In Review: Mace Windu #2

A generic Star Wars issue that could feature any Jedi in the same situation.

The covers: Mace Windu faces the reader, not looking happy, his lightsaber held ready for any foe. Behind him is Kit Fisto, who has his saber held dramatically above his head, though the usually happy Jedi looks intense. Behind the pair is an explosion of yellow and orange. This Regular cover comes courtesy of Jesus Saiz and it’s too dark. I wish it had lighter colors on the heroes because it’s very difficult to make the details in them. The image accompanying this review is considerably lighter than the physical copy I purchased. The first Varaint cover is the Star Wars 40th Anniversary cover by Adi Granov. This features the final battle between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi on the Death Star from Star Wars: A New Hope. The characters are centered, seen through a blast door, look great, with the colors looking perfect. Worth tracking down. The final Variant is also worth chasing down. Created by David Nakayama, Mace Windu comes down to the ground after dealing with two battle droids that have yet to fall after earning his wrath. Mace looks exceptional and the colors, especially for the background, are outstanding. Overall grades: Regular C+, Star Wars 40th Anniversary Variant A, and Nakayama Variant A 

The story: In the subterranean caves of Hissrich, Mace, Kit Fisto, Prosseet Dibs, and Rissa Mano are being lead by some of the locals to something important. What it is, they don’t know. This causes Kit to continually press Mace for what he believes their destination will hold. His prodding causes Mace to say, “I sense no malice from these creatures. Holster your paranoia for the time being.” They enter a cavern and reach their destination. It’s a surprising discovery that even the Jedi couldn’t predict, plus there is something smaller they find that increases their pressure to learn what the Separatists are doing on the world. The villain of the book, revealed only on the last page of the previous issue, AD-W4 is having unfunny verbal difficulties with a droid before he’s alerted to a situation. Note, “Skipper” garnered no commentary. The story by Matt Owens highlights action more than story, which is what some fans want in their Star Wars comics, but if one has been a following this franchise for a few years, the action is comparable to The Clone Wars cartoon. There’s a decent fight between Mace and AD, though it does end predictably, given that this is only Issue #2. The other Jedi get some decent fight scenes as well, with the foursome split by the issue’s close. Plenty of fighting, but why the Separatists are there will have to wait for another issue to reveal. Overall grade: B

The art: The first page of this issue has some nice movement from the characters as they make their way through the caves, walking toward the reader. This is a neat way to introduce each character to the reader and show that they’re heading to a specific location. The natives look good, though I was prepared for one of them to utter “My Precious!” upon reaching their destination. The reveal on Page 3 is good, shooting the story instantly into the category of epic. Page 5 has AD reappear in the story and there’s not a really clear image of him until the bottom of the page, and even then he has his hand over his lower mouth…or what functions as a mouth for the droid. The final panel on 6 teases the action that’s to come, with things going dramatic on 7. The next two pages have only one panel with any dialogue as Mace battles several antagonists. The sequence was very easy to follow, considering how speedy it is, so penciller Denys Cowan and inker Roberto Poggi are to be complemented for that. The confrontation between AD and Mace is just as good. The action on 13 is confusing, however, because I can’t tell how that sphere is constructed nor what’s occurring in the final panel. I really like Page 17, which makes me think of Anakin’s opening moves in The Clone Wars movie. The final page is a full-paged splash, teasing the action that’s come in the next issue, but it’s pretty empty. Didn’t the Jedi just battle practically the same number of antagonists just a few pages ago? I don’t see why this image should carry more weight. Overall grade: B- 

The colors: This book is just way too dark. The colors obliterate the details in a majority of the panels of this issue. The setting is in a cave, so it’s expected to be dark and dim, but this is when a colorist cheats slightly and makes the art visible, while communicating it’s dark. Page 4 is when this is first encountered. Prosseet is lost in the second panel because of the colors. The character behind Rissa in the final panel is also lost due to coloring. The background colors on 5 have the characters disappearing into them. The technological point of view on 6 is considerably darker than any form of scanner shown in any incarnation of Star Wars. Why so dark now? 10 has the villain darkly colored on a dark background. Both characters on 12 continue to be darkly colored. This is the high point of the book and is being diminished by the colors. Guru-eFX has got to lighten things up on later issues. Overall grade: D

The letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna creates scene settings, sounds, dialogue, and native and droid speech (the same font). I’m disappointed that the locals and the droids have the same speech font, differentiated only by the shape of their dialogue balloons. I kept thinking that both groups sounded like droids because of this. The sounds are an enormously strong element of this book. I especially liked they were provided for lightsabers being ignited on the first page. Whenever a sound is required for earthquakes or rumbling of rocks, they look great. If only sounds could also have been used for blaster fire and explosions. Overall grade: B-

The final line: A generic Star Wars issue that could feature any Jedi in the same situation. The action is good, but is hard to see from colors that are too dark. Good enough to give fans their weekly Star Wars fix, but not memorable. Overall grade: B-

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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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