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Clone Wars Adventures Volume 7

Cover: The Fillbach Brothers, Dan Jackson
Editor: Jeremy Barlow
Released: 01/10/2007

Reviewed by: JF Boivin (03/04/2007)

SUMMARY:

Obi-Wan and Anakin versus nature-amok; Padmé, Republic spy; Bultar Swann inside a fortress; and three dudes in clone armor. This one has some good fun for everyone.


[final cover]


[preview cover]


"Creature Comfort"
Story: The Fillbach Brothers
Art: The Fillbach Brothers
Coloring: Ronda Pattison
Lettering: Michael Heisler

SUMMARY
Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker are looking for a Separatist droid ship on an unnamed planet. When they see a battle droid running away from a herd of beasts the two Jedi run as well, only to encounter a bigger creature. They narrowly escape that one by being snatched away by a flying animal, who is in turn eaten by a sea monster. Obi-Wan gets pulled underwater by a tentacled thing and Anakin rescues him. Finally back on the ground, they think they are finally safe when they see a battle droid running by...

THE STORY
I must admit I'm not a big fan of the Fillbachs' type of humor. I know this is intended for younger readers and I'm a jaded old geek, but I think this is only a take-off on the "always a bigger fish" sequence in The Phantom Menace. I didn't find it funny, especially when they get ashore after the sarlacc-looking sea monster attack and Obi-Wan crushes a small crab. I know it's a visual gag: we see the crab in one panel, not knowing how big it is until we see Obi-Wan's foot crushing it. I know Obi-Wan is not a "living Force" worshipper like his Master Qui-Gon was, but why would any Jedi crush a harmless little creature? I guess this ruins the whole "joke" for me.

THE ART
The Fillbachs brothers have a little fun in this story with the different types of creatures running around. I think the underwater sarlacc is a cool idea, but the aformentioned visual joke with the crab is a bit ludicrous.


"Spy Girls"
Story: Ryan Kaufman
Art: Stewart McKenny
Coloring: Dan Jackson
Lettering: Michael Heisler

SUMMARY
Senator Padmé Naberie is attending Senator Bezz Drexx's gala in a lush tower on Coruscant. Senator Bail Organa confides in her that he suspects Drexx of taking bribes from the Separatists, bu he has no proof to that effect. Despite Captain Typho's warnings, Padmé decides to investigate the premises with help from Organa's assistant Sheltay Retrac. When they see Drexx go upstairs in the company of Passel Argente's uncle, the two women decide to secretly follow them and maybe get the proof Organa needs. Using a spy camera, Padmé captures a transaction between the two Separatists and manages to escape a big hulking guard with help from Sheltay.

THE STORY
This is a fun little adventure, different from Kaufman's previous two stories which dealt with clones. It's a spy thriller Star Wars-style with enough action and suspense to satisfy any fan of the cartoon mico-series. As far as I know, it's the first speaking appearance of the Alderaanian Sheltay who appeared in the Tantive IV sequence of Revenge of the Sith. I always like stories that use background or little-known characters. Unlike the Fillbach brothers, this story's humor is actually funny although in a juvenile way and the jokes mostly have to do with Threepio (who really lives up to his comic relief reputation). First, some fat alien lady falls in love with the droid; then Padmé takes out a spy cam from a compartment in Threepio's butt (!?!); and last, once the two ladies are safe in Organa's office they realize that they left without the droid who's still in the Senator's tower! It's also fun to see women roll up their sleeves (so to speak) and take some action, litterally.

To find out more about how the story came about, read this entry on Ryan Kaufman's blog.

THE ART
McKenny (previously McKenney in his previous two stories) really has the micro-series style down, and I like his art better than the Fillbach brothers'. I especially like the facial expressions he gives to the characters, creating some life to a somewhat limited art style. He also gets to draw a lot of alien species in this one, some with funny "gala" evening dress (a Hutt wearing a top hat and bowtie, a Wookiee with a fez, and an Ortolan wearing a tux among others) although it doesn't make sense to have some Jawas and Ewoks among the crowd. The two stars are depicted as pretty sexy, in the style of James Bond-type she-spies.


