Star Wars: The Clone Wars #1

The multimedia "Clone Wars" assault continues, hot on the heels of the "Star Wars: Clone Wars" animated feature film and preceding this fall's "Clone Wars" animated television series, this comic hits a gap when "Clone" enthusiasts must surely be itching for more.

Although I'm not a major fan of the prequels, and have yet to see the animated film (waiting for the DVD, as I chose to see "Dark Knight" a second time instead) I decided to give this a go.

The writing is horribly inconsistent, or rather, maybe it is completely consistent with some of the poor acting that set the stage for this storyline. Anakin swings between brash and childlike to fatherly and concerned. Maybe that has something to do with him having a Padawan, or maybe it's just supposed to indicate the roiling conflict within the young Jedi. The main thing is that it is horribly unclear at this juncture.

The story itself focuses on the home world of Anakin's aforementioned Padawan -- Ahsoka. Her people, the Togruta, have disappeared and the Separatist armies have entrenched themselves in the capital city.

The story bounces between Anakin and Ahsoka's quest to deactivate thermal detonators and Obi-Wan's conflict with the commander of the Separatist droid army -- a Besalisk. The writing continues its inconsistency at this point, as Obi-Wan finds himself surprised to face the a four-armed Besalisk in hand-to-hand (to hand-to-hand?) combat. This is worth noting as the "Clone Wars" follows "Attack of the Clones", wherein Obi-Wan consulted Dex, also a Besalisk, about the Kamino dart.

The art, by Scott Hepburn, is more consistent but feels like it can't decide whether it wants to be manga, or designs based on Genndy Tartakovsky, or something more akin to the artwork found over in the waning issues of the "Justice League Unlimited" comic book series. In this aspect, it doesn't detract from the story at all, but it does leave me hoping it makes its mind up before issue #2. Originally, I recalled reading that Ramon Perez was going to be involved in some way, and I hold out hope that he will be. If he isn't, then I hope Hepburn is granted a little more freedom to put his thumbprint on the imagery.

The color palette leaves a little to be desired, as it seems heavily loaded with pastels and oranges alongside one another. In some areas, Wiggam shines through, helping the art be stronger, but in other areas where backgrounds get sparse, it seems as though the colors were applied just to kill white space.

Overall, this book fills a niche, and most folks buying it will be fine jumping in on a story with familiar characters. This issue is not a done in one, nor could anything truly be in the expanded Star Wars universe, but it doesn't have the ominous cliffhanger like at the end of "Empire Strikes Back". It is more like the end of "Attack of the Clones" where you know there is something bigger and better on the horizon and the anticipation is supposed to carry you there.

It will be interesting to see how long a monthly comic that is conceived as a supplement to a small screen "Star Wars" effort is able to sustain on today's market.

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