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Republic #51 The New Face Of War - Part 1

Story: Haden Blackman
Pencils: Tomas Giorello
Inks: Curtis Arnold
Lettering: Digital Chameleon
Coloring: Joe Wayne
Cover: Mozart Couto
Released: 03/19/2003

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood (03/22/2003)
[Read JF Boivin's review.]

SUMMARY:

This is a Clone Wars comic.

Anakin, Obi-Wan, the ARC Clone Trooper, Master Glaive, and Padawan Zule are called to Naboo. The Jedi Council believes that Count Dooku is behind a disturbance of the Gungan colony on the moon of Ohma-D'Un. However, when they arrive they discover the entire Gungan colony wiped out by a mysterious gas and a group of battle droids.

Unfortunately, an even greater threat reveals itself. Obi-Wan and the Jedi are attacked by Durge, a 100 year old bounty hunter who is deadly fast and seems immune to blaster fire. Wearing a rather familiar logo on his chest, Durge quickly makes it apparent that he has experience killing Jedi. Will our heroes be able to survive the battle?


[final cover]


THE STORY

This comic will be noteworthy years down the road because it is the first appearance of Durge. He is a bounty hunter who will be a major player in the upcoming Clone Wars cartoon series. He'll also have his own action figure from Hasbro. Blackman establishes in short order why this guy is a bad dude. He quickly takes out Obi-Wan and Anakin in a brutal manner and he backs up all the trash he talks. He is all the more intriguing when he reveals that he's 100 years old and has experience killing Jedi. It sounds like this character is going to have a lot of interesting stories to tell. It is also revealed that he is in league with Commander Asajj Ventress, a dark Jedi who is an apprentice of Count Dooku.

The comic has some other nifty features, too. It ties the comics in with the Lucasarts video games. The Gungan colony on the moon is featured in one of the Star Wars video games. We also get to see a lot of dead Gungans which should make some people happy. (Sorry, no dead Jar Jar.) C-3PO makes a reappearance as the Naboo liaison to the Jedi. It's a nice touch to bring him back into the storyline. This is also the second story to show the ARC troopers in action.

Overall, a great story with a lot of great action. The finale has me really ready for issue #52. Haden Blackman continues to show he can write some great Star Wars stories.


THE ART

While I wasn't terribly impressed with the cover art, the interior art by Tomas Giorello and Curtis Arnold is first rate. The characters and vehicles from the movies look right while the new characters look like they fit right in the Star Wars Universe.

Most notable among these new characters is Durge. Since this comic is pretty much going to be the standard he is drawn to in the future, his depiction here deserves extra scrutiny. Durge has a definite Samurai look to him. His helmet, while being inspired by the Samurai, also reminds me a lot of Darth Vader's helmet. Is this maybe where Anakin got the inspiration from for his Darth Vader incarnation? The logo on Durge's chest is also the same logo on Boba Fett's armor. This is probably the most intriguing thing about his look. Does Boba Fett at some point get training from Durge? What is it a symbol of? What does it mean? There's a lot of story potential here.

Overall, excellent art and colors. It's very eye catching the the action is depicted very well.


CONCLUSIONS

Republic #51 is a great kickoff to a new storyline and a great introduction to a new villain. I can't wait for the next issue. This is required reading for Star Wars fans.

Rating: 9 / 10 Recommended

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