Star Wars #17
Emissaries to Malastare Part 5 (of 6)
Writing: Tim Truman
Pencilling: John Nadeau
Inking: Jordi Ensign
Coloring: Dan Jackson
Lettering: Michael Taylor
Cover: Mark Schultz
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (11/18/2009)
Mace Windu and Depa Billaba rescue a woman from thugs on Nar Shaddaa. They meet Master Quinlon Vos who reveals to them the location of animal smugglers. The two Jedi ride to the depths of the city and are attacked by vrblthers who make them loose control of their swoop bike, directing it towards an arena dome where some illegal fighting is going on.
After a pretty good one-page introduction to Nar Shaddaa, the story opens with a drinking-establishment owner named Kyood Vurd ordering his thugs to kill a beggar woman named Aunuanna for selling gizer ale and thus possibly stealing some customers. But the attack on the old helpless woman is interupted by the appearance of a rescuer, Jedi Master Mace Windu who is on the Smugglers' Moon on a personal mission. When Vurd summons reinforcements, Mace is joined by Depa Billaba his former apprentice. Together they defeat the assorted thugs and the thankful woman offers them to repay her debt.
She reveals to them that she saw a third Jedi earlier, and he makes an appearance at this point revealing himself as Quinlon Vos. Vos and his Padawan came here on a lead from their main mission on Ryloth, and discovered the akk dog smuggling plot in the depths of the city. Vos leaves, and Aunuanna offers the Jedi a way to get to the depths. She brings them to her home and gives them a swoop bike that belonged to her daughter's father. There are some clues that Aunuanna's daughter "Angel" was taken away as a baby by the Jedi, but no real answers and Mace offers to find out what became of her when he goes back to Coruscant.
While riding the bike, the Jedi pair are overtaken by vrblthers and they are steered towards a fighting arena of the Circus Horrificus where the Barabel fighter Glamaxon Tvurl is confronting a group of vicious akk dogs for Gargon the Hutt. Of course the Circus is a reference to Rancor keeper Malakili's backstory from "A Boy and His Monster: The Rancor Keeper's Tale" in Tales from Jabba's Palace. In fact, one of the akk handlers looks like him...
There's a lot of information in a short space. I'm sure we'll discover that Gargon is the one behind the animal smuggling (the "next issue" blurb even promises rancor beasts!) and Mace will literally crash the party. Still, after a slow start the action picks up towards the last couple of pages promising an exciting finale next issue. The dynamic between MAce and Depa Billada is also very interesting since they've known each other for a long time. I keep wondering if Aunuanna's daughter could be Aurra Sing? And what about Quinlon Vos and his mission on Ryloth? Could this be a clue to the next story arc after "Emissaries to Malastare"?
Nadeau and Ensign have worked together on Star Wars stories before (notably on several issues of X-Wing: Rogue Squadron, Boba Fett: Twin Engines of Destruction and the "Vow of Justice" backup feature in Star Wars #4-6) and their style is very distinctive. I kinda like Nadeau's cartoony characters and weird-looking aliens because they fit very well int he detailed panel composition and backgrounds. It's just too bad that we couldn't have a single artistic team for an entire story arc (although unlike with "Outlander", at least this one had Tom Lyle for 3 and 9/10th issues).
Jedi action in the depths of Nar Shaddaa!
Rating: 8.5 / 10 Recommended