Story: John Ostrander
Art: Jan Duursema
Inks: Dan Parsons
Coloring: Brad Anderson
Lettering: Sno Cone Studios
Cover: Jan Duursema, Brad Anderson
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (02/21/2005)
On the desert planet Aargonar, another conflict is taking place. A'Sharad Hett, his Padawan Bhat Jul, and Anakin Skywalker find themselves behind enemy lines when their ship is shot down. Bhat and the clone troopers are struck down. Anakin and A'Sharrad must work together to get back to camp on foot across the desert and the caverns. Along the way, the two find out they have a lot in common, but also that Anakin has a deep hate for A'Sharrad's people the Tusken Raiders. Anakin must fight his internal demons as well as the Separatist forces to finally come to accept A'Sharrad as a fellow Jedi. They manage to reach Ki-Adi0Mundi and Bultar Swan and victory is theirs. But A'Sharrad now knows Anakin's dark secret.
In the grand tradition of Star Wars movies, this story begins in media res as a battle is already underway on the desert planet Aargonar. The situation is quickly set up where Anakin finds himself alone with A'Sharad Hett, a Jedi raised by Tusken Raiders, and thus represents everything that Anakin hates. They go along well at first, until Anakin has a bad flashback of his massacre of a Tusken tribe from Attack of the Clones, and A'Sharad finds himself on the wrong end of Anakin's lightsaber. But A'Sharad's deep training prevails, and he shows Anakin that vengeance and hate are not the way of the Jedi. Or does he?
They find themselves in a cavern and fight a Sarlacc, who in turn gets eaten by a gouka dragon. This reminded me of the underwater voyage in The Phantom Menace. Also, it accentuates Aargonar's similarity to Tatooine, and makes it feel like they used a different planet only because Tatooine is so overused. Still, Ostrander could have chosen or created a different environment. Oh well, I guess it doesn't really matter in the end, since the story is very good.
To finally have someone lecturing Anakin on what he did in the Tusken camp is long overdue. I always had trouble digesting how easily Padmé accepted that when Anakin confessed it to her. Now finally we have someone who can drill some sense into the brash Padawan. We also find out that A'Sharad's mother wasn't a Tusken after all, making him fully Human and thus more acceptable to Anakin. When A'Sharad removes his mask, it might give a clue as to what Tuskens actually look like, as Anakin immediately recognizes that he is not a Tusken. They must not look like anything Human, that's for sure.
This issue made me realize how well planned the series is, as Haden Blackman and Ostrander keep alternating after so many issues, while maintainting excellent continuity. Now let's find out what happenned to Obi-Wan, shall we?
It's a welcome return for Duursema, after four issues pencilled by Brian Ching. Duursema's art is up to its usual excellence; the panel composition, the postures of the characters, everything looks good. The colors are understandably monotone, as there are lots of browns in the Jedi robes, the sandstorms, the rocks, the creatures, even walls and vehicles.
A very nice exploration of Anakin's dark secret. And very well told and illustrated. A must.
Rating: 8 / 10 Recommended