In Review: Mace Windu #4

The best issue in this mini-series, with Windu's past and present shown.

The covers: A trio of covers to collect on this penultimate issue. The Regular cover is a terrific frontpiece by Jesus Saiz. This is an intense close-up of Mace who has a grimace on his face as his lightsaber is colliding with another’s weapon. After the closing events of last issue, it’s probably Prosset Dibs he’s crossing blades with. The look on his face is great, the layout tops, and the coloring a deal sealer. This is great. The Star Wars 40th Anniversary cover is by Will Sliney & Rachelle Rosenberg with an extended version of the Rebels’ briefing before their attack on the Death Star. The backs of the pilots are shown, but in the foreground Han and Chewie are shown with the Corellian smiling at some of the reward he’s gotten from Princess Leia — small gold bars. The perspective on this is good, looking down upon the characters. Luke is even turned slightly to see what the pair is doing. The colors are great, making the familiar images colored as they were in the film and flawlessly merging the two new characters with them. Great job, all around. The Variant cover by Declan Shalvey is a surprising composition: Master Windu standing atop a structure on Coruscant at night. His lit lightsaber is held at his side, coloring him in violet. His robes are sweeping around him due to his height, while in the background the busy traffic in the sky can be seen. Great idea for a cover carried out well. Overall grades: Regular A+, Star Wars 40th Anniversary Variant A, and Shalvey Variant A

The story: Matt Owens takes this story in a new direction in the opening pages that provides an excellent counter to events in the present. On the planet Mathas in the past, two Jedi are making their way through the medieval city where its inhabitants are suffering from Niffin plague, a respiratory disease that’s affecting only those born on the world. However, the master and the apprentice are not there to help the people; they are there to speak with a heretic, Drooz, who has taken over a Jedi outreach temple, claiming to be a Jedi prophet and healer for a price. Outside the temple they remove their hoods, revealing the master to be Cyslin Myr and the apprentice Mace. This peek into the past turns to the present where Mace and Prosset Dibs are crossing sabers. The latter started the battle because he believes the Jedi have lost their way as shown by how they’re dealing with the troubles on Hissrich. He says, “All I throw away is a Jedi council that has turned its back on the teachings. That is not our true way. You cannot change the ideology of your order to fit your whims. War for the sake of peace?” As they battle, Kit Fisto and Risso Mano watch, with the younger distressed by the sight. Her words begin to worry Fisto as well. The story moves between the past and the present well, with young Windu’s actions in the past paralleling the present. Both are enjoyable, but I found the actions of the younger more engrossing because nothing of Mace’s past has been told. I want more of this. That said, the ending of this issue sets up the climax with AD-W4 as a Jedi puts himself in danger. This was the most enjoyable story yet, due to the inclusion of the adventures of the young title character. Overall grade: A

The art: This issue has two pencilers and two inkers, Denys Cowan & Luke Salazar on pencils and Roberto Poggi & Scott Hanna on inks. Several recent comics have this type of mixing occur randomly, leading to some jolting changes in the visuals, but this book does them smartly, with a pair on the story in the past and the other pair responsible for the present. This allows the reader to have the styles of these artists become a visual clue for the story, rather than just relying on the text. The look of the past tale sets the story in a medieval-like locale, which sets the story in the past, even though this book has several futuristic elements. The reveal of the Jedi on 4 is excellent, with young Mace’s look making me cheer; I love that he had the Padawan braid. These pages also have Master Drooz looking wonderfully sleazy. There are some nice action panels, with fire and smoke done nicely. The last panel on Page 16 is the best of these pages, with young Mace looking fantastic. Salazar and Hanna did an outstanding job with making the character resemble a young Samuel L. Jackson. The story in the present has got some terrific panels of the Jedi battling in an downpour, with the panel work being very exciting. When their lightsabers collided, the sparks that flew were great, as was the rain hitting their weapons. Kit Fitso has got some exceptional panels in this issue, prompting me to cross my fingers that Kit gets his own mini-series at some point illustrated by Cowan and Poggi. I’m really enjoying the art. Overall grade: A 

The colors: Giving a slight nod to Windu’s choice of saber colors, the planet Mathas has a violet hue, which lends itself to an unnatural atmosphere. Cyslin Myn stands out really well in this environment because of her flesh color. With a turn of the page the setting moves to the present, where the colors are very bright because of the Jedi’s sabers and gorgeous rain. The coloring of characters’ skin in this location is also well done, with Fisto downright gorgeous. An incident sparks a strong change of colors on 9 and it looks great: without spoiling things, the colors suit the action perfectly. The sounds in this book also have strong colors, which intensify the actions. All in all, Guru-eFX is doing a bang up job on this issue. Overall grade: A 

The letters: My concerns about the scene settings and dialogue continue, but there are some lettering highlights from VC’s Joe Caramagna. When droids speak it’s done in italics which this franchise always does and there are some welcome sounds, such at the beginning of the saber fight when the blades collide. It looks perfect, however the sabers are silent after this. There’s a sound when one deactivates, which is also great, but I would like these sounds to be a little more consistent. Another example of this inconsistency is a sound on 14 isn’t used on 12 when it’s the same move. Blaster fire is again disappointingly mute. It seems like the sounds are slowly improving, as some are finally appearing, though it could be better. Overall grade: B+

The final line: The best issue in this mini-series, with Windu’s past and present shown. This is what I want this Jedi Master’s adventures to be! Great parallel stories and great visuals. This is a Jedi tale to follow.  Overall grade: A-

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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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