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Republic #52 The New Face of War Part 2 (of 2)

Story: Haden Blackman
Pencils: Thomas Giorello
Inking: Curtis Arnold
Coloring: Joe Wayne
Lettering: Digital Chameleon
Cover: Brian Ching, Batt
Released: 04/09/2003

Reviewed by: JF Boivin (12/14/2004)

SUMMARY:

On one of the moons of Naboo, Anakin and the ARC Trooper, A-17 or "Alpha", go off to rescue some spice miners that are held hostage by battle droids. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan is trying to survive a fight against both Durge and the Dark Side apprentice Asajj Ventress.


THE STORY

The story once again opens with Anakin thinking about Padmé while fighting alongside the Arc Trooper, which we learn is designated A-17. The exchange and camaraderie between him and Anakin, and the fact that Anakin names him Alpha, really accentuates his importance and once again makes him feel like a special character. I hope he makes many appearances in this series. At one point, Alpha places his misison first, but we feel he also is thinking of going back to help Master Obi-Wan, without using much dialogue. Truly a nice piece of writing from Mr. Blackman.

We actually get to see Ventress in action in this issue, her first battle with Obi-Wan. The way she uses the Dark Side to animate decaying Gungan corpses that fight for her is truly eerie and evil. I wouldn't even have imagined something that sinister. She only meets Anakin briefly as he arrives to help his Master, which doesn't take away much from her next first meeting with the Padawan in the Cartoon Network micro-series.

Durge really shows what a bad-ass he is, by his actions more than his words. In this issue, he fights one-on-one with Jango Fett's prime descendant, Alpha. After learning the clone foiled his plans, Durge really takes out his hatred of Mandalorians on the trooper, who is more than capable of defending himself. All-in-all, this issue really feels like a wrestling match, or an old-school superhero vs. supervillain comics, but a really cool and rivetting one. Plus it's set in the Star Wars universe. What more could you wish for? Ventress' parting revelation of "Now I know my enemy's face... and his heart" is a promise of (hopefully) many more appearances.


THE ART

More of the same comments as last issue. This one has a lot more action and fight scenes, though, and Giorello is really good at that. The cover seriously looks like an Image Comics cover, which is not bad in this case given the tone of the story.


CONCLUSIONS

This is one of the best two-parters so far. It will really endure as being the first printed appearance by Durge, and Ventress' second (after Jedi: Mace Windu), although it takes place first chronologically. Really worth buying, for multiple readings.

Rating: 9 / 10 Highly Recommended

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