The prequel era got a lot of hate when the films first came out. Fans unfairly judged them, calling them too political or too boring, saying they were full of clunky dialogue and bad acting. Whilst they’re not perfect films by any stretch I think it would be very unfair to call them bad, and the setting is one of the more interesting parts of the franchise. Thankfully, over time, and thanks to the addition of things like The Clone Wars this part of the Star Wars Saga has become looked upon more fondly; and with both of the stories in this issue of Star Wars Adventures: Tales of Villainy being set around that time, fans of the prequels are going to really enjoy this.
The first story, ‘Life Day’, written by Michael Moreci with art by Megan Levens and Charlie Kirchoff, is set before the events of The Phantom Menace, and we join a young Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn as they visit the Wookiee home-world of Kashyyyk. Qui-Gon has brought Obi-Wan there to teach him about Life Day, a celebration that fans first encountered in the Star Wars Holiday Special and has become something of a joke over the years. Here we get to see that Life Day is a festival that’s very special to the Wookiees, and that it mirrors the Jedi views on the connection to The Force, and balance within it.
It’s really nice to see more of Qui-Gon, and the way he’s exploring the different aspects of The Force, particularly The Living Force, certainly seems to fit with things that we’ve learnt about this individualistic Jedi Master. We get to see how important peace was to Qui-Gon, how it shaped his view of the universe, and we also get to see more of him and Obi-Wan together; something we definitely didn’t get enough of in the films.
Obviously, this wouldn’t be a story about villainy if it were just the two Jedi chilling with the Wookiees and celebrating life, though that would be a nice story to read. Instead, things go wrong, things that nicely mirror some of the episodes of The Clone Wars, and further build upon some of the lore established in that series, even down to some designs being reused here. Without giving away too much, it’s a nice surprise when the story takes its dramatic turn, and leaves the story on a cliffhanger that will leave the reader eager for the next issue.
The second story, ‘The Hostage’ is written by Shane McCarthy and has art from the same team as the first half of the issue. This is a standalone story that fits into the events of the fifth season of The Clone Wars, when Maul and his brother Savage were going around the galaxy forming a criminal empire over which to rule.
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The Maul storyline was one of the highlights of The Clone Wars, and led to some exciting things for the character in both that show and Star Wars Rebels, and I’m always happy to see more of this former Sith. Here the story shows how Maul plots to take over a rival criminal family, and the lengths that he’s willing to go to to succeed. It’s not some of the most exciting Maul content, there are no major shocks or lightsaber duels to wow you, but it is a good showcase for how devious a character he is.
The Phantom Menace had Maul as a savage dog, an attacker who was let off his leash by his master to go fight the Jedi. The expanded universe added a lot more layers to the character, showed that he was also a clever tactician, and someone who had learnt to plan ahead. This story takes those aspects of the character and demonstrates how he can be formidable in less obvious ways.
The third issue of Star Wars Adventures: Tales of Villainy is easily the best of the series so far, with a solid creative team and stories that actually seem to add thing to the universe, and flesh out the main characters in ways the other issues just fell short of. More of this please IDW.
Star Wars Adventures: Tales of Villainy #3 is out now from IDW Publishing.