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Clone Wars Adventures Volume 9

Cover: The Fillbach Brothers, Dan Jackson
Editor: Jeremy Barlow
Released: 10/17/2007

Reviewed by: JF Boivin (10/21/2007)

SUMMARY:

An all-Fillbach issue. All four stories are written and drawn by the brothers and feature a good variety of characters.


[final cover]


[preview cover]


"Appetite for Adventure"
Story: The Fillbach Brothers
Art: The Fillbach Brothers
Coloring: Ronda Pattison
Lettering: Michael Heisler

SUMMARY
The cook Dexter Jettster lands on Dractu and finds a guide in a native village to take him to the caves. After evading a giant predatory insect and getting out of a slime pit, Dexter and his guide reach the caverns where cave slugs live. Dexter takes a few home to Coruscant where he offers one to his friend Obi-Wan as a meal.

THE STORY
This is the first Dexter Jettster solo story in this series (or anywhere else for that matter). There is no dialogue at all until the very last page, and it works well since Dex probably doesn't speak the native language anyway. The story is entirely told by the visuals. The joke is that Dex goes through all this trouble to get Obi-Wan what he once referred to as "the best food on Dractu", only for Obi-Wan to say it was in comparison to the other food and Dactuvian cave slugs are disgusting. It's not really that funny.

THE ART
Since most of the story relies on the art, it is important that each panel has a clear way of showing what is going on. The Fillbachs do a good job with that, in their usual blockier-than-the-cartoon-style artwork. The native guide looks strangely like the Fillbachs depiction of Asajj Ventress. Other than that, there is not much that is memorable, except maybe when Dex gets bitten by a slug on his large chin it leaves dotted circle mark.


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

SUMMARY
Clone pilot HOB-147 and his damaged V-19 Torrent starfighter are picked up by a salvage ship. The clone has been drifting for weeks and is not aware that the Clone Wars are over, so when he wakes and sees three battle droids he jumps on them. Unknown to him, the droids have been reprogrammed by Captain Hurd Coyle and were no longer dangerous. But because of this action, the salvage ship captain has to put restraints on the clone pilot. The clone frees himself and meets a group of Jedi children who are being smuggled aboard. Because he has missed Order 66, the clone decides to save the children from a squad of clone troopers who board the ship for inspection.

THE STORY
The concept of a clone who is out of comission when Order 66 is given is plausible, but the fact that he finds out about it from a salvage ship captain is not. I mean, I don't see how Order 66 would be common knowledge to regular citizens of the galaxy. His reaction on seeing the battle droids is perfectly normal for someone who would think he was still at war with the Separatists. While in his holding cell, he is visited by a young girl named Nia who is sneaking around the ship. But then Captain Coyle (whose annoying catchphrase is "ay-yi-yi") picks her up and puts her back in a containment unit. HOB-147 immediately is under the impression that the captain is kidnapping children so he frees himself from his restraints and inspects the containment unit. He is then attacked by several young children, who believe that he is here to kill them like all the other clones are. Of course, how would they know? It's the same thing with HOB-147 not knowing that the battle droids aboard the ship are reprogrammed to act as ship personel. Nia vouches for the clone pilot and convinces her friends that not all clones are bad. Meanwhile, a Republic cruiser hails the ship (shouldn't it be an Imperial ship by now?) and wants to board to inspect the cargo. The group of clone troopers who come aboard are led by an ARC trooper who declares that some ships have been smuggling Jedi to the Outer Rim so they are searching every one. But then HOB-147 shows up and tells the trooper that he has searched the vessel already, and then leaves with the rest of his brothers. A very noble act, but I don't buy the whole premise. Even if a clone didn't receive an order directly, wouldn't he have to follow it anyway when he came back to duty? It's not like Palpatine enchanted them with his words when he declared Order 66. If a clone hears the order from someone else I think he should follow it anyway. That's what soldiers are supposed to do.

THE ART
The salvage captain's outfit is pretty cool. It is worth to note that none of the Jedi children seem to be carrying a lightsaber. And the clones who board the ship inexplicably wear the old Type I armor instead of the post-Order 66 armor they wear in Revenge of the Sith and everything else that takes place during that time.


