In Review: Mace Windu #5

The final battle concludes, but foreshadows trouble ahead for the Jedi.

The covers: A trio to collect for this final issue and all are outstanding. The Regular cover by Rod Reis showcases the heroes on the left and the villains on the right. Rissa Mano is making an incredible leap forward with her lightsaber behind her head to bring down heavily on AD-W4’s army of droids. Beneath her is Mace, with his lightsaber ignited in his right hand, but his left is held out as though to Force push the leader of the droids to the ground. And under the title character is Kit Fisto, running forward into the droids. There’s a lot of action on this and it looks terrific. The Action Figure Variant cover is by the talented John Tyler Christopher. Another faux Kenner Star Wars Action Figure has been created, this time with Mace in Jedi robes. The figure looks great, as if it could have been made in the 1980’s and the card illustration is an outstanding image of Mace from Revenge of the Sith as he was telling Anakin that Palpatine is a Sith. I’ve got to get a copy of this for myself. The final cover is the Star Wars 40th Anniversary Variant cover is by Salvador Larroca. This is also a killer cover. The Millennium Falcon has arrived in the nick of time to blast one of the three TIE fighters in pursuit of Luke’s X-wing. The ships are wonderful and there’s a slick image of Solo in a circle at the top giving a holler as his ship zooms in to the rescue. Outstanding! Overall grades: All A+

The story: With the Jedi engaged last issue with droids, writer Matt Owens starts with Kit Fitso teaching several droids why they have already lost the battle. Inside the headquarters of AD-W4, Jedi Mace Windu and Rissa Mano have secretly entered and soon part, each with their own mission. The leader of the droids has one ship that must leave the planet so that he can receive his pay from General Grievous. He orders his army to throw themselves into the line of fire if they have to; they must keep the Jedi away. It’s at that moment that Windu enters telling the mercenary droid, “This ends now!” The two charge each other: Mace with his lightsaber and AD with an electrostaff. The droid taunts him, “I know you, Master Windu. I see inside your very being. You like being a general. A weapon. If gives you an outlet for all of your anger. An excuse for your violence.” The two battle ferociously until there is a winner. Owens then returns to Fisto, who cannot keep up with the unending onslaught of droids. His situation is rectified and the story then has its climax on Pages 10 and 11. However, there are still nine pages to go. The scene moves to Coruscant in the Jedi Temple where Prosset Dibs faces judgement from the council for attacking Mace. This ending is more powerful than 10 and 11 because it touches on events in the characters’ futures and even suggests things that Luke Skywalker brings up in The Last Jedi. I wasn’t keen on what Dibs did last issue, but given what comes of these characters in the films, it suddenly became much more important. These final nine pages will be the ones that fans will remember. The battle against AD-W4 is good, but the Jedi solving issues with one of their own is infinitely more interesting. Overall grade: B+

The art: Denys Cowan’s art looks great on every page, in every panel. The first page is composed of five vertical panels of Kit fighting the droids. The Jedi looks great as he takes them out and the page ends with him having that wonderful smile on his face as he realizes the droids have no way to save themselves. This is followed by Mace and Rissa sneaking into the droids’ headquarters. The first three panels on the page capture some excellent action as the pair move stealthily. The battle between Mace and AD is very physical and very easy to follow. I was surprised by the fourth panel on Page 4 and impressed, and a little frightened, by all of 5. Cowan really captures the Jedi’s fluid movements with their sabers well, as shown by Mace’s retort on 6 and the actions on 7. Page 9 is cinematic in its composition as the point of view pulls in to Mace’s face as he speaks to the droid leader. He is calm and collect as he speaks, mirroring Samuel L. Jackson’s performance in the prequels. And just when it seems that AD will escape in a manner similar to comic book Ultron from Marvel’s Avengers, the final three textless panels on 11 show Cowan to be in command of his talents as Mace dispatches with his foe. The pages that follow are in the Jedi Temple as Prosset Dibs’s future is decided. The Jedi emanate tremendous power on these pages and seeing Dibs in manacles increases the tension tremendously. The close-ups of the fallen Jedi are terrific, especially in the third panel on Page 16. The cameos on 18 and 19 left me yearning for more of these individuals. The book ends on a full-paged splash of the title character making a pronouncement that is both powerful and damning. Cowan should be placed on another Star Wars title as soon as possible. Overall grade: A

The colors: Roberto Poggi puts some solid energy into the artwork. Having Kit fight the droids against a blue background suggests that he is at a power level similar to fighting in water, where he is unequaled as a Jedi. The shift to stark reds on Page 2 makes all the actions on the page tense. AD-W4 is colored in violets, making him visually similar to Mace’s blade. This implies that both fighters are similar in that their weapons are the same shade. Sounds in the book explode in bright colors to make each smash, slash, or punch powerful. There’s a good use of green on 10 and orange and yellow on 11. For the scenes in the Jedi Temple, the background of Coruscant is a sharp orange, making all the characters stand out, as well as make the situation unsettling. Overall grade: A

The letters: Droid speech and transmissions (the same font), dialogue, sounds, and scene settings are the work of Guru-eFX. Normally I”m not happy when one font is used for two different forms of communication in a book, but here it makes sense for the droids and the transmission at the end of the book to be the same as both are done electronically. I’m not happy with the dialogue though, as it’s so thin it lacks any emotional punch. For example, look at the last thing Dibs says; it’s an exclamation, but comes off as visually weak as it’s the same format as the other Jedi’s calm statements. This is the chosen dialogue for all Star Wars titles and it’s not good. Thankfully, every other piece of text in this book looks fine. Overall grade: B+

The final line: The final battle concludes, but foreshadows trouble ahead for the Jedi. The story’s final half is more interesting than the battle, but the visuals are very strong. I hope that Mace gets other adventures from Marvel. 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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