Star Wars Free Comic Book Day 2009 Special The Clone Wars: The Gauntlet of Death
Story: Henry Gilroy
Art: Ram?n K. P?rez
Coloring: Ram?n K. P?rez
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Ram?n K. P?rez
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (10/04/2009)
General Kit Fisto takes command if Republic forces fighting the Geonosians on Rishi. The Separatists have taken over the exonium mines and the clones have been unsuccessful at retaking them so far. But Fisto, with the help of a lone clone trooper, manages to defeat the Geonosian defenses and win the battle.
After a two year absence, a new Star Wars story is being offered again for Free Comic Book Day (the last one was the non-cartoon Clone Wars story "Routine Valor" in 2006). And much like the last one, this comic has a flip side displaying more of the variety offered by Dark Horse Comics. The comic also includes the Usagi Yojimbo story "One Dark and Stormy Night (6 pages); Emily the Strange "Emily Tree" (4 pages); Larry Marder's "Beanworld" (2 pages); and "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Yearning" (6 pages) presented in the format of the recent Indiana Jones Adventures Vol. 1 book.
On to "The Gauntlet of Death". At 8 pages, the story is predictably simple and is set in the currently popular The Clone Wars cartoon-style. Written by Gilroy (writer of the regular series and story supervisor of the cartoon show), the title refers to the entrance of the mine which is inside a canyon heavily-defended by the Geonosian warriors. As the story starts, we learn that the clones of Green Company have been fighting relentlessly under the command of Rishii chieftain Gwarrk to no success. But now a Jedi General arrives to take command and quickly finds a strategy to penetrate the gauntlet. While clone sharpshooter CT-2242 "Cooker" is shooting at him, Kit Fisto redirects the blasts towards the Geonosians and their defenses. Fisto finally reaches the entrance which opens to reveal a huge sonic cannon, which Cooker promply destroys with one shot.
With that, the Republic has retaken the exonium mine on Rishi, a metal used in the construction of sonic weapons. Of course, Rishi and its owl-like inhabitants the Rishii were first introduced in Timothy Zahn's Dark Force Rising novel the planet has been popularized by the Rishi Maze reference in Episode II: Attack of the Clones and by the Clone Wars episode "Rookies" taking place on its moon. This story is very short but represents the tone of the series very well, showing a sample of the confrontations between the Republic and Separatist forces. And it's nice to see the Geonosians again instead of the more common Battle Droids. And it's always great to have a story starring Kit Fisto instead of the other more common Jedi Masters from the show.
If there were no credits, I could have sworn that the art was done by Lucas Marangon. P?rez's work is similarly very clean and vivid, leaving lots of space for the bright colors. The panel composition during the action scene is also very entertaining and easy to follow. I sincerly wish P?rez would be the artist on the regular comic series.
A very cool, fast-paced story. An it's offered exclusively in this free comic, along with other bonus stories.
Rating: 7.5 / 10 Recommended