SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for "Star Wars" #28, by Jason Aaron and Salvador Larroca, on sale now.
Over the course of his many, many feature film appearances, we've seen the nearly 900-year-old Jedi Master known as Yoda go through a lot. We've seen him at the height of the Jedi Council's power, we've seen him serve in times of war, and we've seen him during the fall of the Republic. We even got to see him as a kooky old hermit, when he got into a tug-of-war battle with R2-D2 over a lamp. Lastly, we saw Yoda on his deathbed and, at the end of "Return of the Jedi," reborn as a Force ghost. There's a lot we've seen Yoda do across his many appearances, but there's one thing we haven't seen him do yet: learn.
That changes in this week's "Star Wars" #28. Written by Jason Aaron and wonderfully illustrated by Salvador Larroca, the current "Star Wars" storyline, titled "Yoda's Secret War," tells an untold tale from Yoda's past, in the time just before "Episode I - The Phantom Menace." Following a solo mission, Yoda feels a strange pull towards an uncharted planet. He ventures out there alone and is surprised to discover that he was summoned by a small society of child warriors. After learning more about their history, he then discovers that the children wield what they call "stone power."
The children's stone power is derived from the stones and rocks carved out of a mysterious mountain. Yoda notes that the stones are surprisingly strong in the Force. Yoda's mission to uncover the mountain's secret brought him into conflict with more of the planet's young inhabitants. He also found himself unable to fight against the stones, as the children used their innate stonepower to hurl them at the Jedi master.
After venturing up and into the mountain, Yoda finds himself interacting with another child who has control over the stone power. Yoda helps the kid out by giving him food, and asks not to be repaid in material objects; instead, Yoda wants to be taught.
When next we see Yoda, he's blindfolded and wandering in the dark as the child, named Garro, hurls the Force stones at him.
This image of a blindfolded Yoda, drawn by Salvador Larroca, is strikingly evocative of the training Luke went through in 1977's "Star Wars."
In that film, Obi-Wan Kenobi first trains Luke in the ways of the Force while aboard the Millennium Falcon. He gives Luke a lightsaber and a helmet with an opaque blast shield and tells the farmboy to defend himself against a laser-firing remote. Luke gets zapped a few times, yes, but after heeding Kenobi's advice, he's able to deflect a few of the remote's shots. Now we learn that just like Kenobi told Luke back during his first Jedi training session, Garro tells Yoda to focus and "feel" around him, particularly the stone.
As you might expect, Yoda proves to be a fast learner, as he goes from not being able to deflect a single stone to being able to use the stone power to lift up a boulder and deflect a cluster of hurled stones.
Shocked, Garro tells Yoda that he's "never seen anyone else move a stone that big." Garro's reaction feels reminiscent of another Star Wars moment -- when Luke Skywalker was blown away by Yoda's ability to lift a full X-wing starfighter, in "Empire Strikes Back." Even though Yoda's only been training for a few days, he's already progressed far in this new Force training. We see Yoda learning for the first time, but then we see him return to the highly capable and always impressive Yoda we've seen throughout the trilogies. This Jedi Master is always full of surprises.
Yoda's even progressed far enough along that he can sense why the mountain (and all of the rubble it casts off) is filled with the Force. Yoda ventures up and over a ridge inside the mountain and discovers the a literal heart inside the mountain. More than just a descriptive term, it appear that the mountain is actually a living thing.
The mystery of what the mountain actually is remains unsolved -- at least until the next chapter of "Yoda's Secret War" arrives in stores. "Star Wars" #29 arrives on March 1.
"Star Wars" #28, by Jason Aaron and Salvador Larroca, is on sale now from Marvel Comics.