The Defense of Kamino, I
was hoping that graphic novel wasn't an exception to the quality of
storytelling in the Clone Wars tales. I am happy to report that the
great stories continue in Victories and Sacrifices, in terms of story,
dialog, character, and artwork. The only major complaint that I have is
the fact that the three stories are not really tied together as one
The first story, The New
Face of War, tells of Anakin and Obi-Wan's journey to one of Naboo's
moons, where some Gungans have settled, and from where they expect the
Separatists to launch an attack against Naboo.
Anakin and a clone trooper manage to
knock out the droid support base, ruining the attack, and freeing some
hostages. I liked the way he turned two droids against each other. His
use of the Force is expert, and I enjoyed seeing him use it.
Unfortunately, all of the Gungans have been slaughtered, and the real
enemy is still there.
I don't know if Mace Windu told anybody
about Asajj Ventress from the last book, but Obi-Wan doesn't seem to
know her when she shows up here. I wonder if she is talking about the
New Jedi Order reinvention of the Force when she mentions that "there is
no dark side"... Regardless, she is much more powerful than the Jedi,
although she runs away from the fight when she is about to be overrun,
again. She raises the dead Gungans to fight beside her, and is skilled
with two lightsabers so that she can take on four Jedi at once. I don't
think she should be able to do this, but it still makes for some great
Ventress has help, of course, in the
form of the Jedi-hunting Durge. I'm not sure what to make of him, as he
is a mass of neural tissue, and seems pretty much impervious to
lightsaber blades. He takes down one Jedi master, and nearly kills the
Padawan. When their mission fails, Durge and Ventress leave. It doesn't
make for a very satisfying conclusion, but it avoids the cliché of a
clear victory at the end of every tale.
All through the fights, however, I kept
wondering why the Jedi and their enemies are portrayed so
inconsistently. On one hand, they can do terrible damage. Anakin
didn't die after being strangled by a steel cable, coming back stronger
than before. Likewise, Obi-Wan did some great feats here. Yet he was
easily picked up in a Force-hold by Ventress. Sometimes the Jedi are
all-powerful, and other times, they can be stupid. The same goes for
Ventress. For all her power, she runs away a lot, and she looks
completely surprised, pulling the clichéd move of stopping everything
she's doing so that she can gawk at how Durge didn't obey her orders and
began firing at the Jedi.
The artwork in this tale split my
opinion in half. One one hand, there is great three-dimensionality to
the foreground objects, and vibrant colors where it is needed. Obi-Wan
looks terrible, as the effects of the toxic gas work on his skin, though
he uses the Force to keep his lungs working. The characters,
unfortunately, didn't really look like the ones we know, and there is
little depth to the scenes beyond the foreground.
In Blast Radius, Obi-Wan recalls
his most recent mission, which he undertook without his apprentice. He
meets up with four other Jedi Masters -legends- in order to secure the
antidote to the poison used on the Gungan moon in the previous story.
Each of the Jedi dies in their own
turn, not necessarily doing what they do best. One is called Fire-Eater, and she tames
the fire of an explosion in the building they infiltrate. The others can
go on, but this fire was too intense for her to tame completely, and it
takes her life. Two others die needlessly at the hands of Ventress and
Durge, almost at the same time. The cute elf-like Jedi nearly claims
Ventress' life, rendering her unconscious, so that Obi-Wan could secure
the antidote. Yet as powerful as she was, Durge overcame her, and Ventress
regained consciousness to finish her off, stabbing her through the back.
Durge nearly kills Obi-Wan, but apparently, they have orders not to kill
him. That's interesting; I hope we hear about that again, and its not just a way for the authors to
get Obi-Wan out of a nearly impossible situation. The elf-Jedi gives
Obi-Wan the rest of her Force-energy, which allows him to get back to
his ship after the enemy leaves.
Although I liked the use of colors, or
shades for a given page, the artwork was not really to my liking. It was
not bad at all, but didn't show details that I like to see. The
characters, especially Obi-Wan, looked horrible. I think this was
intentional, after all he's been through.
Catspaw, the story about Shaak Ti,
delves into a failed Jedi attack on the planet Brentaal IV, where Jedi
and clone troopers are getting slaughtered. Shaak Ti led a small party
to a former prison, and convinced some of the inmates to help them. One
was sent to the prison by Ti because of killing her Padawan. They also find
Quinlan Voss in solitary confinement.
In order to destroy the resistance on
this planet, Ti is determined to capture the leader. Of the three
prisoners who join her, the Wookie is killed in the sewers trying to get
into the tower. The other is redeemed by helping to disable the tower
cannons. The one who had killed Ti's apprentice betrays her again, even
after Ti saved her life. Firing on Ti, she tries to seduce the commander
of the tower, but Shaak Ti manages to recover in time to kill him. The
criminal kills herself, convinced that Ti would put her back in prison,
or would kill her with her own hands. Finally, the clone trooper nearly fails
at his job of bringing down the shield generators, but, left for dead,
manages to complete his job, anyway.
This story continues with the mediocre
Jedi series, which doesn't really add anything to the Jedi
personalities, or ethics. Shaak Ti expresses concern at the end that
people don't want the Jedi anymore, but they must continue the fight,
anyway, perhaps at the cost of their souls. I can understand her
Still, the story was fairly
interesting. The artwork was the best of the three stories, with great
shadows and colors, as well as backgrounds that managed to stay
interesting instead of fading.
The three stories continue to be
well-told, although I am hoping to have some interesting developments in
the future. The characters didn't grow as much as we saw in the last set
of stories, but that's okay, as long as it doesn't continue too long. For the moment, although the stories are interesting, they
continue the status-quo. Things are not moving forward in any way. I
suppose we are building up to a great conflict between Obi-Wan, Anakin,
and Ventress and Durge, so that's fine. I hope the payoff is worth it.
For the moment, I am satisfied.