"Impregnable"
Story: Chris Avellone
Art: Ethen Beavers
Coloring: Dan Jackson
Lettering: Michael Heisler

SUMMARY
On Amaltanna, Bultar Swann's troops were decimated trying to penetrate a Separatist's fortress. Now the sole survivor, Bultar enters the fortress and braves all the automated defenses to find the alien inside, who is confident no one can get to him. So when Bultar destroys the door controls to the main chamber, the alien finds that it might be impossible to get in, but also impossible to get out. And now the life support is failing...

THE STORY
That's a good example of what can be done with the limited style and number of pages allowed in this series. It's got minimal dialogue, an interesting villain, a cool premise and surprise ending. Plus I always like when the writer says when the story takes place (in this instance, six months after Geonosis). The unnamed villain is so confident in his fortress's defenses that he lets Bultar walk in. Even after she defeats all the defenses one by one, and gets closer and closer to his location, he still goads her over the PA system. So he doesn't even realize until it's too late that if he somehow gets stuck inside his own fortress, no one will be able to get in to save him! Oh, the irony.

THE ART
Newcomer Beavers' style somehow reminds me of Glen Murakami's in the "Death Star Pirates" story from Star Wars Tales #8. And although the spider-like alien is of a new species, it instantly reminded me of a Lucent, a species depicted in a RPG article by Bill Slavicsek and Michele Carter in Polyhedron #93 (which is considered non-cannon). The scenes where Bultar is walking inside the fortress are reminiscent of the Death Star rescue sequence in A New Hope and the scenes before the Bespin Duel in The Empire Strikes Back. You can almost hear the "woooooooweeeeeeeehooooooooo" sound. Beavers has an exciting style and I love how he depicts the action scenes.


"This Precious Shining"
Story: Jeremy Barlow
Art: The Fillbach Brothers
Coloring: Ronda Pattison
Lettering: Michael Heisler

SUMMARY
On the way to a transport to get off their Republic-occupied planet, Rayt, Bryn and Wes find the remains of a battle. Hearing a report from a clone trooper comlink they decide to loot the capital's bank vaults dressed as clones and buy their own way off planet instead. When they arrive, they are stuck right in the middle of a battle between Republic clones and Separatist droids. They use the comotion to sneak into the bank, but they are spotted by a clone officer. So they have to keep pretending they are clones and get off planet aboard a Republic cruiser with all the other clones, and the money from the bank vaults.

THE STORY
Jeremy Barlow is the editor of the Star Wars line. Once in a while he writes a Star Wars comic, such as Jedi: Yoda and Empire #23, and those are among my top 5 favorites. So I was excited when I found out he would write a story in Clone Wars Adventures. Although he is limited in his storytelling, having to use a style that fits the premise of the cartoon micro-series, he still offers some good stuff here. First of all, he doesn't use any main character from the movies and no Jedi. Instead, he created these three guys who don't like the Republic occupying their planet. And I don't think they like the Separatists either, they just don't like their planet being occupied. So they are just regular joes who are trying to get away, and take advantage of the conflict to make a quick buck. Normally, they would never have considered raiding a bank, but now with the chaos of the war in the streets of their city it's a different story. But circumstances make that they have to hide their identities or be captured by the very government they are trying to get away from. Prisoners in clone armor, if you will. There is a bit of heroism when Wes destroy a Separatist cannon in order to save the Katos family, who are pinned down in the crossfire, at the insistence of Rayt. This story reminds me a bit of the adventures of Tag & Bink by Kevin Rubio.

THE ART
The Fillbach brothers are at their best illustrating clone troopers, and this story has a lot of them. I really like the panels where Wes takes aim and shoots at the canon. It's funny to see Bryn's long hair coming out of his clone trooper helmet, and nobidy notices it.


CONCLUSIONS

With only one disappointing story ("Creature Comfort") out of four, this issue is better than the last one. It has a good mix of Jedi stories, a spy story and a different type of clone story.

Rating: 7.5 / 10 Recommended

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