Early in The Clone Wars, Separatists forces look to advance through the galaxy, while the Jedi bravely stand firm, in Battle Tales.
This article contains plot points from Star Wars The Clone Wars: Battle Tales #1.
Long have we waited! After about a month and a half delay, Star Wars comics are back with the premier issue of Star Wars Adventures The Clone Wars: Battle Tales. Originally scheduled to be released on April 1st, the 5-issue miniseries dropped on May 20th to eagerly awaiting fans. Like previous Star Wars Adventures comics published by IDW, every issue will feature a variety of artistic talent. The series is written by Star Wars comic veteran Michael Moreci with art by Derek Charm. The contributing artists for the first issue are Arianna Florean & Mario Del Pennino.
Begun The Clone Wars Has…Again
Okay, let’s dive right in. It’s established from the get-go that the events of the series occur before the Battle of Christophsis, which we see in The Clone Wars feature film. This means that Ahsoka has not yet been assigned to Anakin as his padawan learner. According to Lucasfilm Story Group member Pablo Hildago, The Clone Wars movie and the subsequent series follows about six months after the events of Attack of the Clones. In short, Battle Tales falls somewhere in between episode II and The Clone Wars movie. Got all that?
The story opens on the planet Hisseen. The Republic is determined not to let another system fall to Separatist forces. The Jedi Council assigns three of their most respected members, Plo Koon, Obi-Wan Kenobi and his apprentice Anakin Skywalker, including their respective clone battalions to prevent this from happening. Along for the fight are Commanders Cody and Wolffe and Captain Rex.
Jedi & Clones
Battle Tales does a great job illustrating the camaraderie between the Jedi and the clones, which is evident from early on in the war. There is no hesitation by the Jedi to work with clones or vice versa. It would’ve been very easy for the Jedi to show some of the prejudice droids have experienced. Clones aren’t droids, but remember how Obi-Wan spoke about Jar Jar and young Anakin, calling them “worthless lifeforms.”
One example of that camaraderie came after defeating the separatists in battle. Anakin, Rex, and Hardcase encounter a giant salamander-like creature in the forest on Hisseen. The beast swats Hardcase away like a fly, Anakin immediately tells Rex to “Get your men to safety. No one gets left behind. Not on my watch.” After the beast is slain, Anakin tells Rex, “You’re more than soldiers Rex. You’re men. Men whose lives are in my hands, and I do not take that likely.” This echoes what Yoda said in the first episode of The Clone Wars. They may be clones but that doesn’t lessen their value or their presence in the Force. Despite what happens in the future, it’s actions like this that make men like Anakin Skywalker great leaders.
Asajj Ventress gets a nod in this story as well. Ventress’s appearances can get a little murky because she’s popped up in so many places in varying times and allegiances. Her story starts as Asajj being a Jedi padawan, but her master gets murdered by a group of pirates, who then adopt her. Dooku discovers her and takes her in as his apprentice after witnessing her anger towards the pirates. Point being, Asajj must’ve been Dooku’s apprentice before the Battle at Geonosis. Battle Tales is the earliest in the timeline Asajj gets mentioned.
In the story, Asajj and Dooku have arranged to meet with the Hisseenian Premier to discuss where the Hisseenian Parliamentary members are hiding. The Jedi fear that if Dooku dissolves their government, there will be nothing stopping Dooku from controlling Hisseen. Hats off to Moreci for not shying away from keeping the politics in Star Wars. It’s a core ingredient in Star Wars since the beginning.
One missed opportunity (a very minor one at that), is when Anakin tried to defend his troops from the giant salamander creature. Instead of trying to kill it, it would’ve been a nice callback to when Anakin used the Force to calm the Reek in Attack of the Clones if he tried that. Tying those two events together would’ve worked well. And yes, the Reek was held in captivity and probably more tame this creature, but this story is also later, and it’s likely Anakin has become stronger in the Force. Besides the Anakin in Battle Tales is The Clone Wars Anakin, not Attack of the Clones Anakin. The awkward whining has given way to cocky boastfulness.
The story concludes with Master Plo sending a garbled hologram message. Anakin has confronted Count Dooku! Okay, how many times exactly has Anakin faced Dooku? The line in Revenge of the Sith about Anakin’s power doubling since they last met (which at the time was Attack of the Clones) has long been meaningless. By episode III they’ve met several times.
The wait for The Clone Wars Battle Tales was worth it. It’s fun and entertaining and lives up to the reputation IDW has established with Star Wars comic books. IDW publishes a quality comic with thicker pages than some of the more prominent publishing companies (Marvel I’m looking at you). Props to colorists Luis Antonio Delgado & Valentina Taddeo for their brightness and range. Every page is loaded with action. Battle Tales, originally scheduled as a weekly series, is now monthly. Battle Tales #2 is due out on June 24th and will feature artist Megan Levins.