The Battle of Jabiim Part 1 (of 4) - The Rainmakers
Story: Haden Blackman
Art: Brian Ching
Inks: Victor Llamas
Coloring: Joe Wayne
Lettering: Sno Cone Studios
Cover: Kev Walker
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (02/19/2005)
The battle on the rainy planet of Jabiim has been going on for over a week. General Obi-Wan Kenobi, his Padawan Anakin, the ARC trooper Alpha and a group of Jedi Masters and Padawans have joined forces with the local military leader Captain Gilmunn, in fighting the forces of Aldo Stratus and his guerilla group named the Nimbus. Their search for the Nimbus' weapons and droids, which were supplied to them by the Confederacy of Independent Systems, has taken them farther and farther from their Shelter Base. But just as the Republican group starts considering moving back, the Nimbus delivery a full-power attack, killing serveral Jedi and clone troopers, and destroying a lot of assault vehicles. General Kenobi appears to be killed in an explosion, leaving Anakin and a few other Jedi to fare on their own...
This is issue is notable for two things: it begins the first four-part story set in the Clone Wars and depicts one of its main battles, and it also introduces (chronologically) the AT-AT walkers in the ranks of the Grand Army of the Republic's armored vehicles.
Jabiim is a wet, miserable planet, and the environment itself plays a role in the battle: AT-TEs get stuck in the mud, communication and sensor equipment are blocked by the storms. The fighters have to rely on whatever resources they have. The characters are compelling, and in true Blackman fashion are introduced quickly and effectively. The writer has a gift for characterization. In just a few panels and words, we instantly get a feel for Aldo Stratus and his motivations. The same is true for Obi-Wan still giving some lessons to Anakin, and Alpha becoming more and more cynical and more like Jango Fett.
Blackman also addresses an issue that's been in most fans' minds since the release of The Phantom Menace: why, if the Jedi are so numerous and reknown, are they almost forgotten by the time of A New Hope? Obi-Wan explains to Anakin that there are over 100,000 inhabited planets in the galaxy, most of which have never heard of the Jedi order, and those that do more than likely heard legends or rumors. This is also exemplified in what some of the Jabimi rebels say to each other about what they've heard about the Jedi, although it's creepy to see them being referred to as "baby killers"... The prequel movies mostly take place around Coruscant, but now that the Jedi are scattered all across the galaxy, this is a good time to make a reference to this relevant fact.
There is a mention of the "Padawan Pack", which I don't think we see this issue, as most of the Jedi are killed. This is a taste of what is to come, I imagine. Anakin will have to fend for himself, with the help of some other surviving Padawans. Looking forward to the rest of the story.
A note: the battle is covered in one of Star Wars Insider #69's Republic Holonet News. It is mentioned that Dalnus Cam, Sana-Jis Ilowa and Rallcema Bylissura are Jedi confirmed to have been killed.
I am still not a big fan of Ching's art. It would be more fitting in a Tomb Raider or Witchblade comic. Don't get me wrong, he gets the job done, but I think the depictions of Human characters are not distinguished enouogh, making it confusing if two characters look similar. There's Master Sirrus' Padawan Aubrie, a Zabrak female named Kass, and some other Jedi lady who gets killed. At the end, Anakin stands with one surviving Jedi female, which is supposedly Aubrie. Also, I think he could have worked a little bit more on the AT-ATs, which deserve to look better than they did in the Marvel series of the early 80's in my opinion.
The cover has an interesting somber, paint-like look to it.
A pivotal event of the Clone Wars, an issue not to be missed.
Rating: 7 / 10 Recommended