The Battle of Jabiim Part 3 (of 4) - Lightning Rods
Story: Haden Blackman
Art: Brian Ching
Inks: Victor Llamas
Coloring: Joe Wayne
Lettering: Sno Cone Studios
Cover: Tomás Giorello
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (02/20/2005)
The last Jedi general on Jabiim is dead, and the remaining Padawans and clone troopers decide to stay and fight Alto Stratus' forces event though it will mean their sacrifice. The final assault is brutal, but even with Separatist reinforcements, including an army of assassin droids, Stratus falls under the blades of one brave Jedi. Meanwhile, Anakin has been ordered to go lead the evacuation fleet, taking him away from the battle.
This issue is certainly the most dramatic. From the way General Leska dies looking at the sun for the first time in 47 days on the rainy planet, to the Padawans resigning themselves to their fates but fighting bravely to the last for what they believe in, there is non-stop sadness and grimness. Not even the victory, by defeating Stratus and having finally the Republic forces having a chance to evacuate, brightens the events that have happened so far during the Battle of Jabiim. This is what is great about Star Wars: you can have swashbuckling adventures of heroes triumphing over evil, or you can have somber war stories of heroes dying for planets and people they don't even know.
I was impressed by the scene where, right before the big battle, Chancellor Palpatine sends a communication that Anakin is to not participate in the battle and go lead the evacuation. I think Blackman really understands and captures the subtlelties of Palpatine's motivations. Of course he sounds like he is making decision that make sense given the situation, but underneath it we sense that he knows the battle will be a slaughter, and he wants to spare his future apprentice.
I'm not going to go into details here, but the way each and every one of the Padawans eventually dies is very poignant and worthy of a Jedi hero. There's no foolish deaths like there was in Republic #53 (although I'm not saying every death should be heroic, but it's nice to have them.) Even though these characters have only been around for two issues, I was touched by most of their tragic demises. With Stratus dead, the Battle of Jabiim should be nearing its ending. I can't wait to see what's next.
The art is kind of 50/50: some panels, like the assassin droids and the opening fight scenes are cool, but some other drawings, such as Palpatine's depiction and some weapons and vehicles are really not convincing. I noticed the cloring is not that great either, although it must be hard to keep any colors on a world or mud and rain. The cover is probably the best art piece of this issue, as it completely captures and illustrates the story contain therein.
A pivotal event of the Clone Wars, an issue not to be missed.
Rating: 8 / 10 Recommended