Star Wars: Mace Windu Jedi of the Republic – Matt Owens, Denys Cowan, Roberto Poggi & Jesus Saiz (Marvel)

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The Star Wars prequels were, I think ‘tis fair to say, somewhat divisive. For everyone who loved ‘em there were legions of fans who could not forgive Mr Lucas for Jar Jar Binks or the irritating kid who played Anakin. Simon Pegg getting the sack from the comic book shop in Spaced summed up many a middle aged man’s ire. What we did get though, were some mighty fine additions to the Star Wars universe and the fact that Samuel L Jackson managed to get through three complete films without one single profanity is a pretty impressive feat. Mace Windu was one of the more enduring characters who you didn’t wanna see sent to the Spice Mines of Kessell or hoyed in to the Sarlacc Pit. A book of his own then was only a matter of time and here we go with Mace Windu then. Set during the Clone Wars, it follows the pattern that virtually every Star Wars tale, book, TV show, film or animated feature set in that turbulent time does by being set against the back drop of War! Everywhere! One huge galaxy wide war …

Mace and his Jedi buddies are lamenting the heavy price the Jedi paid during the Battle of Geonosis but time waits for nobody and a jungle planet, the intriguingly named Hissrich, seems to be the next Sepratist outpost in the making. Mace and his crew – Kit Fisto, a sort of amphibian dreadlocked dude, Prosset Dibs, one of those blind but can see through the force types that pop up every so often and pilot extraordinaire Rissa Mano  – are soon setting off on another adventure. It’s not long before wisecracking battle droids are on the horizon and light sabres are drawn. General Grievous isn’t too far behind either and when a mercenary droid – a sort of Clone Wars era version of the Bounty Hunters – is thrown in to the mix it all goes down the flash, bang, wallop path you’d expect. Well, that is until it doesn’t. There’s some back story to Windu thrown in and we get an artist’s rendition of Samuel L Jackson, erm, sorry mace Windu with a short dreads like Jedi Padawan hair do! On top of that all is not well within the Jedi ranks.

It has the potential to rise above the level of “filler” and it’s always fun to see those pesky battle droids running their mouths off but we don’t get to whizz around and see much that we haven’t already come across in the Prequel era set books. Characterisation is pretty solid, and Mace is drawn as a reluctant warrior cum soldier questioning the Jedi’s involvement in the Galaxy wide war. The flashback to his Padawan days could have legs though. The background of the likes of Ki Adi Mundi has been mined previously and home planets, families and the like make for a refreshing break from the Clone Wars and fleshes out the folk we see in relatively minor roles on the screen. It all stacks up pretty well with Clone War style artwork and plenty of new characters thrown in the mix. Could you read more in to the “worried about our role in this war” sub text? Well, you could if you really were that way inclined? Me, I just like seeing all the robots and explosions and stuff. A fun read with some darkness but ultimately hardly essential. Marv Gadgie

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