Jedi of the Republic Mace Windu #2 | Writer: Matt Owens | Penciler: Denys Cowan | Colorist: Guru-eFX | Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna | Release Date: September 27, 2017
In the previous issue of this new Star Wars story, Mace Windu was commissioned by the Jedi Council to travel to the planet Hissrich based on reports of possible separatist occupation. He gathered a team of Jedi and embarked on their journey, without a clone regiment, serving as something of a precision strike force. In Mace Windu Jedi of the Republic #2, Mace and his able-bodied team of Jedi travel into the catacombs of Hissrich, in hopes of finding more information concerning the droid army's presence.
The story starts with the team being lead below earth by strange, green, indigenous aliens who don't speak one iota of basic. There, the Jedi find a sprawling community, an entire city underground in which structure is built right into the stone and light is provided by the energy of the peculiar plants growing on the surface. After the separatist attack with a squadron of droid and discovery those that have a primary function of drilling, they are able to ascertain that they are here for the planet's unique energy source.
When Mace Windu #2 started, I found myself confused and referring the last few pages of issue one to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything important. The native aliens weren't introduced in the past issue and it felt like I missed something when Mace and Kit Fisto began following them. I was almost expecting a little flashback recap page of what happened between issues but received none. While this doesn't make the issue bad, it serves as a source of disconnect from the reading.
When the Jedi finally did make it below, I was astonished by the beauty and creativity of the underground city. I like the idea of the roots of the beautiful plants above being a source of power as well as the separatists being the selfish people that they are, trying to steal it. I found these concepts intriguing and imaginative. Still, alone it doesn't create a strong enough backbone for the story, unless there is something that hasn't been revealed yet.
Usually a mediocre plot is supplemented by fun, nuanced characterization, but I feel we are missing that as well. I was excited in issue one when Mace put together a team based on their individual, unique skills. We also got a little more characterization from people like Prosset. Enough to allow us think that their choices would alter how the mission continued. But in Mace Windu #2 most of the team did barely anything, not to mention things that would speak to their previously defined skills. Mace himself, while not badly written, doesn’t seem to have the personality traits that mark him as Mace. It’s the little things that make these stories shine and I think we are missing that.
So far as the art goes, I could go for better. There are many scenes where some of the facial expressions look off, or characters look like they were drawn rushed, and while its not all bad, overall, it’s the off ones that stand out. The work could look much tighter. Furthermore, none of the action panels are convincing. They are done well enough to where we can tell what’s going on, but some of the panel to panel transitions can be better, and some of the angling and movement could be much better depicted. This may simply because I’ve read lots of stories with lots of action, but this is glaring to me. The best art is the cover, where we get an extremely detailed portrait of Mace Windu and Kit Fist that I wouldn’t mind hanging on the wall.
Overall, I am let down by this book. The story is lackluster, the characterization is fleeting, and the little nuances seem to be missing. For example, I can’t understand why the Jedi are walking around with their lightsabers out before they get into battle. Even on alert, this isn’t a Jedi trait. Also, the villain, the mercenary droid, just doesn’t seem compelling or a match enough for the Jedi. While it isn’t a complete travesty, for a character of Mace’s caliber, I expected the story to offer something more, or to be better told. For now, I am feeling underwhelmed by Mace Windu #2.