AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
3 out of 5
Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Defenders Of The Lost Temple
(Art by Ben Bates)
Set in 20 BBY, between the fourth and fifth series of 'The Clone Wars' CGI TV show. This book tells the story of a squad of Clone Troopers led by Jedi Master B'ink Utrila and Padawan Rennax Omani and their mission to secure an ancient Sith artifact, running afoul of the Mandalorian Death Watch in the process.
This is a book about identity, featuring a clone who believes he can use the Force, another who is too attached to his Mandalorian heritage and a Jedi who has begun to question their place in the Order. This theme carries throughout the book and I was surprised to encounter such a level of depth in one of these fairly short digests.
Fans of the Expanded Universe will be impressed by the presence of Master Utrila (from an RPG sourcebook) as well as by the Sith artifact itself, which provides a strong link to John Jackson Miller's 'Knights of the Old Republic' stories. I particularly enjoyed the moment when these two things together and Bates' art does a fantastic job of showing B'ink's horror.
The only real downside to this book is the fact that Pre Vizsla and his Death Watch seem a little bit shoe-horned in and irrelevant.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Smuggler's Code
(Art by Eduardo Ferrara)
Whilst on leave on the planet Wielu, Obi-Wan Kenobi spots a criminal he has been hunting for twenty years. Leaving Anakin and Ahsoka behind, he sets off in pursuit aided only by a smuggler of questionable ethics.
This was the last of the digest-sized Clone Wars books before (evil) Disney reclaimed the Star Wars licence for its puppet company Marvel and, sadly, it doesn't end on a high note. The story of Obi-Wan pursuing an enemy from the past is a perfectly workable one and I'm always happy to see my favourite Jedi in action, but there was too much letting the book as a whole down.
Foremost among the letdowns was the smuggler character, whose name poignantly escapes me, and the ridiculous series of betrayals which leads to no satisfying payoff or life-lessons learned. A lot of moralising only to lead into a dead end. Ferrara's art style wasn't to my taste either; with an apparent inability to draw straight lines, he lends a weird sort of melty quality to the images. Finally, the book was spoiled for me from page one by the whole premise of Obi-Wan, Anakin and Ahsoka going on a beach holiday in the middle of the war.
2 out of 5