This week in the realm of Star Wars comics, writer Jason Aaron and artist Salvador Larocca continue their Yoda-centric story arc that they began in issue #26. After failing to stop R2-D2 from going off on his own to rescue C-3PO, who was recently captured by Scar Squadron, an elite group of stormtroopers, Luke Skywalker has found himself stranded momentarily without a hyperdrive (thanks to R2). Luke passes the time by reading a story in Ben’s journal about the adventures of a Jedi master some time before the Clone War.
Unknown to Luke, the Jedi in question was revealed to the readers as none other than the esteemed master Yoda. In the previous issue, we followed the little green Jedi to a mysterious planet, answering a call he had heard through the Force, only to discover that the world’s warrior inhabitants are…children.
Aaron has done something different with this issue than he has thus far in the series. After each arc so far, there has been an interlude issue that dives into the life of Obi-Wan Kenobi while in exile on Tatooine, told to us through the journal that the Jedi had left behind for Luke. So far, these issues have been one-shot stories in between the major arcs. What I really like about what Aaron is doing at the moment is that he has given his main ongoing story the back seat while focusing on a complete story arc as told from Ben’s journal. This is much more than a one and done, and I really like where it’s headed.
This issue picks up with Yoda’s introduction to the warrior children, where despite his best efforts at communicating his peaceful intent, the children demonstrate a great deal of mistrust, thinking him to be a monster conjured up by their enemies to attack them. When one of the children launches a stone-tipped spear at master Yoda, he struggles to deflect it with the Force, and is almost killed by the attack. The stone in the spear, he realizes, is alive in the Force, unlike any stone he had ever seen.
After Yoda explains that he came to them answering a call through the Force, the children begin to understand that he has heard their call for help, and they no longer view him as a threat, but as their deliverer.
The children reveal to Yoda the sacred stone, once part of a great range of mountains from which their people drew life and strength. In the wake of conflict, where members of their people became greedy and attempted to keep the stone power for themselves, the people were divided into two groups. The group that Yoda has happened upon are the exiles – the “mudwhackers”. Their enemies, the “rockhawkers” live in the shadow of the mysterious and dreadful mountain that is somehow responsible for the disappearance of their parents.
Yoda then journeys to the base of the mountain to confront the rockhawkers in attempt to help the people come to an understanding of peace, realizing that despite their ignorance of its ways, the Force is very much at work in the lives of these people – and in the sacred stone they hold so dear. What he soon discovers is that the dark side is very much at play on this dark and weary world.
Much to his surprise, the rockhawkers are also children, as their parents have also been claimed by the mountain. After his failed efforts to encourage compromise and peaceful resolution, Yoda is captured by the rockhawkers and the issue ends with the children sending Yoda up the mountain on his own to obtain something that seems to be very important to them – the heart of the mountain – whatever that is.
I’ve enjoyed the set up for this story so far, and it definitely has that same sort of vibe as the Yoda episodes at the beginning and end of the Clone Wars series. It’s not an epic adventure of a warrior in some grandiose battle, but then, that is not the type of story that serves Yoda’s character best. He admittedly is a teacher, not a warrior. Yoda has compassion on the least of all beings and this small scale story really showcases his strengths as a Jedi and puts his compassionate heart on display.
I don’t necessarily want a film about Yoda, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to know more about him, and the comic medium is a perfect way to tell us those tales. I have been a big fan of Jason Aaron since his work on Wolverine and the X-Men and Thor: God of Thunder, and his work on Star Wars continues to reveal his knack for interesting storytelling. Sure, there have been some misfires in this series, but he’s had more hits than misses and I am very much looking forward to see where he takes this Yoda story in the next issue.
My one gripe with this comic at present is the same that I had with the entire Darth Vader series (which I still very much enjoyed in spite of said gripe) – namely – the art of Salvador Larocca. I’m just not a fan. There’s something about his style that just rubs me the wrong way. It’s not that it’s bad – I just don’t like it personally. His simple line work does make way for some fantastic coloring from Edgar Delgado, who is to be commended for bringing us a collection of very slick and beautifully rendered panels. However, I just can’t get past the fact that so many of Yoda’s appearances in this comic seem to be directly lifted from stills of the movies. Sure, it looks like Yoda alright – but I can’t shake that it feels like a copy/paste job, and it detracts from the story in my opinion.
Overall though, I thought this was a good issue and I am very much looking forward to seeing how it plays out from here. And it looks like fans won’t have to wait long to find out what happens next as issue#28 is set to release next Wednesday, Feb. 1st. Also, don’t miss issue #1 of the 5-part Darth Maul miniseries next week! Star Wars #27 is available through Comixology or in your local comic shop. Check it out and share your thoughts in the comments below.