Jedi Council: Acts of War #1 (of 4)
Story: Randy Stradley
Art: Davidé Fabbri
Inking: Christian Dalla Vecchia
Coloring: Dave McCaig
Lettering: Steve Dutro
Cover: Davidé Fabbri, David Stewart
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (11/24/2004)
The Jedi Council receive report of an attack on a small outpost in the Chalenor system in which the attackers are identified as the Yinchorri. After finding the two Jedi who were sent to investigate dead, Mace Windu leads several other Jedi on a mission to the three planets in the Yinchorr system. But there seems to be a sinister figure overseeing the situation behind the scenes.
[Dynamic Forces cover]
I was taken aback by how much content was including in just one issue. This is Dark Horse co-founder, and future Star Wars editor Randy Stradley's third foray in the Star Wars galaxy. And it is also the third one to feature a planet he first introduced in issue #86 of the Marvel series, titled "The Alderaan Factor." In that story, which also introduced its native species the turtle-like Yinchorri, Yinchorr serves as a backdrop to a touching story involving Princess Leia and a Stormtrooper from Alderaan. The second time we saw Yinchorr was in Stradley's first Crimson Empire series, where we find it is the location of the training center for the Imperial Royal Guards. In this series, we find out there are two other inhabited planets in the system; the ocean world of Yitheeth and the small dense planet Yibikkoror. And also, the Yinchorri species is divided into a ruling caste, and a warrior caste.
This issue also introduces a large cast of new and familiar characters, most of whom are Jedi (after all, this series is titled Jedi Council). The Official Site had a news item that included a list of most of the characters. Of course we have the twelve members of the Jedi Council, except for Ki-Adi Mundi. The reason for this last one's absence is because he hadn't joined yet (this takes place shortly before Prelude to Rebellion.) We are introduced to his predecessor Micah Giiett, a human Jedi Master with a weird hairdo, the main new character. Other new characters are: Tsui Choi the Aleena Jedi and his Anx Padawan, Theen Fida (who are sent to Yitheeth along with Adi Galia and Eeth Koth); Lilit Twoseas and her Whiphid Padawan K'kruhk (who are sent to Yibikkoror along with Plo Koon and Giiett); two unseen Jedi, Haeshahn and her Padawan Ebor Taulk (who were killed in their mission to Yinchorr); an unnamed Bith Jedi; and the Devaronian conman/smuggler Vilmarh Grahrk (who was created by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema for the Twilight story arc of the ongoing series, which debuted a week after this issue.)
Familiar faces include Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi (who go to Yinchorr along with Mace and Saesee Tiin); and Darth Sidious and his apprentice Darth Maul. Stadley's depiction of these last two is particularly satisfying, as we find out more about Sidious' sinister plan to harm the Jedi without revealing himself, forcing him to employ "intermediaries" like Grahrk and the Yinchorri to carry on his plans (foreshadowing his manipulation of the Neimoidians.)
One thing I found weird is that the Jedi pilot the Republic cruisers themselves, while in the movie the cruiser is piloted by Republic pilots. Although not impossible, I just thought it weird that Jedi don't have ships of their own and are allowed to use Republic starships which normally should require a bigger crew. Also, I think Stradley could have used a different setting for a change, although "stick to what you know" sometimes works as long as you expand on what was already established. It sounds like a convenient excuse too that the Yinchorri are immune to mind control. I cannot figure out how this is possible unless they are an extremely wise and intelligent species, and thus not "weak-minded" enough to be controlled. But I think Stradley infers to some kind of special innate ability to resist the Force. There is also a mention that the Yinchorri are using cortosis shields, a metal that was introduced in novels such as I, Jedi and Vision of the Future and the Tales of the Jedi series. Cortosis is a rare ore that causes lightsabers to deactivate. I guess we'll find out more in the rest of the series.
All this, and did I mention that the Jedi ships get attacked upon their arrival in the system? There is so much going on in this issue that can't believe it all fits seemlessly in one issue. Although the characters won't land on the planets until next issue, the setup is so well laid-out that we already know all the background info we need to know, without feeling like we read a lot of exposition. I just can't wait to read the rest of the series.
Fabbri's Star Wars debut is a success. All the characters and aliens are really distinct from one another, and are instantly recognizable. The art is detailed and not too cartoony and the inking is clean. Comic Book Resources posted a six-page black and white preview so you can check for yourself. The colors and shadows are well spread out and layered, even though there is a lot of Jedi-robe-brown. There is an ominous feeling of impending darkness as the story progresses.
This is one of the best first-issue I've read in a long time. Definitely pick it up.
Rating: 8.5 / 10 Highly Recommended