One of the most under-utilized characters in the Star Wars galaxy is Jedi Master Mace Windu. While he had meaningful screen time in the Prequels, most of the "canon" stories involving him were made Legends when the EU was purged a few years back. SO when Marvel and Lucasfilm announced that Master Windu would be the star of his own mini-series, the fandom got pumped.
And after reading the first issue – in stores today – they should still be pumped, but maybe temper those expectations a little.
Mace still has that air of confidence about him at all points in this kick-off issue. Set in the time of the Republic and smack dab in the middle of The Clone Wars, the Battle of Geonosis has just occurred and taken its toll on all involved. The issues opens with Windu and Master Ki-Adi Mundi about the Jedi's losses in battle and how they must use force in the fight against the Separatists as much as they may loathe to do so. From there, the Jedi Council assigns Windu to to the planet Hissrich to determine what the Separatist army is doing gathering there. He forms a mini-Jedi party to accompany him, including Kit Fisto (one of my favorites), blind Jedi Prosset Dibs, and ace Jedi pilot Rissa Mano. They all pile into a ship and head for the planet, which stays in darkness most of the time, and they use that as cover to take out some battle droids. Unfortunately, they are seen on a holo, and we are introduced to a droid that will be our main antagonist in this mini-series, AD-W4.
This was not really the story I was expecting or hoping for when this was announce, but that is not to say that I did not enjoy it. The beginning of the issue, before the group leaves on their mission, is the best part of the issue. Writer Matt Owens writes the members of the council very well. The scene with Mundi is so awesome, just two old friends who have seen a lot having an intelligent discussion about war and loss; it is by far the best scene in the book.
Sadly, I felt that the story screeches to a halt when the team gets together on Hissrich. While I love banter with battle droids as much as anyone else, other than that it just turns into a generic Jedi battle. And I was not really a giant fan of the art in this one. The expository scenes are fine, but the action feels very stiff and lifeless. Nothing really leaps off the page or grabs you. Denys Cowan has done other things I have enjoyed in the past, so I was a little surprised how little I cared for his work here.
Overall, it is not like I am not going to read the rest of the series, but my excitement has been knocked down a notch. Hopefully we can kick things into high gear with issue #2 and the issues after.