– Spoiler Review –
“Yoda’s Secret War,” continues in Star Wars issue #28, where his tale begins to ‘forcefully’ intertwine across time, we get to see more clearly into a different side of the great Jedi Master, and the mysteries in his adventure at least get a little more interesting.
When they originally announced Yoda would be coming to the comics for only a little arc in the Star Wars series, I was hoping this would not only be a ploy to help sell comic issues, but also be an opportunity to add to the character in some way, shape, or form. At the end of issue #27, the “Yoda’s Secret War,” arc had proven Jason Aaron understood and could channel the character of Yoda, but there had yet to be anything we hadn’t seen before. Thankfully, issue #28 takes a small step in the right direction, attempting to give readers a deeper understanding of the galaxy’s most powerful and wise Jedi Master. Yoda has never been presented as anything less than a Master (the first issue of this arc positioned him exactly that way and even his tomfoolery on Dagobah was a Master testing a student) and even when he’s trusting in the Force to help him understand the unique situations he frequently finds himself in, he’s always approaching things from a Master’s stand point. But on the occasions we do get to see him as a willing student (like when he defers to the padawans to help Obi-Wan with his missing planet in Attack of the Clones or his journey with the Force priestesses to learn how to retain his identity when he passes into the cosmic Force), it provides us with a highly entertaining and informative window into the mind of the great Master. His ability to be such a willing student is what makes him such a great Master, as he’s always conscious of how a student feels while learning, allowing him to present new teachings in a way they can more simply understand; likewise, he leaves himself open to the fresh take a learner has on things he’s known for centuries because he knows he can learn from them just as much as they can learn from him. Once Yoda finds himself deep within the blue mountain, not really knowing where to go or what he’s really looking for, he finds a young individual who has been left for dead. Yoda instantly befriends him and then humbly asks the young boy to teach him the stonepower the people of the planet wield, as he can use the Force on everything but the blue rocks of the planet and the locals can use the Force on only the blue rocks;Yoda can learn from them and they can learn from Yoda, something he’s acutely open to. He’s a quick learner, not only because this is Yoda we’re talking about here, but also due to him being able to approach learning from a Master’s point of view, keeping himself open and willing to teachings of his latest master.
By the end of the issue, Yoda is capable of using the stonepower, something he no doubt wishes he knew earlier when his mountain travelling companion used Yoda’s lack of stonepower to prevent the Jedi from stopping his suicidal jump off the mountain (in a rather surprisingly dark moment). Are the stones initially impossible for Yoda to use the Force on because it’s like controlling a sentient being, something I’d imagine could lean a little more to the dark side, as the mountain, and therefore the blue rocks, are actually alive? Will Yoda bring peace to the planet and it’s last mountain-being? Will he show the hiding adults how wrong they were to abandon their children because they didn’t think they’d be able to change the children’s minds away from all consuming war anymore? Is there a hidden message here about the how the Jedi, sitting in their high tower detached from the people, are no better than the adults hiding here in the mountain? By the end of Star Wars #28, I’ve found myself genuinely interested in the tale of Yoda’s journey into this unknown world…but then the future/present sections remind me why we’re really here.
Unfortunately, how Yoda’s adventures ties into Obi-Wan’s life and therefore Luke’s feels pretty forced (pun totally intended). I understand the Force can work in mysterious ways, which I’m all for when done right, but the connections here between the various timelines and Jedi feels more like it services the necessities of the plot/story than some all-powerful force connecting everything. Obi-Wan has one of the most randomness of random run-ins in randomness history, as a person of the mountain world Yoda’s visits runs into him on Tatooine, which allows Obi-Wan to see the strange marking on the man’s forehead. He doodles this into his journal entry, where it looks a helluva a lot like a doodle I made in the pages of my notebooks during my school years, and somehow Luke deduces it might be similar in shape to a galaxy (which the computer even locates). It’s one of the biggest stretches this story makes, which is saying something considering it’s revealed this mountain Yoda is sent to scale literally has a heart and is alive, something that feels more organic (another pun intended, thank you very much) than Luke’s Holmes-ian ability to see a galaxy when looking at a doodle. Overall, this doesn’t ruin anything for the arc, but it doesn’t help it, making this tale through the ages more of an obviously plotted design than anything natural.
As always Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado deserve top praise for their work, especially the way they play with lighting this issue. Shadows flicker across Yoda’s face and the strange caves of the mountain he finds himself in, conveying Yoda’s struggle with understanding what type of journey he’s on as well as keeping him always in the light, always able to bring the light into even the darkest of places. Likewise, Obi-Wan, despite being in the bright dual suns of Tatooine, has deep set shadows over his face, hiding himself in plain sight (even if I’m not a giant fan of how Obi-Wan looks overall). But the beating literal heart of the mountain is right up the art pair’s alley, as they’ve done the wonderfully strange so well during their Darth Vader stint that I can’t wait to see what comes next simply to see how they bring it to life.
Here are a few other things:
- Yes, Obi-Wan saves Greedo’s life this issue, or at least postpones his death until he runs into Han Solo, and I felt the whole thing was innocuous enough; I’d compare it to Ponda Baba and Dr. Evazan’s cameo in Rogue One, which got a good laugh out of me.
- Lots of creatures first seen in The Force Awakens are drawn into the handful of Tatooine-set panels.
Just when “Yoda’s Secret War” begins to stand on its own, the future/present makes things awkward in Star Wars #28.
+ Yoda as a student
+ Mystery deepens in interesting way
– Connections feel ‘forced’
CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
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 | #27 | #29 | #30
Annual: #1 | #2
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)
Black Squadron (#1-3) | Lockdown (#4-6) | The Gathering Storm (#7-13)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)