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Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu #1 Review



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Mace Windu becomes a reluctant soldier.

Marvel’s various Star Wars mini-series have generally struggled to meet the standard of the various ongoing books like Jason Aaron’s Star Wars and Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca’s Darth Vader. For the most part, they tend to offer forgettable side-stories in a familiar character’s early career. Jedi of the Republic: Mace Windu looks to be no different in that regard. This new series has it charms, but seems to offer little we haven’t seen from the numerous other Clone Wars-focused projects of the past 15 years.

If anything, Mace Windu #1 plays out like the opening segment of an early episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, with Master Windu being tasked to lead a small band of Jedi Knights behind enemy lines on a critical mission for the Republic. There’s little to set this generic premise apart. And while writer Matt Owens introduces a mildly interesting villain very late in the game, the scope of the conflict seems very small and unremarkable at this early stage. If Marvel is going to publish a Mace Windu comic, why not explore the character’s early life, before he acquired his coveted Jedi Master title?

Owens and artist Denys Cowan generally seem more interested in exploring Mace’s personal struggles than pitting him against a foe worthy of his prodigious skill with the Force. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing given how aloof the character tends to be in the films and TV shows. Mace is cast very much as the reluctant soldier, constantly questioning whether the Jedi can both be generals in a galaxy-wide conflict and adhere to their principles as peacekeepers. The dynamic among Mace and his fellow Masters is a little strange, with Owens often writing Mace as though he’s subordinate to the likes of Ki-Adi-Mundi and Yoda rather than their true peer.

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But the title character fares better alongside the rest of his team, a mix of familiar Clone Wars faces and new faces. Each character has their own personality and unique perspective on the war. These new additions are almost surely expendable Red Shirts designed to be discarded by story’s end, but at least they’ll be well-defined Red Shirts.

Cowan is an interesting choice for this Star Wars setting, given how much cleaner and more polished the franchise tends to look in the Prequel era. Cowan’s gritty, textured style brings the Clone Wars more in line with the grimy aesthetic of the Original Trilogy. That’s not to  say the art still doesn’t capture the scope and energy of the Prequels. Guru eFx’s bright colors certainly help maintain a balance between the two approaches. Cowan’s art does have some weird quirks. His rendition of Yoda is weirdly grotesque. But that aside, it’s a treat seeing Cowan lend his own touch to a galaxy far, far away.

The Verdict

At this point, any attempt by Marvel to venture out of the original Trilogy era is a welcome one. That said, this series looks to do little with Mace Windu and his fellow Jedi we haven’t seen in numerous other Clone Wars-era projects. The solid characterization for Mace’s team and Cowan’s gritty art are both selling points, but that may not be enough for all readers.

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