Readers Get a Window into Mace's Past in Marvel's Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu #4 - Star Wars News Net | Star Wars News Net
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Readers Get a Window into Mace’s Past in Marvel’s Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu #4

The #WaitForVIII is almost over, and this week, Marvel helps pass the time with a pretty solid fourth entry in the five-part mini-series Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu from writer Matt Owens. This issue gives us a glimpse into Mace Windu’s past and shows how that experience informs his actions in the main plot of the series and even later in his ill-fated confrontation with Palpatine. Read on for the full review.

 

 

SPOILERS AHEAD…

 

 

If you’ve been reading this series, you know it sort of reads like a story arc in the Clone Wars TV series, wherein a group of Jedi (led by Mace Windu) is tasked with a mission to stop the Separatist occupation of a planet and bring freedom to its oppressed population. It has all the beats that you find in a Clone Wars story arc and serves as a sort of prequel to the series, delving into the Jedi Order’s motivations behind their active involvement in the conflict and detailing one of the earliest campaigns after the initial battle on Geonosis.

 

 

The planet Hissrich is rich in an energy source that would give the Separatists a coveted advantage in the war effort. To protect their interests, the alien cyborg General Grievous has hired the mercenary droid AD-W4 who has a penchant for murdering Jedi. All is going rather smoothly for the Jedi team made up of Mace, Kit Fisto, the blind Prosset Dibs, and the young Rissa Mano – that is – until Dibs discovers that the council knew all along about the energy source and the true intentions of the mission are revealed.

 

Under the impression that their presence on the world was only for humanitarian relief for the planet’s inhabitants, the revelation that the Jedi are actually there to bring the fight to the Separatists doesn’t sit well with the pacifist Jedi. Dibs confronts Mace about his belief that the Jedi are acting against their own code by involving themselves in the Clone War in an active fighting capacity, claiming that the Council has now become corrupt. Obviously, Mace disagrees with this mindset, reminding the other Jedi that sometimes war to bring peace is necessary and that they didn’t train with lightsabers for them to only be an adornment for their waist.

 

 

The argument quickly comes to lightsaber blows as each man tries to convince the other that his belief is a fallacy. During the battle, readers jump back in time to witness a young Mace Windu as a Padawan alongside his master Cyslin Myr on the planet Mathas. In response to an epidemic, the Jedi Order had built a temple on the planet to provide spiritual guidance to a struggling population. However, when a heretic gets rid of the residing Jedi Master and sets himself up as a cult leader, using the religion of the Force as a means for selfish gain, Mace and Myr set out to end his false reign.

 

 

This backstory doesn’t reveal much about Mace’s origins, but it does dive into the motivation behind his particular ideology. When Myr reminds Mace that they are there to “assess and apprehend”, Mace voices his objection, stating that there’s nothing his words could say better than his lightsaber in this situation. We see the fire in the young Mace Windu here, and eventually, his struggle to tame it. Since the character’s inception, Mace Windu has always been presented as more of a warrior than a pacifist, and that quality really comes through in this series, especially with this issue.

 

 

After tracking down the fleeing heretic, Mace has no intentions of providing him a stay of execution, instead bent on bringing swift justice with his lightsaber blade. However, as he teeters on the edge of darkness, his master arrives just in time to convince him to show mercy, letting the council deal with the man’s fate. This encounter is what directly informs his confrontation with Dibs in the future. After besting the Jedi, Mace is forced with another decision – should he let the Council decide his fate or is he too dangerous to the mission to be left alive? The latter seems like an extreme option, but the way the issue sets up the scene really made me wonder for a second which path he would take, especially given his direct threat to hunt him down should he desert the cause.

 

 

Mace Windu is a character that is shown to constantly brush against the boundaries of the light and the dark side, an ironic quality considering his mistrust of Anakin Skywalker for possessing this very same trait. Thankfully, he decided to show mercy, locking Dibs away for the time being to continue with the task at hand. What I found most interesting though, is the correlation between both of these encounters with his views in the novel Dark Disciple and his actions in what would be his final scene in Revenge of the Sith.

 

 

In the novel, the Council decides to assassinate Count Dooku, a decision that Mace readily supports while others like Yoda and Obi-Wan are not so quick to come to that conclusion. In the movie, Windu finds himself in the same scenario once again, resolving that Palpatine is too dangerous and did not deserve the mercy he had previously shown to others. But, we’ll never know how that decision would have affected the Jedi Master in the end given that he was never allowed to carry that action out thanks to the turncoat Skywalker.

 

Regardless, if this series has done anything well, it’s the fact that it has really highlighted a trait in Mace Windu that we knew was there but have never really explored. Mace is very much of the opinion that there are no gray areas when it comes to the Force. He sees evil, and he feels the obligation to extinguish that evil in the name of preserving the light. Ironically though, his actions against the dark side often bring him close to it himself, placing him very firmly in that gray area that he denies even exists. The tricky thing is that it’s unclear whether his mindset was what led to the fall of the Jedi or if he was correct to take action and ultimately just failed in his attempt to end the Sith.

 

 

While it’s certainly agreed upon that the Jedi were blinded and led astray by Palpatine’s machinations, fans will probably disagree on this issue. It’s kind of one of those polarizing arguments that are fun to talk about but can become heated in a hurry as it directly corresponds to the real-world issue of pacifism versus warmongering. I think that Mace lies somewhere in between on this issue, as he desires peace, yet is not afraid to wage war to achieve it. Some would see eye to eye with Dibs on this issue whereas some would no doubt agree with Windu if this were a real-world conflict. It’s definitely a fine ethical line, and I think that’s what I found so intriguing about this issue.

 

As for the artwork from Denys Cowan & Edgar Salazar, while it’s not my favorite, it is refreshing to get a more stylized take on the galaxy far far away. The work of Cowan, the main artist in this series, reminds me a lot of Kev Walker’s work on Doctor Aphra, and I enjoy seeing the action scenes unfold in this comic as his skill in this area is readily apparent. It’s definitely a more cartoony style though, so if realism is your thing, you might not enjoy this comic as much as some of the other Star Wars series in print (or you might just want to get the issues in this series for the amazing covers by Jesus Saiz). I like a little variety in my comic reading so, personally, I appreciate the style.

 

 

I wouldn’t call this issue (or the series) a must read for all Star Wars fans, as it doesn’t seem to be that consequential to the overall story, but for what it sets out to do, it does well. This was probably my favorite entry in the series so far, and I look forward to seeing how it concludes in the next one. I wouldn’t say this issue is a great one, and I probably won’t be thinking about it weeks from now, but it is a good read, and it forces the readers to ask themselves some interesting ethical questions concerning the necessity of war and violence in the name of peace.

 

While I would have rated the previous issues no higher than 6/10 given the “been there, done that” vibe of it all, I’ll bump this one a little higher for a couple reasons. The base plot line is pretty “by the numbers”, making this series an average Star Wars tale at best, but with the character development in this issue (and that hairstyle on Padawan Mace), I have to boost that score just a little bit…

 

Score: 6.5 / 10

 

 

Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu is available in a comic shop near you and online at Comixology. Happy reading comic fans!

 

 

 

Jordan Pate is Co-Lead Editor and Senior Writer for Star Wars News Net, of which he is also a member of the book and comic review team. He loves all things Star Wars, but when he’s not spending time in the galaxy far far away, he might be found in our own galaxy hanging out in Gotham City or at 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center, NY.

 

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