STAR WARS: MACE WINDU #2 by Matt Owen, Denys Cowan, and Guru-eFX
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
With an epic battle sequence and incredible art, MACE WINDU #2 seems like a perfect follow-up to the stellar first issue. However, with characterization problems and an anticlimactic feel, one can only hope that future issues find their voice.
77 %
Rushed Far, Far Away
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Marvel has released a number of STAR WARS spin-off comics since 2011. For the most part, every new piece has been gold, with a deep focus on new lore and characterization. STAR WARS: MACE WINDU #1 seemed to follow this trend. Seeing Samuel L. Jackson’s title character carve through droids with his Jedi black ops unit was deeply enjoyable. More importantly, writer Matt Owens had me excited for the next issue with the reveal of Separatist droid mercenary, AD-W4. With a cunning villain and more intrigue in the future, I readily anticipated MACE WINDU #2. However, while the new issue had its strong points, I never felt it reached the heights of the introduction.

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Delving Underground

MACE WINDU #2
Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

MACE WINDU #2 opens moments after the conclusion of issue #1. After Windu’s team barely secured victory over a droid patrol unit last issue, the native alien species came out of the forests and surrounded the team. However, they weren’t looking to fight. As MACE WINDU #2 begins, these aliens decide to lead the Jedi deep beneath Hissrich’s surface, into their cavern homes. In the caves, the natives have developed grand subterranean cities lit by the bio-luminescent roots of the surface plant life.

For a brief time, Windu sees an opportunity for rest. However, AD-W4 bursts through the cavern’s roof, raining stones down upon the city. Windu and the others do what they can to save the natives, but lives are lost. As Windu leaps to the surface to confront the droids, he realizes that the stakes are far greater than previously believed. The droids have not come to Hissrich to build a factory or hide supplies. They have come to drain the rich energy fountains of the native plant life. Effectively, they plan on killing Hissrich for their war-goals.

Strong Foundation

MACE WINDU #2
Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

As I said, MACE WINDU #2 did not live up to my expectations. This does not mean, though, this issue doesn’t deserve some praise. First and foremost, Denys Cowan returns to the issue in top form. Every page is brimming with detailed construction and stellar color work from Guru-eFX. The underground caverns, in their bright neon greens, really come to life on the page. Owens fills much of the plot with the massive battle between Windu’s Jedi and Ad-W4’s army, and the art perfectly matches the needed intensity. Every swing of Windu’s lightsaber feels physical and brutal. The battle with AD-W4 especially showcases some brilliant action posing and silhouettes. Despite some visual hiccups with Windu’s face in some shots, Cowan et al. do a fantastic job portraying this narrative.

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The plot itself has some powerful, intense moments. Owens manages to pack a lot of intrigue into this short chapter, which is especially impressive given the amount of space the overarching battle takes up. Owens ties together a number of important plot points here, namely giving the droids a more specific motivation. The final scenes showcasing Windu and Rissa Mano witnessing the culmination of the droids’ plans feel truly devastating.

The Roof Caves In

The biggest problem I found in MACE WINDU #2 was in the characterization. MACE WINDU #1 spotlighted the members of this team without giving too much away. I cared about these characters, and Owens hooked me by promising further exploration of their personality. Sadly, the characters here felt flat. Nothing new came about that I felt developed them or their situation in any meaningful way. There are a few fun quips from Master Kit Fisto, but otherwise, none of that light from the previous issue shines through.

Likewise, the themes that I fell in love with in MACE WINDU #1 barely made a reappearance. Through the previous issue, there is a constant conflict within the Jedi Order about their role in the Clone Wars. Mace Windu himself voiced concern over their role as generals. He didn’t feel they were meant to be soldiers, but peacekeepers for the galaxy. This particularly hooked me, and I’m surprised that Owens doesn’t bring this up more clearly in this issue. Sure, AD-W4 taunts Windu with these fears, but otherwise, they go unacknowledged.

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Finally, I feel that Owens rushed the plot of MACE WINDU #2. While the closing scenes with the destroyed forests hold a lot of narrative impact, this issue has the scope of a climactic battle. AD-W4’s assault of the cavern seems poised for a third or fourth issue moment, instead of the second issue. It should have closed this mini-series. AD-W4 doesn’t seem to be a threat yet. Sure, Windu barely manages to hold his own against the droid, but at the end of the day, I simply don’t care about the droid character. AD-W4 has such a cool visual design and comes off as this intentionally threatening force. But without that time to explore how dangerous it actually is, it runs the risk of feeling anticlimactic.

Final Thoughts: STAR WARS: MACE WINDU #2

STAR WARS: MACE WINDU #2 was enjoyable to read. In terms of the art and combat scenes, this issue shines in a way that many modern comics do not. With such a detailed view of the choreography, Owens and his team really nail the fast-paced battle fever. However, this also proves to be their downfall. MACE WINDU #2 is a rushed affair, with characters falling flat and the main villain feeling lackluster. That said, if you enjoyed MACE WINDU #1, I would give this issue a shot. If nothing else, it gives enough important information about the state of Hissrich and the droids’ plans for the planet. I can only hope that by issue #3, Owens et al. find that spark that made me fall in love with the first issue.

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