Tag & Bink II #2 Episode I: Revenge of the Clone Menace
Story: Kevin Rubio
Art: Lucas Marangon
Coloring: Dan Jackson
Lettering: Michael David Thomas
Cover: Lucas Marangon, Dan Jackson
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (01/28/2007)
Young Tag and Bink are having trouble with their Jedi studies at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. When Bink accidentally erases the Kamino entry from the Jedi Library archives while trying to cheat on their exams, the two friends decide to leave the planet until things blow over. They stop by Dex's Diner to ask Dexter Jettster to help them get off planet but get attacked by Jango Fett. They escape by jump aboard a departing transport bound for Naboo, It just so happens that this the same ship Anakin and Padmé are using to get to Naboo. Discovered, Tag and Bink strike a deal with the Chosen One: they would help him with relationship advice if Anakin doesn't tell on them. Once on Naboo, Anakin leaves them stranded after leaving for an urgent mission. They manage to make it back to Coruscant after the Clone Wars, when they meet up again with Anakin while he is attacking the Temple. Because of their past deeds, Anakin decides to spare the bumbling pair if they agree to forget they ever were Jedi.
Unlike the first three issues which were titled after the movies (Episode IV.1 and VI.1), this one is Episode I of the Tag & Bink saga. It is not "Episode I.1" as it really takes place during Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. This is truly a prequel, the origin story of two best friends who somehow always manage to get involved in important events of the Star Wars saga.
It starts off with the two guys as babies (Tag on Alderaan and Bink on Corellia) being picked up by Jedi because of the high midichlorian count. They study for years under Yoda's tutelage as part of the Bear Clan and we see them commiting various mistakes. As Jedi, they seem to barely make the cut. This whole first part of their backstory is narrated by Palpatine as part of his speech to Anakin in the Opera House. Apparently, the two future friends' Force powers were results of Darth Plagueis' many experiments with midichlorians. However, the narration ends abruptly at page 5, and the rest of the story is told in regular narrative. (When you think about it, since Tag and Bink meet Anakin for the first time on the way to Naboo, by the time Palpatine tells Anakin their origin in the first scene he'd already met them three years earlier.)
Typical of the two "heroes", they have to make some stupid mistakes to send them off an adventure. It turns out that they are responsible for deleting the Kamino entry from the files, which Obi-Wan looks for later in Attack of the Clones. They are even present during the scene when Obi-Wan comes to Yoda for help during his training with the Bear Clan. So they decide to go see their old friend Dexter in order to set up what I think is the best joke of the book. While they are talking to the owner of Dex's Diner, food orders are called out by WA-7. When it reaches Order 66, of course if there is a clone in the house he will automatically kill the first Jedi he sees. It just so happens that Jango Fett was present. Although it is a good joke, and I shouldn't overanalyze it, I think that Rubio should have used a regular clone trooper instead. The problem is that Jango is not a clone, he is a clone template and as such he would not be programmed as all the troopers. But I think what he was going for was to create a history of enmity between T&B and the Fetts (they also tee off Boba Fett, as told last issue which takes place in the future.... get it?).
Of course they get away, and sneak aboard a transport which is leaving the planet. That's where they see Anakin "mackin'" on the Naboo senator (not the one with the flippers) and breaking the Jedi's rule of no-attachment. Since everyone, including Anakin, knows that Tag and Bink erased the Kamino entry (referred to here as the Rishii Maze files), they decide to strike a deal with anakin and help him with his seductive abilities which are somewhat, uh... questionable. This leads into the second best joke, with the pair behind the scenes during the Naboo cabin sequence from the movie, feeding lines to Anakin Cyrano-style. The joke is that they criticize Anakin's (and thus George Lucas') choice of words during his romantic speeches. (""I hate sand"? What were you thinking?"). But as we know, it all works out in the end and Anakin gets the girl. Then, if you've seen the movie you know that Anakin and Padmé have to leave in a hurry to go rescue Obi-Wan on Geonosis. This is a good starting point for the last sequence of the story. The two are left stranded and have to find their way back to Coruscant, with no money and no transport. It's a good and funny excuse to have them arrive three years later after the Clone Wars are over. And luck of all lucks, they meet up with Anakin again, but now he is Darth Vader and he's exterminating all the Jedi in the temple. But he decides to spare our two friends because they helped him on Naboo as long as they promise to forget they trained as Jedi, thus setting up the other previous stories (in the future) in which they display no Force abilities at all.
Although there are some problems with the narrative of the story, Rubio's strong points are the dialogue and the numerous visual jokes that he puts in his script. The interactions between characters, especially the two stars, sound very natural. I think the dialogue might have been rehearsed out-loud with some friends to sound so natural. I got really attached to the two guys, although they haven't had enough comic book appearances overall to give them more fleshed-out personalities.
I won't praise Marangon's work again (for details see previous reviews), but I saw some errors with the coloring in this issue. First of all, the usually dark-skinned Bink Otauna is the same tone as his friend Tag. But the most blatant mistake is the colors of Jango Fett's armor: they are painted like Boba Fett's (or rather, Jaster Mereel if you want to go technical) instead of the grey-and-blue of Attack of the Clones. There is no reason for this mistake, and although it doesn't affect the story at all it's just distracting.
While these might be attributed to the writer, I thought I'd mention these here since it is part of the artwork. Besides the regular visual jokes which have become a staple of Rubio's stories (the Beatles, Buzz Lightyear, Crow T. Robot & Tom Servo, Gort, the writer, artist and editor, etc...), this story has a lot of new ones: outside the opera house, there are a bunch of posters for some plays (Menace of the Opera, Jedi on the Roof, The Gungan King, Annie); the two Jedi who pick up a baby Bink on Alderaan are Jay and Silent Bob look-alikes; Baby Tag plays with a Darth Tater while his sisters Ta-mara and De-hoff (named in the last issue) look on; a funny reference to Skippy the Jedi Droid from Star Wars Tales #1. But I was disapointed that there is no Bob's Big Boy reference (or at least none that I could find).
Tag & Bink are back! This prequel is worth a laugh or two.
Rating: 6.5 / 10