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Jedi: Aayla Secura

Story: John Ostrander
Art: Jan Duursema
Inks: Dan Parsons
Coloring: Brad Anderson
Lettering: Sno Cone Studios
Cover: Jan Duursema, Brad Anderson
Released: 08/20/2003

Reviewed by: JF Boivin (01/25/2005)

SUMMARY:

Aayla is sent on a mission, along with Kit Fisto, T'ra Saa, Tholme and the Dark Woman, to find the location of a group of Separatists responsible for several raids along the Corellian Trade Spine. When a Devaronian senator is killed while transmitting to the Jedi ship, it gives them a clue where the base could be located. Aayla, Tholme and Dark Woman all go to Devaron disguised as a spoiled rich girl and her entourage. But Aurra Sing also happens to be on the planet, and she instantly regognizes her old mentor. She decides to go kill the Jedi just for the thrill of it. When they find the coordinates for the base, Kit and T'ra Saa overtake it, while Aurra goes on her own to confront Aurra Sing after Tholme and Dark Woman got trapped in a cave due to one of the bounty hunter's traps. When she realizes she has a lot in common with the crazed Jedi killer, Aayla learns a lot about herself in the process.


[final cover]


[preview cover]


THE STORY

First let me start by noting the many references to the EU, including many from Ostrander's previous mini-series.

  • Aayla replies to the Dark Woman, when asked about her interest in Kit Fisto, that they fought side by side on Geonosis and Kamino... I don't remember seeing Fisto in Republic #50, so could she be referring to the unofficial Infinities story "Tides of Terror" from Star Wars Tales #14?

  • The Devaronian senator's name is Vien Sai'Malloc and she lives in Montellian Serat. The Devaronian seen in the cantina in A New Hope is named Kardue Sai'Malloc, and is known as the butcher of Montellian Serat around the time of the Civil War.

  • When Aayla, Tholme and Dark Woman meet the Senator, they are in disguises: Aayla is dressed as Tuula Doneeta, daugher of a rich merchant. Tott Doneeta was a Twi'lek Jedi in the first couple of Tales of the Jedi series. Tholme is disguised as Miles Croft, a veteran of the Stark Hyperspace Wars, a reference to Ostrander's story arc in Republic #36-39.

  • T'ra Saa (last glimpsed in Republic #49) reveals herself to be a Neti. Remember Master Ood Bnar, the tree-like Jedi who planted himself in the ground to protect a cache of lightsabers in Tales of the Jedi: The Fall of the Sith Empire? Well I do. She first appeared in Republic #32-35 "Darkness," another Ostrander story.

  • Of course, Aurra and Dark Woman were last seen (in comics) in Republic #28-31 "The Hunt for Aurra Sing". This is also where we first see a young Xiaan Amersu whose master get killed by the crazed bounty hunter. Ostrander brings her back here as General in the Clone Wars, when Aayla gives her back her master's lightsaber that Aurra kept all those years as a trophy. This is a nice sense of closure for such a minor character.

  • One of the flashbacks harkens back to Quinlan's and Aayla's visit to Ryloth, and that's from Republic #42-45 "Rite of Passage."

  • Aurra is sent to the penal colony on Oovo IV. The planet and the warden Fenn Booda are from the Episode I Racer video game.

  • One new cool bit of info, is the Dark Woman's real name, An'ya Kuro, which Tholme gratuitously shouts when they are trapped in the caves. Still it's nice to finally learn it and deepens her relationship with Tholme.

    Of course, it's always nice to see an old-school match up between two of the most beloved EU female characters of all time. But the story deals with more serious issue. One of the driving themes throughout the story is Aayla trying to come to grips with the fact that her friend and mentor has gone over to the Confederacy. At least that's what the Council wants her to believe. (Or is it true?) Quinlan doesn't appear in the story, aside from a holographic message to Aayla and some relevant flashbacks (one of which shows when Quinlan chose her as his Padawan). Through the course of the story, Aayla comes to accept both her Twi'lek and Jedi heritages. Her fight with Aurra lets her what she could have become had she abandoned her training, so there is truly an arc to her character. We really feel that she has matured as a character.


    THE ART

    Duursema was born to draw Aayla and Aurra. She is just amazing at handling any character, new or familiar. She has studied well the traditions of female Devaronians, with their filed teeth and vestigial horns. I would say that it's nice to have a woman drawing female characters. They are all fit and sexy, but not exagerated or exploited. But Duursema is equally good at depicting males. Or aliens. Or starships for that matter. Duursema's art always brings back some nostalgia in me from the good old days of Marvel Comics (namely, the 80's).


    CONCLUSIONS

    A real fun romp, with lots of cool action, characters and references. All this presented in a solid story with amazing art.

    Rating: 8.5 / 10 Highly Recommended

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