Story: John Ostrander
Art: Brandon Badeaux
Inks: Armando Durruthy
Coloring: Brad Anderson
Lettering: Michael David Thomas
Cover: Brian Ching, Brad Anderson
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (02/22/2005)
There is another war happening within the Senate. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine is gaining more and more powers and authority with the Republic, as well as many supporters. Some senators, however, are starting to notice. With the help of Finis Valorum, the previous Chancellor of the Republic, Senators Bail Organa and Mon Mothma begin to realize the machinations and manipulations of the power-hungry Palpatine. And the sabotage of Valorum's shuttle, causing his death and hundreds of others, just give Organa enough courage to confront the Senate. However, his speech is not enough to convince the Senate, and Organa may just have revealed himself as the strongest opponent of Palpatine's.
This is a fill-in issue, and probably the best issue of Republic I've read so far. Let me elaborate.
Ever since reading the old West End Games sourcebooks in the late 80's/early 90's (such as The Rebel Alliance Sourcebook), I've always been fascinated by the formation of the Empire and the Rebel Alliance. The books had some background information about early meetings between Mon Mothma, Bail Organa and some others in a place called Chatham House, where they would discuss ways to oppose Palpatine's schemes within the Republic. And now, after all these years, we can finally read about these meetings. This issue is full of political intrigue, but it's on an epic level, dealing with the pivotal point between the two movie trilogies. Of course, Mon Mothma had a bigger role in these stories, being the future founder of the Rebel Alliance, and her role is really minimal in this story. I have a feeling we will learn more when Revenge of the Sith is released.
This issue is the first in a long time that doesn't deal with Jedi, or with the Clone Wars. The main character is Bail Organa, and we certainly find out more information about him than from any other sources in the past. First of all, he and his wife Breha (unnamed in this story) have been trying to get a child and have been unsuccesful due to birth complications. Second we learn that Finis Valorum was the one who inspired Bail to become a Senator. Like Valorum, he is of the "old shool" of thinking, believing in the values that founded the great Republic in the first place, as opposed to the corruption that is happening at this point. Unfortunately, he is one of a dying breed, as we know what happens next.
The battles of the Clone Wars are not completely ignored, of course. The recent defeat on Jabiim (Republic #55-58) and victory on Aargonar (Republic #59) are subjects of debate within the Senate, and actually help Bail realize that the Republic is not being informed of the details about the conflicts happening all over the galaxy. All that is important is give more powers to the Supreme Chancellor, powers that are temporary for the duration of the war, but powers that Bail is starting to suspect Palpatine will not give up easily. And since Obi-Wan is still missing (having just escaped his prison last issue) we learn briefly that Ki-Adi-Mundi will now mentor Anakin.
I cannot praise this issue enough: the secret meetings, the assassination of Finis Valorum, the confrontations between Bail and Palpatine... This one has it if you want to learn about the founders of the future Rebel Alliance and the Empire.
I certainly appreciate Badeaux's art better than Brian Ching's (who did the cover) or Tomás Giorello's. The characters have thin faces, and the likenesses are not that accurate, but the facial expressions are just amazing. It feels to me a bit like European style, reminescent of Olivier Vatine and Fred Blanchard's art in the Heir to the Empire adaptation. The colors are also very vivid: the striking blues and reds of the Senate guards, the exterior and interior contrasts, the somber tones of the secret meetings. It's all a blend of good art, composition and coloring.
This is one of my personal favorites so far. And I've read them all!
Rating: 9.5 / 10 Highly Recommended