In Review: Mace Windu #1

Anything could happen after this issue and I'm looking forward to seeing this hero in action.

The covers: A lucky seven covers for collectors to seek out for this first issue. The Regular cover is by Jesus Saiz and features Mace using the Force to knock over several battle droids. He’s in the center of the illustration, holding his lit saber in his right hand, while his open left is pushing the droids over, who frame him. Really cool, but I wish there wasn’t a blur on the droids to make them look as though they’re moving quickly. The illustration by Saiz communicated this well enough to the reader without the computer effect, which distracts. The Animation Variant is a stellar cover showing the Jedi as he’s portrayed in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. This is fantastic and, based on this cover, I’m hoping that Marvel does many more Animation covers. The Star Wars 40th Anniversary cover is by Russell Dauterman and features a close-up of Leia as she’s awakened by Luke Skywalker who’s a little too short to be a stormtrooper. The image is good, but the background behind her is composed of random circles on a hot orange and yellow star field. I would have preferred the Death Star cell. The Homage Variant comes courtesy of Javier Rodriguez and it’s a take on Strange Tales #167 by Jim Steranko. Mace is in Nick’s spot, followed by Rissa, Kit, Prosset, and two clone troopers. Instead of the American flag, it’s a Jedi flag. This was a cool idea, but it just isn’t polished enough for me; it looks really rough. There’s an Incentive cover by Rahzzah that has the reader looking up at Windu, who’s holding his lightsaber in the reader’s face. Behind the man is a huge planet sporting several rings. Good likeness by Rahzzah and neat point of view. A Movie Variant cover featuring a beaming Samuel L. Jackson as the Jedi Master is fantastic and the image I had to use to accompany this review. The Action Figure Variant cover is by John Tyler Christopher and features Mace Windu on a faux classic Kenner card with the character wearing his Hissrich Battle Gear clothing. The picture is a drop dead gorgeous bust of Jackson wearing the same fatigues that his figure sports. This is a cover that every fan will want to own. Overall grades: Regular B+, Animation Variant A+, Star Wars 40th Anniversary Variant B-, Homage Variant C, Incentive A-, Movie Incentive A+, and Action Figure Variant A+

The story: After the events at the Battle of Geonosis, Mace is speaking with Ki-Adi-Mundi via hologram. They discuss their new roles as generals in this war neither wanted. Their conversation over, Windu is altered that Jedi Council is ready to speak with him. He is being assigned a reconnaissance mission to go to the jungle planet of Hissrich to monitor a contingency of Separatists to determine what their purpose is. He chooses three other Jedi to accompany him: Kit Fisto, Prosset Dibs, and Rissa Mano. Before leaving, Yoda has words with Windu that hopefully will strengthen him. Writer Matt Owens has the team to get to know each on the trip, with Rissa demonstrating how new she to being recently promoted to Jedi, while blind Prosset shows his abilities. The team lands on the planet, changes into stealth clothes, and trouble is soon encountered. This is a solid start to this series, which I’m more than happy to see focus on two of my favorite Jedi: Windu and Fisto. I admit to thinking that the pair of new protagonists won’t survive this series, since they’ve not been shown before, but I’m going to try to stay optimistic. I enjoyed how Rissa and Prosset revealed aspects of their characters, with Prosset having a personality that matches Kit’s. The forces that the quartet encounter on Hissrich are cool, until they speak, then they become comedy relief, which was disappointing. I was very surprised to “hear” one use the word “gotta” on Page 17. I can’t recall this type of character ever slurring their words before. The reveal at the end was okay; it reveals the leader of the antagonists, but since this character is new there’s not much impact to this individual. As this series progresses and more is seen of this character, the threat should increase. Overall grade: B+

The art: The penciler of this book is Denys Cowan and the inker is Roberto Poggi. I’ve been a big fan of Cowan since he was the artist on DC Comics’ The Question and I looked forward to seeing what he, and Poggi, would do on a Star Wars book. I was not disappointed. The first page is a full-paged splash showing the Battle of Geonosis, with a leaping Jango Fett coming down on a yelling Mace. There’s a lot of action on the page and the artists make it look more epic than that shown in Episode II. Mace is somber for the entire issue, beginning with his conversation with Ki-Adi-Mundi. I like how the focus is tight on the characters, making their every word heavy with the weight of their discussion. Page 5 is an outstanding page with Mace shown full figured addressing the council, surrounded by the three Jedi he’s chosen, who are themselves shown in action to the reader. It’s a great layout and full of really cool details. When Prosset removes his hood it’s a really neat moment, with the drama high because every reader will want to know what he looks like. The landing of the Jedi’s ship is cool and their debarking on 11 even cooler. The action that begins on 13 is good and the ferocity of the fighting increases very well; I especially liked the last panel on 15. The story follows a new character beginning on 17 and Cowan and Poggi do an outstanding job on this individual from many different angles. The final page of the book is a full-paged splash of the villain who makes a neat debut, but the coloring slightly obscures the details of the character. I’m liking the art and am looking forward to seeing what else this pair bring to this series. Overall grade: A-

The colors: This book has some really bright colors by Guru-eFX, which normally I’m fond of seeing in comics, but there are some times they are so far removed from what’s been shown in other series or in the films it hurts the images. The book begins with a strong dusty orange for Geonosis, which is entirely appropriate. This color carries over to the scenes in the Jedi Temple, practically turning red. I don’t recall seeing this color ever used for views outside the temple windows and made me think that there was a smog alert over the planet. The colors are incredibly strong and correct for Page 5 where the team is revealed. The exteriors of Hissrich are very green, suiting a jungle world, with blues used for the night sky. This was an excellent choice to create the evening without obliterating the art. When blasters and sabers come into use their colors really explode off the page. The final page has a character whose color scheme is too close to that of the background, making the character blend into it too much; from the waist down, the character practically disappears. The coloring was done to make the figure sinister, but a darker background would have been much better for the character. Overall grade: B-

The letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna creates scene settings and character identification (the same font), dialogue, transmissions and droid speech (the same font), and sounds. I’m disappointed that transmissions and droids sound the same, because they don’t sound the same in the films or any of the series, and that the scene settings’ font was reused for the character identification. Shouldn’t it have been a unique font, that way to make the character’s name look more memorable? The slender font used for dialogue continues to be a hindrance for characters that yell, making their yells sound like everyday speech. I was pleased to see several sounds during the firefight — they look great! I’m hopeful that more appear in this series as they made the battle sequences the better. Overall grade: C+

The final line: Four Jedi go to a mission to a planet recently infested by Separatists. This first issue solidly establishes the premise, with a greater threat revealed, told with some strong visuals. I’m very happy to see Mace get the spotlight, accompanied by the Jedi known for his grin, Kit Fisto. Anything could happen after this issue and I’m looking forward to seeing these heroes in action. Overall grade: B

To purchase a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Star-Wars-Jedi-of-the-Republic-Mace-Windu-2017-1-of-5/digital-comic/529915?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

To see all the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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