Published By: Marvel Comics
Released On: 30 August 2017
Rating: Rated T
Writer: Matt Owens
Penciler: Denys Cowan
For over a thousand generations, the Jedi have been the peacekeepers of the galaxy – but now, at the dawn of the Clone Wars, they find themselves in a new role: generals in the Army of the Republic. As Mace Windu, one of the Jedi’s greatest warriors, leads a small unit of Jedi into battle shortly after the war begins, the Jedi must make peace with their new role, or be lost to the violence around them….
The series opens druing the Clone Wars era, with Mace Windu talking to a hologram of Ki Adi Mundi. Windu reflects on the Jedi’s new role in the Republic and on the amount of lives lost at the Battle of Geonosis. He is conflicted about the path they are being drawn down and Mundi listens, trying to console him. With Windu seemingly at peace, the two Jedi are called to the council chamber for a meeting.
In the chamber, Yoda presents Windu with a mission; monitor and find the purpose of the Separatist occupation of the planet Hissrich. Because of stretched resources and the nature of the mission, Windu will not be accompanied by clones. Instead, Windu chooses three other Jedi to accompany him; Kit Fisto, Prosset Dibs (a blind Jedi) and Rissa Mano.
Before leaving on the mission, Yoda finds Windu to check on his friend as he can sense that Windu is troubled. Windu admits he is having doubts about the war but Yoda quickly reassures him, telling him to trust the force and himself.
Onboard the Westwind, a Jedi ship modified by Mano, Windu catches Dibs talking with Fisto about how, as Jedi, they should not be fighting in the Clone Wars. Supposedly ignoring what is said, Windu outlines the mission for the rest of the team. They are there to find out what the Separatists’ are doing on the planet Hissrich and then shut it down. The planet is almost always in darkness so the Jedi have to wear special suits to help regulate their temperature and as camouflage.
The Jedi land on Hissrich without being spotted and Windu speaks to Dibs privately. Windu gives Dibs the same advice that Yoda gave him, in these troubled times trust to the force. Before the two finish their conversation, they are spotted by a droid patrol. All four Jedi attack and quickly defeat the droids. However, before they can celebrate, the Jedi can sense that they have been surrounded by some unknown assailants.
From a distance, another droid spots the Jedi, who rushes back to base to inform the commander, a mysterious mercenary droid called AD-W4
Of all the Jedi that were introduced during the Prequel Trilogy, none were more cool than Mace Windu. The Legends timeline gave Windu his own novel and he was featured heavily in the Dark Horse comics. He had a unique coloured lightsaber and a lightsaber form that he himself created. Added to that he also had a special force power that has since been canonised in The Clone Wars TV series. So of course, it made sense to give him his own comic series to help delve further into the character and with the onslaught of variant covers from Marvel, my expectations were high for this series. But did this issue reach them?
The simple answer to this question is no. I was very disappointed with this issue. This is a first issue, plot points need to be set up, of course they do, but somehow it felt like nothing really happened. Added to that the panels were confusing in places. When the Council give Windu his mission we then get told that Windu has already selected his team, so why the mission brief? I had to go back and carefully look at the panels to notice that when Windu says he has selected his team, he is talking to Plo Koon and ‘could’ be happening further on in the story. Even now, I’m not sure whether this is happening at a later time to the council meeting or is still during the meeting.(The page in question is in the preview at the bottom of this review, let me know which you think it is!) It is asking the reader to put far more effort in than should be necessary. The other issue I have with this particular scene, is that Mace is a member of the council. As we see in Revenge of the Sith, the council discusses missions where they are needed and then put Jedi or themselves forward for it. Why have Windu treated like a Jedi Knight and have him appear before a council he is on?
I also thought the ending was anticlimatic. There is a build up to who the commander of the droid base is. This led me to believe that this was a character we had already encountered before. And yet it is a new droid that no one has heard of. And while we are on the droids, the droid humour is back, and not in a good way. Yes it is reminiscent of the films but I wish the writer had toned it down a bit.
You would think that this would be the worst of the issue, but no. The artwork is shocking. On the very first page, Luminara Unduli is shown, her face not quite right. This, reader, is your first warning, because the artwork continues to fall from this point. The only word I can use is sloppy. There is little detail and a lot of times I cringed, most notably at Yoda. I maybe asking for too much, but for a series that is going to attract a lot of attention, I want something more, something that makes me go wow.
For as long as Marvel has held the license for this new wave of comics, we have been getting character named series’. On the odd occassion, we get one that just feels… right (the Han Solo series for one). However, most of the time these series’ have not been up to par and although this is only the first issue, I already feel like Mace Windu is going to be one of these. The story and the art could have started so much better and it is going to take a lot of skill for the remaining issues to improve this series. I hope I’m wrong, I want to enjoy this series so much, but something tells me I won’t and it’ll be another missed opportunity. We are at a time when there are more Star Wars releases than ever before, surely a good thing. Yet I can’t help wondering, with issues like this, whether Marvel needs to slow down and focus on quality not quantity.
Issue Preview and Cover Variants:
40th Anniversary Variant Cover by Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson
JTC Action Figure Cover Variant
Rahzzah variant cover
Samuel Jackson Movie Photo Variant Cover
Clone Wars Animation Variant Cover
Rodriguez Variant Cover
Mace Windu is a five part series available from Marvel. All issues will be collected in a trade paperback (6 March 2018) entitled Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu.