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Republic #80

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Star Wars #1
Prelude to Rebellion Part 1 (of 6)

Writing: Jan Strnad
Pencilling: Anthony Winn
Inking: Robert Jones
Coloring: Dave Nestelle
Lettering:
Cover: Ken Kelly
Released: 12/16/1998

Reviewed by: Paul Ens (12/16/1998)

SUMMARY:

Ki-Adi-Mundi is a Jedi Knight of formidable power and influence, but not on his own homeworld of Cerea. Most of the planet's citizens are happy to continue their low-tech lives of simplicity, isolated from the Republic, but a new generation of Cereans crave speeder bikes and starships, and are prepared to fight their elders for them! How can a Jedi take up arms against his own children?


THE STORY

This series carries the weight and expectation of being the first official prequel-era story. Anything prequel-related is the brunt of extra enthusiasm and unusual scrutiny. Personally, I haven't been more anxious about a comic series since 'Mara Jade'. That said, it's important to note before the hype builds too much that while this story is set just before the events of Episode 1, we cannot expect to see significant insight directly into the film. The writer, Jan Strnad, went on record as stating that most Internet fans will know more about the prequels than he.

Disclaimers aside, like the TOTJ team before them it must be nice as a creative team to be able to establish a new world and new timeframe within this familiar universe.

Cerea, the technology resistant planet under dispute here, is the Amish population of the universe, motivated not by religion but by environmental and social priorities. Their polygamy-out-of-necessity societal structure adds another welcome layer of complexity to the situation. The married among you will particularly enjoy Ki's exchange with his bond-wife. This early home sequence serves well in making Mundi a likable and relatable character.

Given the unfamiliar nature of most of the characters and setting, including Ephant Mon from the original movies (Jabba's palace) is a welcome tie. He feels in character here matching his portrayal in Tales from Jabba's Palace.

The story and characterization in this opening act are well crafted, intelligent and have depth. A good start.


THE ART

Winn is good at drawing figures. The anatomical proportions are right on (which seems an odd statement about a comic full of people whose heads are two feet tall) and the camera angles and body poses are thought out and interesting. Ephant Mon in particular looks great in comics, despite somewhat limited mobility. The architecture and costuming are very interesting, as well.

Nestelle's colors are up to his usual high standards. The cover is fantastic.

My only minor complaint about the art would be the riding bird. It was too ostrich-like and non-exotic for me.


CONCLUSIONS

While not destined to be an all-time favorite of mine, this first issue has solid writing and solid artistic work. If you've been thinking of getting (back) into SW comics, this is a great place to start.

Rating: 8 / 10 Recommended

SIDE NOTE: The very first thing I noticed was the "Lucas Books" logo on the cover. It's absent on 'Leviathan #2' which also shipped this week. I wonder what the significance is?

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