As a Star Wars fan who grew up in the Prequel Era, the purple lightsaber wielding Jedi as played by Samuel L. Jackson, Mace Windu, has always been one of my favorite characters. He gets his own solo miniseries in Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic –Mace Windu #1, and Matt Owens’ comic isn’t a breakaway hit with a generic mission to a Separatist planet called Hissrich with a small band of Jedi yadda yadda. The planet is supposed to have a hostile natural environment, but the only threats so far are a platoon of battle droids and sort of intriguing, sort of underwhelming Big Bad. His writing for the characters themselves isn’t bad with the usual confident Master Windu doubting himself after so many Jedi lost their lives at the Geonosis, and Ki-Adi-Mundi and Yoda providing supporting in the early council scenes. He’s not bad at banter either with the blind, mostly pacifist Prosset providing some dry one-liners as comic relief to go with his ass kicking.
But the real reason to pick it up is the sharp artwork of comics legend and Milestone co-founder Denys Cowan with help from inker Roberto Poggi and colorist Guru eFx. Star Wars has been around for 40 years, and there have been all sorts of vehicles, but the team’s stealth fighter-meets-transport ship Westwind is an inspired piece of design from Cowan and company. It’s kind of flashy, yet practical nature reflects the personality of its pilot, Rissa, who along with one of the more underrated Jedi, Kit Fisto, rounds out the fearsome foursome. She’s a huge fangirl of Mace Windu and wants to impress by charging right ahead, which isn’t the best idea on a stealth mission. And this is where sparks literally fly in Cowan and Poggi’s work with the Jedi easily defeating battle droids, and Guru eFx throwing in some purple when Windu takes out a column of them. They aren’t bad in the more thoughtful scenes with Yoda starting to look weary as he must martial the peaceful Jedi into war, and Mace Windu showing the charisma of a leader picking his team, yet still a little hesitant about going into battle. Rissa is all wide eyed wonder though as seen in some close-up panels during the battle droid battle scene.
Instead of having everyone all rah rah to slice up battle droids and take out Separatists, Owens, Cowan, and Poggi use their main cast of four Jedi in Mace Windu #1 to portray a variety of POVs about the Clone Wars. Mace himself is cool with being both a general of the Republic and a Jedi master, but is constantly bringing up the dead Jedi he left behind at Geonosis and reminding himself that sometimes peace involves war. Even more skeptical than him is Prosset, who flat out says, “War is no place for a Jedi” before going a super secret stealth mission. He has a zen approach to combat almost like the peaceful DC Comics superhero Dove taking out even his non-sentient droid opponents in a clean and seamless manner.
Of course, Rissa is the impetuous youngster, who hasn’t experience the horrors of war yet and gives the droids demeaning nickname while chomping at the bit to take them out and mentioning Mace Windu’s lightsaber skill quite a few times. In some Star Wars stories that probably aren’t canon now, Mace is a practitioner of the aggressive Vaapad lightsaber form, which is close to the Dark Side. So, perhaps he sees a bit of himself in her headstrong approach to battle. For now, it looks Kit Fisto is there to be the good natured butt of the snarkier Rissa and Prosset’s jokes, and Cowan, Poggi, and Guru eFx nail his super cool green tentacle look.
Mace Windu #1’s mission plot isn’t groundbreaking, and a decent amount of Matt Owens’ story is concerned in introducing the team and re-introducing the Clone War conflict. However, he gives each member of Mace’s team a unique personality, and Denys Cowan and Roberto Poggi draw the hell out of some lightsaber battles, vehicles, and Jedi council deliberations so it’s worth at least a flip through.
Story: Matt Owens Pencils: Denys Cowan Inks: Roberto Poggi Colors: Guru eFx Story: 7.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review