"Life Below"
Story: The Fillbach Brothers
Art: The Fillbach Brothers
Coloring: Dan Jackson, Madigan Jackson
Lettering: Michael Heisler

SUMMARY
Quinlan Vos goes undercover and infiltrates the Red Hand, a criminal group based in Coruscant's sewer system. Led by a woman named Ayo Morota, the Red Hand have been responsible for a string of political assassinations, and the Jedi want to find out who is behind them. But Quin's cover was blown and after being sentenced to death has to fight to defend himself. The leader sacrifices herself before she can reveal any information, and Quin comes back to the Temple to report to Master Yoda.

THE STORY
A very simple story, with more action than plot. The Red Hand are pretty stupid for letting Quin into their organization knowing that he's a Jedi, and also for letting him keep his lightsaber during his trial and sentence. Then the action starts: he first dispatches a group of "executioners" armoed only with melee weapons, then runs from a group armed with blasters. He then disables three speeder bikes and survives a grenade explosion. Then he takes out the group with blasters, leaving only the leader Ayo Morota. I question Quin's motives of killing everybody without interrogating them, but I guess he was defending himself. Then in a scene reminiscent of the movie The Fugitive, Morota jumps down a sewer waterfall instead of revealing who her employer is. Of course in the last panel we find out that Palpatine did, and he's quite happy that the Red Hand no longer exists. There are a few lame jokes about Quin's smell after living in the sewers for a week, and a few groan-inducing comments from Quin himself.

THE ART
The Fillbachs have a good flair for action sequences, even if it is in a simplistic, cartoony, almost Simpsons-like style. We don't see anybody get killed "on screen", instead we see some weapons cut in half and then the wielders fall (presumably) dead in the next panel. A couple of characters fall off cliffs, and some others are only heard by their screams of "yaa!" and "aah!". However, I don't have anything against that. It is a kid-friendly title after all.


"No Way Out"
Story: The Fillbach Brothers
Art: The Fillbach Brothers
Coloring: Tony Avina
Lettering: Michael Heisler

SUMMARY
Mace Windu investigates the disappearance of Alpha-2 squad and comes upon Countess Rajine's walled city. Mace is overtaken by her zombies and finds out that Rajine is an energy vampire who drains the life energy and Force of living creatures. After being rescued by the droid Z-18 and presented with a Holocron made by Jedi Master Samuro, Mace finds a way to end Rajine's centuries-long reign of terror.

THE STORY
This is a very weird story, and the first source I believe to bring the words "vampire" and "zombies" to the Star Wars Universe. The sense of weirdness starts right when Mace enters the Alice in Wonderland-like city, and continues when he finds the corpses of his lost clone trooper squad sitting at a table. Things get even weirder when said clones open their eyes, and when a bunch of dead aliens rise out of the ground uttering "join us" much like the deadites in The Evil Dead movies. Join us for what? Mace then wakes up all chained up to a wall and meets the Countess Rajine. Up to that point, the whole story felt like a dream sequence and didn't fit really well in the Star Wars universe, much like some of the weirder stories from the Marvel UK series which were reprinted by Dark Horse as Classic Star Wars: Devilworlds. But when the zombies turn up again later in the story, we know that this is (unfortunately) the real deal. Turns out that the eons-old but young-looking Rajine is an energy vampire, and she is feeding on Mace's Force powers leaving too weak to lift his lightsaber and free himself. She is very reminescent of S'ybll, the mind witch who also drained energy out of people and almost took over Luke Skywalker in "The Paradise Detour", but not as powerful. Mace is saved by Rajine's badly-maintained protocol droid Z-18, whose previous master was a Jedi named Samuro. Samuro used up all his life energy to imprison Rajine within this secret city and left behind a Holocron addressed to the next Jedi to come. The Holocron contains some magic words that turn the zombies against their maker and voila, we got ourselves a story appropriate for Halloween.

THE ART
The Fillbach brothers must have been smoking some good stuff when they conceived this story. It's not bad, in fact it's very original. It's just hard to accept it as canon. There are a lot of concepts left unexplained, like who are those zombies, where do they come from and how did they get there? And how can they be preserved like this for centuries? Those are interesting concepts to explore. The artwork is accordingly creepy.


CONCLUSIONS

Although it creates some consistency, choosing the Fillbachs as writers and artists for the whole issue may not be a good decision. Their style is very simplistic, and I would have preferred a mix of different styles as in previous issues.

Rating: 6.5 / 10

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