Star Wars #18
Emissaries to Malastare Part 6 (of 6)
Writing: Tim Truman
Pencilling: John Nadeau
Inking: Jordi Ensign
Coloring: Dan Jackson
Lettering: Vickie Williams
Cover: Jan Duursema
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (11/19/2009)
Mace Windu and Depa Billaba stumble upon the Circus Horrificus, which is sponsored by Gargonn the Hutt. Some akk dogs are "accidentally" released and the Jedi have to defend themselves. When one of the spectators doesn't pay his wagers, the crowd riots creating a diversion for the Jedi to jump into the stands. Mace has found the one responsible for capturing the akk dogs from their homeworld in Republic space and will be able to shut down the nefarious organization.
This final installment ends pretty abruptly. The narrative switches from what's happening in the arena to a section of the stands where one Devaronian named Vilmarh (recently seen in Star Wars Tales #3 and upcoming in Jedi Council: Acts of War and future issues of this series) bets that the Hutt will kill the Jedi. All goes well, until the Jedi manage to hold off the akk dogs longer than expected and when the gamblers try to collect their winnings Vilmarh refuses to pay. Sebulba is among the crowd to which Vilmarh owes money, and he starts a minor rebellion against the Devaronian. Those scenes are pretty funny, as is the final panel showing Vilmarh running away from an angry crowd.
Again, the relation between Mace and Depa is pretty interesting, especially in the way they fight together. The story about smuggling animals from Republic space, namely akk dogs from Mace's home planet, is resolved pretty satisfactorily, if not easily. This issue confirms that the animal handler at the Circus is indeed Malakili, and there's another EU reference about Gargonn missing half of his head being the result of a "run-in with a wandrella on Circarpous V." The concept of a Hutt missing half of his brain is pretty cool, if not disgusting. There is another Hutt with Gargonn but this one is unnamed. The references to the upcoming "Twilight" story arc (Quinlan Vos last issue and Vilmarh Grahrk in this one) implies that Truman has worked closely with John Ostrander who takes over the writing chores for the following issues. It's a nice little preview, but #17-18 do not feel part of "Emissaries to Malastare" but rather a separate storyline.
Nadeau artwork is consistently good. The characters look a little cartoony but without being unrealistic. It just works for me. The big arena fight scene is very dynamic and easy to follow. I also love Duursema's cover! Who knew at this time that Mace's lightsaber would turn out to be purple (it's blue in this series).
Jedi fighting beasts in an arena, and a rowdy crowd betting on their fate.
Rating: 8.5 / 10 Recommended