The Clone Wars #1
Slaves of the Republic
Chapter 1: The Mystery of Kiros
Story: Henry Gilroy
Pencilling: Scott Hepburn
Inking: Dan Parsons
Coloring: Michael E. Wiggam
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Dave Filoni
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (12/14/2008)
Generals Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, along with Skywalker's Padawan Ahsoka Tano and Ghost Company, are sent to the Togruta colony world Kiros to liberate its people from the Separatists. The Republic overtakes the army of battle droids and General Kenobi goes to meet with Separatist Commander Ugg. During the negotiation, Ugg reveals that he rigged the capital city with thermal bombs which he will detonate unless Kenobi surrenders. The General then has to find a way to delay the Separatist while Anakin and his Padawan speed around the city to disarm the bombs. But where are the inhabitants of Kiros?
Not to be confused with Dark Horse's Clone Wars series of 9 graphic novels (which reprints various issues of Republic as well as the Jedi and Obsession miniseries) or the Clone Wars Adventures digest-sized paperbacks based on the previous 2-D cartoon, this new series (as well as its sister quarterly digest) is based on the new 3-D The Clone Wars cartoon from Lucasfilm Animation. Much like the theatrical movie and TV series that followed, the comic book version also is very ambiguous about the period when it takes place (the only reference being "early in the fight") and shows no reference to any other Clone Wars events or characters from the many previous EU stories from the aformentioned comics, various novels and video games, or even the previous cartoon incarnation. It's like this Lucas-supervised series takes place in a canon universe of its own, ignoring all previous established timelines of the Clone Wars period. This would normally be a source of annoyance to me, since it creates all kinds of problems with continuity (i.e. Anakin's scar before Republic #71) and logic (i.e. Anakin having a Padawan without being a Master), but seen in its own terms it is easier to enjoy. I just see it as a parallel timeline. What I do find annoying is the lack of mention of when the different spin-offs take place in regards to the TV series. I think the writers should have at least made the effort to refer to events of TV episodes so we get some idea of a coherent timeline.
Continuity aside, this is the first part of a 6-issue story arc titled "Slaves of the Republic" and I don't know yet if more issues will follow afterwards. It's starts on a new planet, Kiros, a peaceful colony world of the Togruta (originally from Shili) which of course will not remain neutral for long with the arrival of Count Dooku and his droid army. The Governor of the planet contacts Yoda to inform him he will do anything to preserve the peace, even if it means negotiating with the Separatists. Of course, the Jedi will not let this pass and a few weeks later the Republic forces have arrived to "liberate" the planet. Here we find the heroes of the TV series, Obi-Wan, Anakin, Ahsoka and Captain Rex fighting battle droids in the deserted streets of the capital city. They're having fun blasting away tanks, only briefly considering the destruction they are causing to the city streets and buildings. Once the clone troopers secure the North and South quadrants of the city, Obi-Wan is called in by the droid commander to "negociate".
What Commander Ugg wants to negociate is Obi-Wan's surrender, revealing thermal bombs spread throughout the city as a bargaining chip. Thankfully, Anakin and Rex hear this as well through their comlinks and a speeder chase through the streets begins. Artoo somehow locates all the bombs with his scanners, and the Jedi have to find and disarm them before Ugg detonates them causing all kinds of destruction to the capital. To give them time, Obi-Wan challenges the enemy commander to a hand-to-hand duel. It's weird that he is surprised that Ugg has four arms, given that he is the same species as his Besalisk friend Dexter Jettster. The ploy works out in the end, and Obi-Wan defeats Ugg although he gets beaten up pretty badly.
All the while, the Jedi wonder where the population of Kiros is gone, having seen no trace of a living being aside from the enemy commander. When Obi-Wan walked in to meet Ugg, he overheard that he sent a "last shipment" to someone in the Zygerrian system. Anakin knows that the whole population of Zygerria are cruel slavers, so this must mean that the Togruta were captured to be sold. And from the title of the story arc, it's easy to guess that this will play a major part in the plot to come.
Gilroy is not only head writer and story editor on the show (as well as writing episode #10 "Lair of Grievous" and co-writing the theatrical feature and episodes #7-8), he also worked on Star Wars comics in the past. Namely, he adapted both The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones to comics and wrote the Obi-Wan Kenobi issue of Episode I Adventures. This first issue is a bit of a downer, being about people who only want to live peacefully being taken from their world and sold as slaves. And the fact that Togruta happens to be Ahsoka's species makes it a bit more dramatic. Gilroy knows how to create a fun, fast-paced story that appeals to all ages although he could learn more about the universe he is writing in and he's a bit repetitive with the "Obi-Wan negociates with Separatist warlord" bit (a similar scene happens in the theatrical movie).
The art is pretty good, mixing the puppet-looks of the cartoon characters with a standard comic style for the new characters and species. The design of the planet and capital is classic, and the coloring work by Wiggam is simplistic yet inspiring. The artistic highlight of this issue is of course the guest-artist for the cover by the director of The Clone Wars TV show and theatrical movie Dave Filoni. While the cover has nothing to do with the story, the artist explains in the letter-less letter column that it is an image that came to his head when representing his vision of the show. Plus it's not bad to look at.
Simplistic but fun, though a bit darker than the TV show it's based on.
Rating: 6.5 / 10