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Clone Wars Adventures Volume 8

Cover: The Fillbach Brothers, Dan Jackson
Editor: Jeremy Barlow
Released: 06/13/2007

Reviewed by: JF Boivin (06/17/2007)

SUMMARY:

Luminara Unduli fights in an arena; Aurra Sing meets a piece of her past; Obi-Wan returns to Kamino and fights Vianna D'pow; and a battle droid becomes independant.


[final cover]


[preview cover]


"Versus"
Story: The Fillbach Brothers
Art: The Fillbach Brothers
Coloring: Tony Avina
Lettering: Michael Heisler

SUMMARY
Jedi Master Luminara Unduli made a deal with Mondo-Mod the Hutt: she would fight his three best fighters in the Arena of Doom, and if she wins he would give the location of a Separatist weapons factory. She triumphs over a wampa, a durkii, and a gladiator droid called Evil Supreme using only the laws of physics. Meanwhile, a masked figure places heavy bets with the Hutt's majordomo Sniddly in favor of the Jedi, and leaves him bankrupt. Turns out the masked one is Bariss Offee, and they accomplish two missions at once: the Separatist base is located on Diorda, and the Hutt's Arena of Doom is now closed.

THE STORY
I like the Fillbachs, but as artists not as writers. This is a very simple and quick story, which is the format for this younger-reader-oriented series. I'm never happy to see Ewoks and Wampas pre-classic trilogy. It takes away fromt he whole impact of discovering these creatures for the first time. When the Rebels came to Hoth, they didn't know that wampas existed, and thus they were taken by surprise. But in this story, it makes it seem like wampas are known all over the galaxy. Chronologically, we saw one in The Bounty Hunters: Aurra Sing but that was during a visit to Hoth.

On the other hand, it's very cool to see a durkii which hasn't been seen since its first appearance in the "The New King" episode of the Droids cartoon (part of the new The Pirates and the Prince DVD). This one I don't have a problem with seeing in an arena, but the way that he's taken out by Luminara is not very realistic. The big droid is taken out in a more sensible way, although that kind of shot would be almost impossible without using the Force (which she is not supposed to do as part of her deal). And what kind of Hutt name is Mondo-Mod? Anyway, this is a forgettable story aside from the return of the durkii.

THE ART
The cartoon version of the wampa made the cover and it's pretty acurate. The durkii looks more like a cartoony tyrannosaurus but at least they have the color right. The giant attack droid looks pretty cool and dangerous too. Luminara and Barriss look pretty much like they did last time in "Hide in Plain Sight" (Volume 2).


"Old Scores"
Story: Chris Avellone
Art: The Fillbach Brothers
Coloring: Pamela Rambo
Lettering: Michael Heisler

SUMMARY
Bounty hunter Aurra Sing comes to Nar Shaddaa to take a contract with Urdruua the Hutt to kill a Jedi. Turns out the Jedi is herself when Urdruua reveals that he wants to take revenge on some past misdeed she did to his clan. She escapes his traps and the Hutt finds out too late that Aurra Sing is one tough cookie.

THE STORY
It's cool to have a story about Aurra Sing. We don't see much of her anymore. The last time was in Jedi: Aayla Secura which chronologically takes place 3-4 months after this one. Yes, this is one of the rare stories that is given a time frame: three months after the Battle of Geonosis. I wish they did this more often.

Urdruua talks about her past on Nar Shaddaa, where she trained as an assassin at the expense of the Hutts and turned against her two trainers. This refers to the event in the "Aurra's Song" story from Dark Horse Presents Annual 2000 in which she kills her master Walla the Hutt who purchased Aurra as a slave after she left the Jedi Temple. Of course, she ends up turning the tables on her wanna-be killer.

This story has some action and intrigue, and does a good job of entertaining. There is one funny scene where Aurra is pursued by smart bombs, which are actually talking missiles that try to convince their targets that they are friendly!

THE ART
Two stories in a row with a Hutt, so the Fillbach bros had to make them different somewhat. That is why Urdruua has a scar over one eye. They do a good job in depicting Aurra in various fighting poses. There is one cool scene where a Duros sniper adjusts his targetting on Aurra just in time to find her aiming back at him!


"One of a Kind"
Story: Jason Hall
Art: Ethen Beavers
Coloring: Ronda Pattison
Lettering: Michael Heisler

SUMMARY
Obi-Wan Kenobi is sent back to Kamino to stop the Separatists' plans to steal the original gene sample of Jango Fett, thus cutting off the Republic's supply of clones. For the task they hired the Zeltron bounty hunter Vianna D'pow. Obi-Wan has to chase her across Tipoca city and even underwater, but finally takes back the vial containing the genetic material. She failed her mission for the Separatists, but Obi-Wan finds out she was also on Kamino for personal reasons: to make a clone of herself.

THE STORY
This is a sequel to Hall's "Children of the Jedi" story from Star Wars Tales #13, in that it features the Zeltron bounty hunter Vianna D'pow and Mace Windu (in a holonet message to Obi-Wan) mentions he had several encounters with her in the past. Not only that, but it also explains why she looks nothing like the red-skinned Zeltrons, retconning the previous story's artist Lucas Marangon's gaffe. Turns out she is an albino and was treated as a freak by her people, becoming an oucast. Those spikes on her back probably didn't help either. Moments from her past are seen as flashbacks througout the story, which helps us understand the dialogue Obi-Wan has with her about her being misunderstood and turning to the assassin's path. The story is also interspersed with facts about Zeltrons and Zeltros quoted from Plevitz Essential Guide to Species and Wild Space on 50 Credits a Day respectively.

It is also one of the rare post-Attack of the Clones stories featuring Kamino and Taun We, which leads to believe that it must take place pretty early during the Clone Wars. Much like in "Children of the Jedi", Obi-Wan lets Vianna go one with her mission by not cancelling her clone order, mostly because it does not interfere with the Republic and because the Jedi have a soft spot for outcasts who grew up without a family and friends. Needless to say, this is a pretty heavy story for this format, and it is very well-written and entertaining as well.

THE ART
Beavers' art is very faithful to the cartoon series, and very reminescent of the Fillbach brothers. The characters are very recognizable and the action is easy to follow. What more do you need to enjoy a story?


"Pathways"
Story: Jeremy Barlow
Art: The Fillbach Brothers
Coloring: Dan Jackson
Lettering: Michael Heisler

SUMMARY
A battle droid is damaged in a minefield and loses its connection to the central control. Now free of its chains, it chooses to be free and stay away from the war. But a super battle droid chases it, seeing it as a deserter. While they are grappling, the super battle droid also gets damaged and enjoys a few moments of freedom. The battle droid's batteries eventually are depleted, and it drops to the ground. Several years later, the battle droid is found by some humans who plan to repair it and use it on their ranch.

THE STORY
I've read a lot of great stories about clone troopers and Clone Commandos. But we don't see as much stories about battle droids. In fact, I think this is the only one. In this story, we see what would happen if a battle droid was on its own. Would it choose to risk its existence in senseless battles or to live freely? Personally, I think it's a little far-fetched that a simple battle droid would be programmed with so much cognitive memory. Why wouldn't the Separatists build them with limited intelligence? After all, battle droids don't need to think so much in battle. Nevertheless, it is a touching story and answers a few existential questions.

THE ART
The super battle droid that chases our hero looks very similar to the grapple droids from the Episode III: Revenge of the Sith video game, with its big pincer-like forearms.


CONCLUSIONS

All four stories contain references to previous characters and events, making it feel more like part of the Expanded Universe. I hope the trend continues in future issues.

Rating: 7.5 / 10 Recommended

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