Battle droids have the clones surrounded and all looks lost, but as past experiences show, being captured does’t spell certain doom.
Better late than never. Thanks to COVID-19 (the Milky Way’s version of the Blue Shadow virus), The Clone Wars Battle Tales #5 wraps up just over five months later than initially planned. No matter! Just like the stalwart clone army, Battle Tales marched onward and reached their final destination. Writer Michael Moreci and artists Derek Charm and Philip Murphy took the baton to the finish line with help from colorists Luis Antonio Delgado and Rebecca Nalty. But was it a strong finish? Let’s take a look.
Beginning of the End
On Hisseen, Jedi General’s Plo Koon, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker are caught in a battle of the bulge of sorts. Without either side gaining ground, it becomes a war of attrition. At the moment, Rex, Cody, and Commander Wolffe find themselves unarmed and surrounded by battle droids. Yep, battle droids. Do me a favor. Look at your watch and count to ten. At the end of ten seconds, these battles droids should be a pile of metal scraps.
The Color and the Shape
Hold that thought because we need to get to the flashback. On the moon, Caliban, Obi-Wan, and a squad of clone troopers are captives of General Grievous. Before I go further, I want to bring attention to Delgado’s contrasting colors on pages 1-3 to Natly’s on page 4. Delgado’s rich dark reds and Nalty’s flat greys and blues suit each environment perfectly. Even the orange Nalty uses in the sky to highlight the sunset is so beautiful. Caliban was also mentioned in the 2019 Fantasy Flight roleplaying supplement Gadgets and Gear, where Caliban is a weapons manufacturing company. And going back further, Caliban was first mentioned in the 1993 roleplaying supplement Galaxy Guide 9: Fragments of the Rim.
So Grievous has Kenobi et al. lined up and demanding they rebuild the lunar ice bridge that was destroyed when Grievous invaded the planet. Caliban is first referred to as a moon, and now it’s a planet. Which one is it? Caliban has a case of the Pluto’s. Is it a planet? Is it a moon? First of all, it seems highly unlikely that General Grievous and some battle droids could capture Obi-Wan Kenobi and some clone troopers. In literally every episode of The Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith, Grievous is seen running from The Negotiator, and when he doesn’t, he gets killed.
Snow Bunny Ewoks
Meanwhile, Kenobi encounters a Qubey, one of the natives of Caliban. A Qubey looks like a cross between a rabbit, a white Ewok, and a Care Bear. It reminded me of the only other white rabbit-like being in Star Wars; the Jedi Master from The Young Jedi Knights book series from the mid-1990s, Ikrit. This particular Qubey, let’s call him Picket, tells Kenobi that he was separated from his family on the other side of a chasm in his own Lassie-like way. They got separated when the bridge got destroyed. Kenobi, first refusing to be Grievous’ slave, now wants to build the best bridge ever! In exchange, Picket and his family will help fight Grievous.
This storyline reminds me of The Bridge on the River Kwai, where the Japanese army forces British POWs to build a railway bridge so the Japanese army can cross the river Kwai. And this dialogue by Obi-Wan, “General my men and I are working almost around the clock.” Sounds a lot like Moff Jerjerrod in Return of the Jedi, “I assure you, Lord Vader, my men are working as fast as they can.”
At this point, the bridge is half-built, and just like the Emperor in Jedi, Grievous isn’t pleased. Just like that, four, that’s right, four Qubey come out of hiding and attack Grievous and they retrieve Obi-Wan’s lightsaber. How four Ewok/rabbits overpower General Grievous is anyone’s guess. Kenobi and the clones fulfill their end of the bargain and complete the construction of the bridge. Grievous obviously has no intention to release his captives, which queues the rest of Qubey’s to attack. It’s sort of like the Battle of Endor except on Hoth.
Fight for Freedom
Kenobi faces off against Grievous saber to saber but uses the force to bury the droid general in an avalanche of snow. They had the opportunity to bring Grievous in but decided it would take too long to unbury him. Once they board the awaiting Republic gunship, they wait for all of the Qubey to cross the bridge, and then they destroy it again. I hope there weren’t any food sources in that part of the planet. “That should keep the Separatists off this planet,” said Kenobi. The Separatists can’t build their own bridges?
So now we’re back on Hisseen with Rex, Cody and Wolffe surrounded in certain peril. Eight, nine, ten… Masters Plo Koon and Kenobi and Anakin pounce on the unsuspecting battle droids freeing their comrades in arms. Hisseen is saved! Coming to the conclusion of this story, I realized we never actually see any Hissenians or the Hissenian Premier, who was integral to the first issue.
I will defend Star Wars Adventures Battle Tales for as long as I have to. I thoroughly enjoyed this series; however, this issue fell flat for me. I think it got a little too caught up in the flashbacks while the main story went nowhere. Four of the five issues were genuinely enjoyable reads, but this one felt like the season finale of Game of Thrones. The idea was for the Republic to defend Hisseen premier from being persuaded to joining the Separatist cause. But we never see the premier, and there never was a threat of it happening.
A new Star Wars Adventures series comes out this week (10/7) featuring more sequel trilogy stories. As of now, the Shadow of Vader’s Castle one-shot is set to release on 10/21. And the 5-issue volume of Battle Tales is scheduled to drop on December 30. With how this year has been going, take all that with a grain of salt. See you soon!