– Spoiler Review –
Begun, in Star Wars #26, “Yoda’s Secret War” has. Jason Aaron is joined by one of my favorite artist pairs, Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado (Darth Vader), for an adventure from Yoda’s past, as read by Luke from the Journal’s of Old Ben Kenobi.
Issue #26 starts with a rather funny connection to the end of #25, which showed Scar Squadron capture C-3PO after their very disappointing failure to stop the heroes, as R2-D2 realizes the Alliance won’t allow anyone to go after just another droid and takes it upon himself to go rescue his pal. This move seems right up Artoo’s alley, no matter their bickering, and I hope we get to see some of his rescue efforts at the tail end of this arc. Artoo has frequently been the unsung hero of nearly every major moment from the Saga films and he’s shined pretty bright throughout this series, but getting back Threepio by himself would be a seriously impressive (though not terribly surprising) feat. Unfortunately for Scar Squad, who I mentioned in my review of #25 have so far been ineffectual villains, we know Threepio will be back in our heroes’ hands soon so for them to end this arc losing the droid would make it even harder for me to accept them as worthwhile villains in the future of this series. It would be made even worse if Artoo managed to pull off the rescue all by himself, but I don’t believe Jason Aaron would allow the Scars to be downgraded that badly and so quickly. We won’t find out likely until the end of this arc, so I’ll be tabling said worries and issues for the time being.
As promised in the announcement regarding “Yoda’s Secret War” arc, Aaron does bring back the sense of playfulness and humor more prominent in Yoda during The Empire Strikes Back and some of the later The Clone Wars episodes: outnumbered and outsized, Yoda wins a battle against a bunch of pirates by using the Force to make them beat each other up, slapping one another like some Three Stooges joke, plus there’s humor to be had in the pirates’ reaction to seeing Yoda, the Journal’s narration of events, and Obi-Wan’s comment upon seeing all the downed pirates, “Holy…blaster bolts.” Also, Yoda going on adventures has proven exciting and thoroughly entertaining in the past (see the final arc of TCW or even the Legends book Yoda: Dark Rendezvous), and already things are off to great start for this one. Set slightly before The Phantom Menace, gauged by the appearances of Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn (!!), it’s no surprise Yoda would be in higher spirits than he was in most of the prequel trilogy that follows and I hope Aaron can keep up that tone throughout the arc. As for the overall story, as much as I enjoyed the opening antics of Yoda saving a Force-sensitive child from pirates who wanted to ransom him off to the Jedi Order, it feels like a bit of a distraction to the main story, but this is an excellent way to set the stage for Yoda’s characterization going forward.
The true focus of “Yoda’s Secret War” begins in the final moments of the issue, as he heeds a strange call through the Force and ends up on a planet where there is a, “…hint of something…just beneath the surface. Hiding. Something ancient and powerful,” that’s dominated by…children?!? As far as cliffhanger set-ups go, this one already has me rushing to a time machine to go out and get the next issue. What’s the ancient and powerful thing hiding on the planet? Why isn’t the planet on any star charts (was Dooku already deleting archives)? Why are there seemingly just children there? What happens to the adults? Are any of the kids shorter than Yoda? All the above are mysteries I’m eagerly awaiting to see unfurl in the issues ahead and that’s a great sign they’re doing something right with this arc already. Speaking of children, I’ve come to two realizations regarding them and Yoda: 1) There’s potential here, in Yoda’s interactions with the savage looking children, to add even more humor (and retrofit some winks and nods) into the Jedi Master’s line from Attack of the Clones, “Truly wonderful the mind of a child is.” 2) As great as it is for him to liberate the young Force-sensitive, in 10-13 years either the Clone Wars or Order 66 might get him, adding a bit of bitterness to the moment.
After a tease of their work again in a flashback sequence for the first Doctor Aphra issue, seeing the GFFA as drawn by Salvador Larroca with colors by Edgar Delgado made it all feel like home again. It’s not a secret I wasn’t a fan of the last arc’s art and it’s definitely not a secret I’ve been a giant fan of Larroca and Delgado for their work on Darth Vader, so it should come as no surprise I loved their work and can’t wait to see them bring Yoda’s next grand adventure to life. Larroca’s commitment to movie authenticity shines through in his Yoda, who constantly looks like a cut-out from his scenes in the prequels, especially thanks to the perfect shade of green by Delgado, as well as the briefest of appearances by Qui-Gon. The team was responsible for bringing some of the weirdest things, like Space Whale fleets and Mon Cala General Grievous wannabes, to life and make them fit within the GFFA so they seem perfectly picked for Yoda’s journey’s amongst the savage children on their little backwater, desolate planet.
Here are a few other things:
- After the tragic and heartbreaking loss of Carrie Fisher on Tuesday, it was strange and saddening to see Princess Leia in the Star Wars comic this week, no matter how brief the appearance. A true heroine in every galaxy.
- In my 2016 comic’s year-in-review I speak a little about hoping to get Qui-Gon in the comics (at the very least), and it looks like 2016’s final issue is getting my hopes up even more. So cool to see one of the most memorable and important Jedi from the prequel trilogy again (and one of my favorite characters from the saga).
- For those curious, Yoda is never named or described in Obi-Wan’s journal entry regarding this story, so Luke’s surprise remains intact. In fact, it might even help make Luke’s disbelief a diminutive creature like Yoda ever could be a Jedi Master if they’re anything like the ones he has read about. Now why exactly, in-universe, Obi-Wan would omit Yoda’s name when writing in his own journal….maybe he was just being cautious about details in case Luke didn’t end up with the journal? I don’t think we’ll ever get an answer for that, which is alright, but I am a little curious.
- As part of Marvel’s celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars in 2017, they’ll be releasing 40 special variant covers recreating scenes from the iconic film. I like the artwork, but the gaudy border design could be done without….check out a couple previews in the announcement post to see how you feel about them.
“Yoda’s Secret War,” is mostly set-up in Star Wars issue #26, but it promises big and exciting things for the galaxy’s smallest Jedi Master in the issues ahead.
+ Yoda’s humor and playfulness in full swing
+ Great mystery to solve
+ Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado!!
– Extraneous opening, though at least an entertaining one
Jason Aaron: 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: #27 | #28 | #29 | #30 | Out Among the Stars (#33-37) | Retrospective on Jason Aaron’s Run (#1-37)
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)
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)
Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu (miniseries)
Captain Phasma (miniseries)
Darth Maul (miniseries)
Han Solo (miniseries)
Rogue One (adaptation)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (miniseries)
Shattered Empire (miniseries)
Princess Leia (miniseries)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (miniseries)