In Review: Mace Windu #3

A cliffhanger that goes against character hurts this issue which has great villains and terrific visuals.

The covers: Jedi Master Mace Windu crawls through a puddle in the rain to reach for his lightsaber as mercenary droid AD-W4, whose image can be seen in the water, also reaches for the weapon. Great layout and great coloring on this cover. Seeing a Jedi straining to do anything always carries a lot of punch and seeing the droid doing the same is creepy. This Regular cover by Jesus Saiz is a winner in every way. The Variant Julian Totino Tedesco is just too pale. It’s hard to find a focus with the coloring on this frontpiece. Mace is leaping into a group of battle droids, his cloak splayed about him. Several Star Destroyers can be seen in the sky. This needs some darker colors. The Star Wars 40th Anniversary Variant cover is by Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire is a terrific illustration of the Millennium Falcon being chased by four TIE fighters, their blasters firing upon the ship, while below the Death Star readies itself to fire on the Rebel base. The art is great, with the layout being perfectly balanced, and the colors are outstanding, with the TIEs being lit in green from their blasters, the explosions excellent, and the Death Star photorealistic. Outstanding. Overall grades: Regular A, Variant C, and Star Wars 40th Anniversary Variant A+

The story: The issue starts with a three paged flashback “Some Time Ago…” when General Grievous met with AD-W4 to hire him to deal with any Jedi that may interfere with the Separatist military maneuvers on Hissrich. This justifies why the mercenary droid is on the world and it’s neat to see Grievous in any comic (though I missed his familiar cough in his dialogue), but this went on a page too long. There’s a lot of information that’s unnecessary to the story. Matt Owens then brings the reader back to the present with Jedi Master Mace Windu and Jedi Knight Rissa Mano battling several battle droids. The fight is quick, with the story then moving to Master Kit Fisto and Knight Prosset Dibs. The pair discover something which causes them some momentary consternation, but the outcome is never in doubt. The antagonist is visited, having a conversation with an infamous character, pushing this book’s villain to do something. Back with the Jedi, two of them find some things which cause one to question their mission on the planet. This leads to an unbelievable cliffhanger. The character who is upset can certainly have words with the others, but the action is out of left field. Even more stupefying is the reaction of the second speaker in the first panel on the final page. The dialogue and actions of the character in the final panel just comes off as completely against what this character would say and do. I’m not buying it and it put a taint on the story that came before it. Yes, I’ll read the next two, final, issues, but this conflict is forced beyond belief. Overall grade: C-

The art: The pencils by Denys Cowan and the inks by Roberto Poggi are beautiful. I loved seeing their version of Grievous, who looks great. I loved his hunched over posture and his too wide shoulders that allow him to dominate every panel he’s in. The final two panels on Page 3 are great visuals that make the dialogue honest. If one is a fan of Jedi using their sabers and Force pushes to deal with baddies, then this issue is for you. Mano and Windo dispatch with several droids in visually thrilling ways, with Mace’s actions on 5 the best he’s been since Genndy Tartakovsky got to write two episodes for him in the original Clone Wars cartoons. It’s also refreshing to see a Jedi enjoy what he or she is doing, with the fourth panel on 6 being excellent. Fisto and Dibs are in a dark cavern, allowing the artists to really play with what’s seen and unseen and they do an great job when the heroes ignite their lightsabers. The two pages that focus on AD speaking with someone really show the artists moving the point of view around well, making this conversation exciting before blasters come into play. The setting that’s first shown on 12 is great. Star Wars is famous for its varied settings and this is a strong one. A downpour showers the characters on the final four pages. Rain is often over or underdone, but this is perfect — it’s a strong rain, yet the characters can be clearly seen. I’m really liking the art. Overall grade: A

The colors: Guru-eFX does the coloring on this book and it, too, looks good. The first two panels of the book have a rusted taint, to show that the setting is in decay, but upon entering a structure the colors go an alien blue-green, to make this conversation between robotic characters foreign. The violets used on AD-W4 are a great choice as they make the character an eye magnet each time he appears. There are several sounds in this issue that are colored brightly to make the actions occurring really pop. The glow of every characters’ lightsabers is wonderfully luminescent. For the scenes within the cave, greens slickly shine, as the Jedi’s lightsabers are the only light source in the space. The hologram in this issue isn’t the traditional blue from the films, but colored realistically, which is fine, since Guru-eFX gives the projection a slightly dull color to set it apart. The setting on 12 is great, with much of the plant life glowing. The falling rain is also masterfully colored. The colors on this book are great. Overall grade: A

The letters: This issue’s scene settings, droid speech, dialogue, sounds, and a creature’s wail are created by VC’s Joe Caramagna. The sounds on this book are awesome. These are the sounds I’ve been longing to experience in Star Wars comics. I love the blaster fire, the lightsabers’ igniting, and the deflecting of blaster shots. Page 12’s second panel shows how sounds add some punch to the dialogue, with a character’s speech literally cut off by a sound; this is the perfect insertion of dialogue and sound by Caramagna. I’m still wishing that the dialogue was a different font, but that’s my continual harp. Still, I wish the editors at Marvel look at this book to see how fun, cool, neat, exciting, and wonderful sounds make the battles in this book. Overall grade: A-

The final line: A cliffhanger that goes against character hurts this issue which has great villains and terrific visuals. I’m hooked enough as a fan to finish this series out, but I’m shaking my head at how this ends. 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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