Mace Windu is back and in full-force (no pun intended) as he leads a band of Jedi to take out a droid facility at the beginning of the Clone Wars. It’s great to have some new stories about one of the great Jedi Masters from what was arguably the golden age of the Jedi. SPOILERS AHEAD…
This series takes place at the very beginning of the Clone Wars, and I’m glad we are getting a look at the early days of a war that changed the galaxy in such a monumental way. This war is uncharted waters for the Jedi and they are still recovering from the Battle of Geonosis. Mace, though confident, was extremely trepidatious about the Jedi’s involvement in the war. Just as he said in Attack of the Clones, “The Jedi are keepers of the peace, not soldiers.” That sentiment moves with him in every frame of this issue, but nevertheless, Mace has risen to the challenge. Mace, along with Kit Fisto, Prosseet Dibs, and Rissa Mano have arrived on the planet Hissirich to disband a Separatist droid occupation. It’s up to the Jedi, who have no Clone Trooper support, to rid Hissirich of the droids. Above, the Jedi are being lead through some caverns by the indigenous species of Hissirich, to an unknown destination most of the Jedi are wary of.
In the subterranean of Hissirich lays a whole other world. Much like the Gungans exist in the underwater expanse of Naboo, these creatures live below the surface, with all the necessary elements for life provided by the undergrowth of the planet’s vegetation. I don’t think we’ve seen a world like this in the Star Wars Universe, and this is one of my favorite parts of Marvel’s continued expanding the scope. The Jedi, appreciating all aspects of life, recognize the complexity and preciousness of an ecosystem this unique. Judging from their reactions, it seems they’ve not seen a planet like this either.
Ah, yes, another droid commander. We met him in the last issue, but AD-W4, mercenary droid extraordinaire is here to take charge of the droid army to an end we are not exactly sure of yet. For now, AD-W4 is about to go hunting for some Jedi. Pardon me for saying, but this mercenary droid struck me as a pretty bland villain. He looks like a cross between a prototype of General Grievous and Ultron. We’ll see how he pans out, but the droids-leading-droids villain has already been done and I’d rather get some gnarly looking alien species leading the droid army against the Jedi. Just my opinion, but I’ll try to keep an open mind.
Once the Jedi realize the droids are headed their way due to a marginally functional scout droid casualty they discover to be broadcasting it’s location, Mace orders everyone to evacuate. Too late! The droids come crashing through the earth and rock ceiling of the cavern. Lightsabers ignited, blasters out, and the fight begins.
Mace Windu is a consistent badass when it comes to dispelling battle droids. His talents are not wasted on these unfortunate droid soldiers. The action in this issue moves very fast, but of course, Mace is the one doing most the heavy lifting as the Jedi enter combat. Any trepidation they had about the Clone Wars is put on hold as the Jedi show that while they don’t prefer fighting, they won’t back down from one.
Well, it didn’t take too long for Mace and AD-W4. Did I also mention that’s about the least menacing name for a Star Wars villain I think I’ve heard? Sounds like something one would use to lubricate droid gears. The two of them duke it out, and the mercenary droid handles himself surprisingly well, considering he’s fighting a Jedi Master who all but held his own against Darth Sidious. This is a problem I sometimes have with Jedi versus lightsaber-esque (think Grievous’ MagnaGuards) even being much of a fight. In the first Darth Vader series by Kieron Gillen, Vader demonstrated that he had no problem wiping out a room filled with cyborg, lightsaber wielding creatures. That’s what I’d normally expect. I know this is super-nerdy of me to complain here, but it seems like a mercenary droid with a lame designation should pose no challenge for one of the most powerful Jedi Masters in the galaxy, but he does, and Mace nearly gets his proverbial lightsaber handed to him. Which bothers me, but I’ll end my fanboy rant there.
Kit Fisto helps Mace land after his attack on AD-W4 goes sideways. During the battle, AD-W4 reveals that he doesn’t really care about the Clone War other than it being a payday for his services. Once Mace regroups, he wants to finish what was started, and goes after AD-W4, while tasking the rest of the Jedi to continue dealing with the droids.
Mace and Rissa discover a new droid, though one that is on the overground and is designed to harvest the energy stored in the roots and earth of Hissirich. It looks like the Jedi have discovered why the Separatists have taken an interest in the remote world.
The Jedi realize there is much more at stake. Now that they’ve seen how delicate an ecosystem Hissirich holds, they realize taking out a few battle droids is the least of their problems. AD-W4 has proven himself to be a formidable opponent, so that certainly won’t make things easier for the small group of Jedi who must now protect this gem of a planet.
Aside from the minor gripes I had, I thought this was a great issue. Again, I love that we are revisiting the Clone Wars just as they began and seeing the Jedi come into their own as generals. Mace is a great Star Wars character, so it’s great to see that Marvel and the Story Group are giving him a solid arc. Writer Matt Owens (who co-wrote my favorite of the Netflix Marvel series, Luke Cage) helms these characters very well, considering it’s his first Star Wars contribution. The art by Denys Cowan (ink by Robert Poggi, color by Guru-eFx) seems to fit the tone of the story and the action sequences are very well done. I have a feeling this series will continue to move at a pretty fast pace.
If you’re a Mace Windu fan, head on down to your local comic store and pick up this issue, as well as the first. It is shaping up to be a good series.
7 out of 10 Stars