Comic Review: Age Of Republic – Special #1

Published: January 16, 2019
Rating:
T
Writer:
Ethan Stacks (The Weapon); Jody Houser (Sisters); Marc Guggenheim (501 Plus One)
Penciler:
Paolo Villanelli (The Weapon); Carlos Gomez (Sisters); Casper Wijngaard (501 Plus One)
Cover Artist:
Rod Reis

The synopsis;

THE GREATEST HEROES OF THE REPUBLIC, THE DEADLIEST VILLAINS – AND EVERYONE IN BETWEEN! FOUR CREATIVE TEAMS! FOUR STORIES FEATURING YOUR FAVORITE STAR WARS CHARACTERS! The baddest Jedi in the galaxy has a score to settle — MACE WINDU returns in an action-packed adventure from OLD MAN HAWKEYE’S Ethan Sacks! You can run, but can you hide from the twin lightsaber’s of Sith assassin ASAJJ VENTRESS? Feel her fury in a tale expertly woven by veteran STAR WARS comic scribe Jody Houser (THRAWN, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS). And is JAR JAR BINKS’ role in the Star Wars story over? NOT BY A LONG SHOT! Because Chip Zdarsky (PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN and MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE) has a rancor bone to pick with the galaxy’s most notorious Gungan. You can take the clone out of the war but you can never take the war out of the clone — CAPTAIN REX dusts off his blaster and enters the fray in a story by X-MEN: GOLD author Marc Guggenheim.

The stories;

The Weapon

Mace Windu in his Starfighter patrols the atmosphere of Oosalon, where local insurgents watch his every move.

Later, he has been captured and is to be brought before their leader, Guttako the Grim. He has helped these children by giving them food and shelter. Windu believes his captors are terrorists, but they think they are freedom fighters. His lightsaber is carried by one of his captors in a box and his been broken up into pieces and shows it to Guttako. He tells Windu of his plans to launch a revolution from their underground cave and bring freedom to the quadrant. A safe place to hide, while he sends the children to fight and die for him, the Jedi Master disagrees.

Windu is forced to his knees, he is to be executed and holo cameras will record this to persuade Chancellor Valorum of their cause. Looking on from behind bars are more children, the next generation of Guttako’s army.

Seemingly resigned to his fate, Windu gives Guttako one last chance to surrender. Guttako realises that Windu wanted to be captured all along, but the call for help for more Jedi will be in vain. The cave system has 80,000km of tunnels and they will not find him in time. Calling for his fellow Jedi through the Force was his second lesson, Guttako asks, what his first was. Windu remembers back to his ‘first lesson’ Jedi Temple and rebuilding his lightsaber without holding it.

Piece by piece his lightsaber rebuilds itself, leaps from the case and strikes down its bearers. Now in its master’s hands, Guttako orders his guards to kill Windu. He makes short work of the guards and Guttako attacks. The duel is equal, but turns in Guttako’s favour. Suddenly a blaster bolt strikes him down. A child has broken rank and holds a smoking blaster, asking to go home.

He is freed from his binds, many Jedi are there to back up Windu. They would have been there sooner if not for the tunnels. Master Yoda’s hologram appears and congratulates Windu for saving all the children and says his captors will be tried, but most will be returned to their homes. Windu is pensive as he believes that although Yoda feels they have all been saved, he does not believe everyone has.

Sisters

In the lower levels of Coruscant, an alien is barely alive on a bed. He wanted him alive, but Ventress indicated that he is, only just, but he is still alive and she wants her bounty. He reluctantly hands over the cash, but Ventress is interested in another bounty poster on the wall. Ahsoka Tano is hers, she exclaims.

Deep in the bowels of the city wide planet, she wonders what Tano has done now. She knows she’s left the Jedi Order and follows up on some leads.

In an alleyway, 2 young females are being accosted by a large male Weequay for their bag of food. Ventress thinks it’s not her problem, but then remembers her own sisters back on Dathomir and their demise to General Grievous.

She steps in to protect the 2 girls and takes the Weequay’s attention. Lightsaber’s at the ready, she has his attention. One of the girls sees an opportunity to attack their assailant herself. Stabbing him in the leg he is caught by surprise. Ventress pounces cleaving off his left arm, giving the advice for him to run. He disappears into the mist of the alleyways.

Ventress hands the girls the Weequay’s weapon, in return they offer her some of their food. She declines and advises they look after each other, turns and disappears into the mists herself.

