The Clone Wars #5
Slaves of the Republic
Chapter 5: A Slave Now, A Slave Forever
Story: Henry Gilroy
Pencilling: Scott Hepburn
Inking: Dan Parsons
Coloring: Michael E. Wiggam
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Brian Kalin O'Connel
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (09/16/2009)
Anakin is now working as Zygerrian Queen Miraj Scintel's bodyguard against his will, the Queen holding Ahsoka, Obi-Wan and Rex prisoners. When Dooku arrives for a meeting with the Queen, Anakin goes looking for his Padawan Ahsoka. He frees her and goes back to the Palace to find the Queen mortally wounded. Anakin then fights off Dooku and Ventress but escapes aboard Dooku's own ship piloted by Ahsoka. Destination: the slave labour camp on Kadavo where Obi-Wan, Rex and the Togruta slaves are held. But the Jedi are not the only one who plan to reach Kadavo.
This issue follows two separate narratives, since the main characters were split up last issue. Obi-Wan and Rex (I wondered where he went) are starting their new lives as slaves in a "slave-processing facility" or work camp in the Kadavo system. Governor Roshti is also there, rejoining with the rest of his people from the Togruta colony of Kiros (the disappearance of which started this whole story arc). The Zygerrian overseer kills a trio of Togruta (strangely there are no other species seen in the prison) to prove a point to Obi-Wan, and later he witnesses cruelty dealt to other slaves. At any point, Obi-Wan could use a Jedi Mind Trick (he does only to convince a guard to stop whipping a slave) or use the Force to move objects and get out of his collar restraint. Heck, he could even kick everyone's butt with both hands tied up. But all he does is go along with everyone else. Is he waiting for the right time to act, maybe when Anakin comes to the rescue? Maybe, but he certainly doesn't display any willingness to fight back.
Meanwhile on Zygerria, Queen Miraj goes to a meeting with spice runners in the Drukarg Highlands. This scene is to show that Anakin is now her Jedi bodyguard and to send a message to her rival Bosso Weex, but it's mostly to beef up the script with some action. Once the inevitable fight is over, the Queen receives word that Dooku has arrived and they fly back to the Royal Palace. On the way, Miraj tries to convince Anakin to become her willing partner instead of a slave and promises to release his friends if he agrees. Anakin doesn't answer, and when the Queen leaves him to go meet Dooku, Anakin goes looking for Ahsoka. At this moment, Dooku lands and sends Ventress to deal with Ahsoka in order to lure Anakin (even though Darth Sidious advised him to let Anakin be). Another scene proving that Zygerrians underestimate Jedi to an incredible level is that they leave Ahsoka suspended in a metal birdcage, with a pair of guards to watch her (one of them says "the Queen promises you'll be my property once she tames your Jedi"). Anakin easily frees her and the split up while he goes looking for a transport off planet.
Dooku came to meet with the Queen to express his and Sidious' displeasure about last issue's public slave auction. Apparently her association with the Separatists has convinced several neutral worlds to join the Republic for fear of becoming slaves for the Separatists. Dooku is also personally unhappy that she has taken on Anakin as a bodyguard. At least, Dooku seems the only one realizing that the Jedi can escape and ruin all their plans. After Queen Miraj reveals to him her plans to break down Obi-Wan's resolve in the slave camp and make him a well-behaves slave ("When he is no different than other slaves, he will be mine") with more Jedi to follow ("Imagine an amry of Jedi Knights in my service"), Dooku announces that she is no longer a member of the Separatist Council. As he starts to Force choke her, Anakin arrives in time to hear her last words: turns out that her foolish actions were because she was in love with Anakin. But at this point, I really didn't like the Queen so I don't care that she dies. The Queen also reveals the location of Obi-Wan and the other slaves. Ventress then arrives, Dooku recovers from Anakin's stunning move and a three-way lightsaber ensues. But it is short-lived as anakin pulls a Ventress trick and jumps out the window to fly away aboard Dooku's own ship stolen by Ahsoka. Dooku then vows to call on General Grievous and destroy the slave-processing facility on Kadavo so it will all boil down to a big final confrontation next issue.
This issue is just a little less frustrating of a read than the last one. We still get an overall feeling that no one on Zygerria know anything about Jedi and their powers. This whole issue is about strength of will and how to break it to force a being to become subservient and somehow, everyone thinks Jedi are as easy to break as weak minded individuals. What's frustrating is that there is no indication that they are wrong! Not counting last issue where the Queen easily captured Obi-Wan and Ahsoka and convinced Anakin to become her slave, there are more similar situations here and the constant hammering of "taming" and "breaking someone's will" becomes tedious. Now that I know where the story is going, I do feel that this story arc is way too long. It would have benefited if it was shortened to four or five issues: a lot of scenes that don't work could be cut out and the story would still be on track.
The artwork is not nearly as good as the animated show, but Hepburn tries to stay true to its style as much as possible. There are some creative panels, and there are some that are pretty standard. All in all, the artwork does the job but is nothing really special. The coloring is pretty good although simplified for the style of the show. A lot of backgrounds are just color and no details. One thing that annoyed me was the yellow-skinned Rodian but that's a minor point. They can always fix that in the trade.
At last the story is getting somewhere.
Rating: 5.5 / 10