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Clone Wars Adventures Volume 10

Cover: The Fillbach Brothers, Dan Jackson
Editor: Jeremy Barlow
Released: 12/19/2007

Reviewed by: JF Boivin (01/01/2008)

SUMMARY:

This is supposed to be the last volume in the series, at least in this incarnation. There's always a possibility to have more comics based on the upcoming new Clone Wars animated series. This one has a nice mix of stories featuring Jedi of all ranks, and one starring an ARC trooper.


[final cover]


[preview cover]


"Graduation Day"
Story: Chris Avellone
Art: Stewart McKenny
Coloring: Ronda Pattison
Lettering: Michael Heisler

SUMMARY
A group of Force-sensitive kids on an agricultural world defend themselves against an army of Separatist battle droids.

THE STORY
A young kid named Wass is working in the fields when he sees a Trade Federation ship in orbit launching several landing ships. He runs to the farm to warn his friends, including a fat boy named Zac and an unnamed girl. There are other kids around, but the story centers on these three. There are no adults in sight. Wass takes charge and decides to hold off the droids while his friends board an escape ship. It seems that the kids are Force-sensitive, and were trained at the Jedi Academy on Coruscant but were "kicked out". They learn to use various powers to help them fight: Zac is able to control a herd of beasts of burden; the girl is able to deflect lasers with a metal bar and create a Force bubble to push back her enemies; and Wass levitates the ignition key for a harvester which he uses to run over battle droids. At the end they reach the ship and head back towards Coruscant, saying that the fight against the droids should be enough to make them graduate. To me, it doesn't make much sense that the Jedi would send a bunch of kids alone on some planet, unless they were part of the Agricultural Corps division in which case they wouldn't be able to "graduate" to full Jedi. A pretty pointless story in my opinion.

THE ART
McKenny's art is not necessarily faithful to the look of the cartoon show, at least not as much as the other artists in this series. The planet is not named, but it looks like Dantooine or Annoo could fit the bill. Or it could be any of a number of unnamed habitable planets in the galaxy. Actually, the herd animals look a bit like Annoo's sand sloths (from the Droids episode "Escape Into Terror") but their horns curve upward instead of down. I know I've seen these animals before, I just can't place my finger on where.


"Thunder Road"
Story: The Fillbach Brothers
Art: The Fillbach Brothers
Coloring: Pamela Rambo
Lettering: Michael Heisler

SUMMARY
On an unnamed planet, Anakin uses his mechanic skills to restore an antique VXL landspeeder. The special modifications he made help him and Obi-Wan make it across Death Canyon, evade a group of bounty hunters and exit through Thunder Road to rejoin Yoda at the Republic base.

THE STORY
For once, here is a Clone Wars story that features Anakin's aptitude with technology. This hasn't been seen since the stories set around the period of The Phantom Menace. To him, even an old beat-up landspeeder is a "classic" while Obi-Wan considers it "relic technology" and a piece of junk. Not only has it put it in working condition, but Anakin announces that he has performed some special modifications to it. One of these comes to good use during their bumpy ride across Death Canyon with a bunch of bloodthirsty bounty hunters trying to catch them. Even though the speeder is pretty fast, enough to dislodge a heavy harpoon gun, it takes a boost of power thrust to place them ahead of a rock avalanche caused by the hunters. But that boost in power burns out the braking unit, so after fighting off an axe-wielding Gamorrean Obi-Wan has to take the controls while Anakin rigs up another modification. Hooking up both of their lightsabers to the speeder's power core, the extra energy allows the speeder one thrust of sonic-speed and avoid a barrage of blasterfire and missiles. Someone jokes that the sonic-speed's booming sound is ironic given that the name of the area where it happened is Thunder Road. Finally, Anakin and Obi-Wan reach the Republic encampment, where Yoda comments on the good condition of the old speeder. Which shows once again that Anakin knows a lot more than his Master about technology.

THE ART
As far as the simplistic art goes, the Fillbachs have pretty much mastered the style at this point. The action is fast and dynamic. The VXL speeder's design (also features on the cover) and color vaguely makes it look like an old 50's American car. A little mud on the front makes it look worn out.