501 Plus One

Captain Rex is coming to, his vision blurred, but clearing he sees the familiar face of Anakin Skywalker in front of him. Skywalker tells him that he should have gone in before Rex like true leaders should.

Sometime later, Rex is at the battle of Mimban, leading the 501st in the protection of Republic Senator Jar Jar Binks. General Laan Tik is killed in the fight and the troopers think that Rex is now in command, but they wrong. That responsibility now lies with the senator.

They retreat from the battle back to their base to discuss their next move. The shield generator, their target, is close, Rex seems to know something, but they agree that a complete retreat and evacuation is the best option and call for the shuttle.

Later, Rex is leaving camp and bumps into Hardcase. He knows it’s a suicide mission, but there are less casualties this way. Little do they know they too are being watched?

Rex is a one man army, cutting down every droid that stands in his way. Their number eventually overpower him and a blaster bolt takes him down. He goes to get up, but another puts him back down. The droids approach their quarry, but a flash of blue lights slices through the torso’s. Confused, Rex calls out to his Jedi General, but it is another standing there, Senator Binks of Naboo.

Binks drops the ignited and it tumbles dangerously close to hurting himself. Rex takes hold of the lightsaber and extinguishes its blade. He questions why Binks is there, saving him comes the reply and he fires the same question at Rex. He says an old friend told him that leader’s lead from the front and he is doing just that.

An explosion rocks them as more droids flood towards them. Rex says that Binks has been brave to go this far and gives him blaster rifle. He un-holsters his pistols and they both turn to attack their droids. Binks calls to Rex to give him back the lightsaber, but the request is refused, and he isn’t surprised!

The review;

This issue sees a slight change from the previous issues as covers and stories go. 4 covers, 3 stories to be precise!

We have 4 brilliant covers this issue and Rod Reis gets his first outing for this series to bring us the direct edition cover. A great collage of the main story protagonists, which is nice and crisp. Then there’s the Deodato and Woodard collaboration for the Galactic Moments series of covers. A striking illustration of Queen Amidala on her throne on Naboo. To be completely honest, I had to double check if this was a photo and not a piece of artwork. Next is the 5th piece in the Guru-eFX and McKone puzzle piece cover set. Like the direct edition, it shows this issues main character’s, but with the linked theme from the previous 4 issues. Finally there is my favourite. The Pham and Reber Asajj Ventress action portrait. I was very happy to see this cover, but not only that, my local comic book shop had a copy waiting for me to collect!

Now we come to the stories and we have been given 3 very different tales.

Firstly I’ll start with the Mace Windu storyline from Ethan Stacks. This was a really good look at Mace Windu, who for me is a Jedi who has still got too much of his story untold. Stacks manages to capture the sometimes cunning and possibly aggressive nature of Master Windu. Although he sees Anakin as rebellious and a threat, maybe it his own traits that make him feel uneasy in his way. Dare I say, that they are alike in many ways? Both brilliantly loyal to the cause and wants to save everyone and sometimes not agreeing with others opinions. I also liked the way the child rebels and takes down his own Master. The innocence of asking to go home after blasting Guttako was a great twist. It was also nice to see a young Mace Windu being taught in the Jedi Temple. All in all, a good story and start to the issue.

Next up we have Jody Houser’s story about Asajj Ventress. Now this is a character I want to see more of and even with her own series and I think Jody should be the one to write it. I really did like this story, a lot. Although it is only a brief and simple tale of protection and helping those in need, it shows that Ventress is another character with too much untold. She has more of a moral backbone than we’re led to believe at times and the persecution of her kind by Grievous burns still in her memory.

Finally, it’s the Captain Rex and Jar Jar Binks tale from Marc Guggenheim. Now this has been seen by some as the redemption of Jar Jar, but for me, that isn’t the case. The hapless Gungan has been the bashed from pillar to post for a long time now, well for 20 years nearly, but I don’t think that this does much to help that. Rex is a stalwart of a character and is one that I do enjoy. I have never had an issue personally with Binks and his antics in the movies. He was there to serve a purpose for George Lucas as the stooge for the Emperor to bring down the Republic, so I could deal with his antics in the greater picture, but to see him here wielding a lightsaber and blaster rifle in battle, is even a stretch too far for me.

So in summary, we have 3 stories, 1 very good, 1 great and 1 not so great, but all accompanied by some great artwork and some amazing covers.

Availability;

This issue was released on 16th January 2019 and is available via the Marvel App and all good comic book stores. This issue retails at $4.99.