||As with all short story
collections, some stories were better than others. In the case of a
bunch of related short graphic stories, the same formula applies to both
the stories and the artwork.
first story is called Sacrifice, and it tells of Quinlan Vos' attempts
to spy on the Trade Federation. It turns out that Vos has been spying on
them for some time, but never heard of the giant industry on Geonosis,
and he feels somewhat responsible for the lives of the Jedi who died
Vos never responded to the call for the
Jedi to become Generals in the clone wars, because he felt he still
better served this way. His former Padawan, Aayla Secura is sent to find him,
and together they obtain the next battle target for the Separatist army- Kamino. There was a cool battle of wills between Secura and a Falleen,
who could use his pheromones to seduce people, especially females. In
the end, of course, Secura wins, slicing through the Falleen.
The trick to this story is that the
stolen battle plans are a setup, so that Dooku can discredit his enemies
among the Separatists...
The artwork in this instalment was
awesome. It had an incredible three-dimensionality to it, which I don't
think I've seen before. The colors mixed almost "realistically" with the
3D forms. I was so disappointed that these artists didn't work on the
rest of the book.
The actual story of The Defense of
Kamino takes three parts. In the first, Brothers in Arms, Obi-Wan and
Anakin feel a change in their relationship since
Attack of the Clones.
Obi-Wan feels that Anakin is distracted, which of course his Padawan is, having
gotten married and passed close to the Dark Side... But after an
interesting talk with Quinlan Vos of all people, Obi-Wan decides to rebuild
the relationship using trust. After forbidding Anakin to join the defense, he then changes his mind, since Anakin is such a great pilot.
They go down fairly early in the battle, though, and have to defend themselves
against some of the nasty Kaminoan fish!
There is also a cute scene where Anakin
can't figure out how to repair a droid, which frustrates him. While his
master is talking to Vos, Aayla Secura stops by and shows Anakin how to
smack the droid, thus fixing it! She's becoming a good character, after a
terrible start back in Twilight. (Of course, she's pretty easy on the
eyes, as well...) I want to know when she became a Master, though.
The artwork was a letdown after the
previous story, but it was still pretty good. There was a lot of drama
in the battle, and I particularly liked the way Obi-Wan was drawn in the
Jango's Legacy left me a little cold. I
don't like the special troopers, which are even more lethal than the
original clones. Why do they need to exist? There wasn't much to the
story, either. When the cloning chambers on Kamino start falling to the
Separatist troops, these special troopers evacuate the children clones,
and one goes to save the latest generation in the cloning tanks. He
decides to set the self-destruct when the droid armies find them
(including Shaak Ti, Anakin and Obi-Wan). I agree with Anakin, that he
was very rude for a clone!
He does offer an alternative, however,
and that is to destroy the tunnel leading to the chamber, while the Jedi
keep the ocean from entering, and finally sealing the chamber using the
Force. It is never explained why the droids couldn't function in the
water -why wouldn't they be able to? They must have secured the city of
Otoh Gunga on Naboo somehow in The Phantom Menace. We also never find
out how they get out of the isolated underwater chamber.
The artwork was even less interesting
in this story, using broad colored areas that didn't really give the
characters much dimension, with Shaak Ti being the exception. It's
unfortunate that the clone troopers don't offer a very visually
The final part of the Kamino storyline
is No End in Sight, and most of it takes place from the point of view of
the Separatists. I wonder why the authors decided to throw away the
continuity that has existed for so long, and introduce some Mon Calamari
to the story. As far as I recall, it was the Empire that discovered their
planet, but I suppose it could be re-discovered at a later time.
The artwork picks up again in this
story, with amazing detail, though nowhere near as amazing as in
Sacrifice. There were all the appropriate colors and highlights to pick
out the battles.
For this was a battle story, led by the
Mon Calamari Merai. He sends amphibious crews down to destroy the shield
generators, but they are destroyed by the Jedi starfighters. Merai
decides to go himself, only to find that the information he was given
was wrong. His ship disabled, he decides to have the fleet retreat. Why,
when they had already boarded some of the cloning facilities -the drop
ships had already landed, and it looked like they were winning. But I
suppose he was privy to some information that I was not (which isn't
As one last order, he has the droid
control ship use a tractor beam to boost his damaged ship into orbit, where he
initiates the self destruct, and flies into the Jedi hyperspace rings,
which prevents a chase of the retreating ships. A cool strategy, which
nobody anticipated, including the Jedi and the rest of the Separatists.
The final story, Schism, is not concerned with Kamino, but instead with Mace Windu. I have firmly decided that I don't
like Mace's character anymore. I hated him in Shatterpoint, and I don't
like him very much here, either. It's too bad he gets the cover, since
there were other more deserving scenes that could have been put there.
Mace is sparring with Qinlan Vos, while
learning about the information the Jedi has gathered. He discovers that
Vos used an advanced technique in the unnecessary Vapaad that Mace
developed, learning that he was taught by another student of Mace's.
Mace decides to track the Jedi down,
along with some missing students, who object to the Jedi leading the
war. While I liked the concept, the characters were not interesting or
original enough to satisfy me. The whole thing ends up being a trap,
since the one who taught Vos the advanced technique (which brings the
user close to the Dark Side, for some reason), is now in league with
Dooku, and another fallen Jedi, Asajj Ventress.
I was totally against the idea of
Ventress when I heard about her character, both here and in the Clone
Wars animated series. However, I didn't dislike her character here, so
maybe I was wrong. I do disagree with the idea that every Jedi who
opposes the council, even all those who join the Separatists, are Dark
Side adepts, though. If Ventress was a Jedi, she should at least know who Mace
I liked her attitude while fighting the
young Jedi, as well as her skill. When Mace shows up, however, she runs,
to survive and fight another day. Mace managed to disable the one
responsible for the trap, but he, too still lives. Mace brings the young
Jedi back to the temple, promising that they will not be forced to lead
the clone armies.
Although the stories presented in this
volume were mixed, none of them were bad, and several were really good.
The artwork was also mainly good, with some excellent. What I really
liked about them was their ability to show some real reactions to the
events from Attack of the Clones. There are rifts among the Jedi, guilt,
and the mixed emotions of Obi-Wan and Anakin, who were separated for
much of that movie.
I think the Republic series has finally
come into its own, with several stories in a row that were really good.
I was very impressed with this volume, and look forward to more like
this. I would like it, though, if we could get a consistent set of
authors and artists, and maybe tell one longer story. I am not a fan of
short stories, though these connected ones were a good start.