"Chain of Command"
Story: Jason Hall
Art: Ethen Beavers
Coloring: Dan Jackson
Lettering: Michael Heisler

SUMMARY
On the planet Hitaka, Masters Ki-Adi Mundi and Aayla Secura send newly-knighted Jedi Anise I'zak across enemy-occupied terrain to deliver a canister. But when the object is destroyed during a fight, Anise comes back to the camp announcing that she failed her mission. The Masters assure her that it was only to create a diversion while also serving as a lesson on how to obey orders without question. Meanwhile, the Jedi Masters' own top secret mission was also a decoy for one of Darth Tyrannus' task.

THE STORY
This story could well be titled "The Importance of Following Orders" as the phrase is repeated two or three times. It introduces a new Jedi Knight named Anise I'zak and she is given a mission by Ki-Adi, who in turn received orders for his own mission directly from Grand Chancelor Palpatine. Whatever Ki-Adi's top secret mission on Hitaka is, Anise's run across battle droid-infested terrain carrying an empty canister is merely a distraction while the main action happens (off-panel). Of course Anise is pretty ticked off when she finds out she has been used, but she is proud to have served the greater good. At the end, we find out that Ki-Adi's unexplained secret mission was also merely a distraction for Count Dooku/Darth Tyrannus' own unexplained mission. Once again, Palpatine has used the Jedi to firther his own ends. I found at least one mistake: when Anise comes back to camp, Aayla calls her "Master I'zak" while she's only supposed to be a Knight. Also, during her fights with various droids, Anise uses expletives such as "frack" and "frell". The first one is an expression right out of Battlestar Galactica, how annoying is that? The character of Anise is pretty fun. She is different than regular do-gooder Jedi in that she has a sense of fun and playfulness about her. She also likes to use comebacks and one-liners against her enemies. For some reason these traits are exactly what Ki-Adi and Aayla were looking for for their distraction mission.

THE ART
Anise's many fights with battle droid, super battle droids and droidekas are pretty inventive. She uses her powers effectively, such as when she calls her ignited lightsaber to her hand with droids standing in its path. And one of her fights with a droideka takes her through the wall of a dwelling, interrupting the family having dinner inside. The rest is pretty standard animation-style artwork.


"Waiting"
Story: The Fillbach Brothers
Art: The Fillbach Brothers
Coloring: Tony Avina
Lettering: Michael Heisler

SUMMARY
An ARC trooper's simple assignment to blow up a bridge is delayed when a couple of native creatures steal his rocket launcher's ammunition. His pursuit of the creatures take him inside a tunnel dwelling an down into an undergound water reservoir. One of the creature makes the trooper loose his grip and he is carried down a waterfall and right against the very bridge he has to destroy. The trooper has to improvise as the droid army is walking on the bridge at that moment.

THE STORY
No Clone Wars Adventures volume would be complete without at least one story written and drawn by the Fillbach bros. And this one has two. I like this one better than "Thunder Road" for some reason. Who says that missions always go as planned? An ARC troopers runs afoul of some local semi-sentient creatures who spout gibberish and like to steal things. First they steal the rockets, and later the launcher itself. It's a good thing that clone troopers are trained to adapt to any change, because only his quick-thinking and a lot of luck allow him to complete his mission. The ARC trooper in this story sure loves to talk to himself, and it gets annoying after a while. It's ok when he shouts at the creatures while he's trying to catch them, but not to mumble to himself like a soldier who's been on his own for too long. And those creatures are so annoying! Arrrgh, I want to kill them! Nice work on the writers' part if that was their intention.

THE ART
The purple, goblin-like creatures sport appropriate expressions of perpetual fear even during their acts of sabotage, which makes them even more annoying. When the trooper falls in the water, he is eaten by some large whale-like creature that has an interesting look to it. By the end of the story, the ARC trooper looks appropriately beat-up and disheveled. The crumbling bridge with the Separatist artillery on it is a funny sight. The Fillbachs are up to their usual standards for this type of story.


CONCLUSIONS

The series ends with a fairly typical, above-average example of an issue. It's better than the last one, but not as good as some of the earlier volumes.

Rating: 7 / 10

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