiler Review –
With Jedi of Republic – Mace Windu issue #5, the series that started with a question mark ends as one, with a whole lot of shrugs.
When the issue ends, Mace Windu stands in a heroic pose, the words, “We fight,” plastered next to him, much like we saw the Jedi of the prequel era. Is this an ironic ending? We’ve seen the far greater strength of a Jedi doesn’t involve fighting, but rather to know when not to fight, something Luke has shown us twice, both in Return of the Jedi and The Last Jedi, and even Kanan learned during Star Wars Rebels. Mace ends this series basically where he started, though initially he had reservations about the war and now he believes it is the Force’s will and shall go along with it. In fact, now he’s eager to fight, his hubris is showing, and he becomes more lost in the war that consumed the Jedi than when he started, which is not a happy, heroic ending that the issue tries to play it off as. Or maybe that’s the point, and to answer my earlier question, it’s supposed to be ironic, seeing Mace happy to play his part.
Prosset Dibs, the dissenting Jedi who uncovered the Jedi Council’s previous knowledge of Hissrich’s plants being special power sources, is put on trial. Unfortunately, not a single Jedi Master on the Council acknowledges they did know about Hissrich’s resources and were attempting to take it for the good of the Republic, though according to the opening crawl for issue #4 they did. So why the lack of transparency or anyone admitting to this hidden agenda? This leads me to wonder if the crawl was wrong and/or their desire to use Hissrich’s resources is supposed to be subtly hidden throughout this series. Yoda does gleefully say they’ll study Hissrich’s plants, so maybe this is meant to mean they did know about the planet’s potential and weren’t just saving Hissrich to save Hissrich. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it. Or maybe, in the long scheme of the war and the Jedi’s ultimate outcome, it doesn’t really matter. Dibs gets sent to the library in hopes he learns his lesson and the Jedi just keep on trucking, making the same mistakes we know they do in this era. Will Dibs ever learn his lesson? More importantly, will anyone care to learn if he will? I know I don’t and it’s likely he died with the Jedi at the Temple anyways, so it doesn’t really matter anyways. As I mentioned at the beginning, this all ends with a shrug.
This has been the problem with this series from the start: the complexities of the Jedi of the prequel era, and the circumstances of their slow tumble down the wrong path, has been covered very thoroughly and with nuance by The Clone Wars, dissected a few times in Star Wars Rebels, and in Mace Windu’s case, the Legends novel Shatterpoint. While I’ve heard the argument JotR was made for those who’ve not watched the show/read the book, it’s fair to say anyone who did actually read this series was far more likely to have watched/read the other material, which leaves me wondering about the purpose of this series. It doesn’t offer anything new for Mace, the Jedi, or the Clone Wars, and now that it’s over it’s already forgettable. The only part I can’t forget was the tantalizing flashback in issue #4, something that added to the mythos of Mace and even lead to a moment which reverberated throughout time for him, but the glimpse of how this series could’ve been special/memorable/exciting is gone just as fast as it appeared. If you read Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu, you’ll find a serviceable story, but it feels like another bump on a road you already knew was full of them.
I don’t know how much of the story idea for this series came down on writer Matt Owens, but there was some intriguing debates (even if they didn’t go anywhere) and the flashback was so full of potential, so I’d not completely blame the shrug I have after reading this against him. As for the art, with Denys Cown (pencils), Roberto Poggi (inks), and Guru-eFX (colors), once again the action and unfamiliar settings are fine, but the rest is hard to appreciate. Nightmare Yoda is back and even worse this time, as there’s one panel where it seems they drew puppet Yoda but as if he was melting, while faces all over the place have their issues and problems (the one image that includes Padme, Ahsoka, and Asajj does none of those characters any justice) that I wanted to jump between word bubbles than look anywhere else. This is something I’m going to cover a bit more in my 2017 year-in-review piece of the comics, but I have to wonder if this is just Cowan’s style, that he was rushed and thus he didn’t add polish, or some combination of the two/other factors. Regardless, this art, as great as an idea it was to try for something heavily stylized, should’ve been reconsidered (the visiting artist in the flashback sequence would’ve been a better choice).
Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu and 2015’s Chewbacca both contain teases of something better and don’t really add to their title characters, but at least Chewie’s comic was fun and wonderful to look at; Read Shatterpoint, catch a few episodes of The Clone Wars with Mace (yes, even the ones where he teams up with Jar-Jar Binks), as those are recommendations I can make.
+ At least AD-W4 is destroyed
– Adds little to the character of Mace Windu
– The art
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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)
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Captain Phasma (miniseries)
Darth Maul (mini-series)
Han Solo (mini-series)
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