Star Wars: Age of Republic – Count Dooku #1 Review

by Dennis Keithly

Count Dooku rejects nostalgia and the Jedi way to further the ends of the Sith in Star Wars: Age of Republic – Count Dooku #1.

This article contains plot points for Star Wars: Age of Republic – Count Dooku #1.

Count Dooku #1 Cover

Star Wars: Age of Republic – Count Dooku #1

Writer: Jody Houser | Artists: Luke Ross | Colorist: Java Tartaglia | Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham | Cover Artist: Paolo Rivera | Production Designer: Anthony Gambino | Editor: Mark Paniccia | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman

Jody Houser’s look at the Republic era surrounding the prequel trilogy and the Clone Wars continues in Age of Republic: Count Dooku #1. In this issue, the future Separatist Leader finds himself on Sullust. There, Dooku seeks to consolidate a gang into one portion of the emerging Sith power base: the underworld. However, Dooku’s mission meets an unexpected obstacle when he encounters a Jedi Knight. In Count Dooku #1, the Sith lord must set aside his past affection for the Jedi and nostalgia in service of his future and a larger goal.

Before the Clone Wars

Count Dooku #1 occurs after the events of The Phantom Menace and prior to Attack of the Clones. Dooku is aware that Qui-Gon Jinn, his former Padawan, perished at the hands of his predecessor, Darth Maul. At this time, Dooku isn’t yet the leader of the Separatist movement. When he meets Jak’zin, a Jedi Knight, he simply is known as a Jedi that left the Order. Jak’zin is still in awe of Dooku’s abilities, which he witnessed as a young Padawan.

In addition, although Dooku bought into the Sith completely, he doesn’t yet harbor a hatred of the Jedi. When reporting back to Sidious, Dooku suggests that Jak’zin might become and ally. Sidious shuts him down. Palpatine’s response is “A Sith Master needs only one appreintice. Unless you are suggesting that he replace you.” Of course, Dooku isn’t suggesting that. This isn’t the last time Dooku attempts to recruit a Jedi. In Attack of the Clones, he pleads with Obi-Wan to join him in his cause and “destroy the Sith.” Here, as there, Dooku seems a little crestfallen by the knowledge he may have to destroy a Jedi.

Jak’zin, a Togorian who looks like a giant Tiger stuffed in a Jedi robe, lavished praise on Dooku. The Jedi Knight fondly recalled a dueling demonstration between Dooku and Yoda from his youth. Before he turned to the dark side, Dooku apparently was beloved by the Order.

Count Dooku #1 - Dueling demonstration

Future Ramifications

The exchange between Dooku and Sidious in Count Dooku #1 also casts Dooku’s duel with Anakin and Obi-Wan in the opening scenes of Revenge of the Sith in new light. In the novelization, Dooku suggests to Sidious that Obi-Wan be spared. After all, Obi-Wan was practically his grandson as the former Padawan of his former Padawan. However, Sidious disagreed. He wanted Anakin. Given that Sidious just told Dooku in Count Dooku #1 that a Sith Master only needs one apprentice, was Dooku at least vaguely aware that his duel with Anakin might result in his replacement?

In addition, during the course of The Clone Wars series, Dooku employed Asajj Ventress as his agent and assassin. Eventually, Sidious commanded her death. She grew too powerful. Dooku had to know this day was coming, but he argued for her usefulness to Sidious. Perhaps he hoped Sidious overlooked Asajj.

His Own Path

The Age of Republic series frequently features complimentary issues. The last issue in this series was Anakin Skywalker #1. In that issue, Anakin confronted a conflict between the Jedi way and a strategic choice that favored the best interests of the Grand Army of Republic. In short, Anakin faced a choice between sparing innocent lives at the cost of the lives of very many clones. Anakin rejected the strategic choice, and upheld Jedi philosophy by finding another solution that accomplished both goals.

In Count Dooku #1, Dooku faces a similar choice. Granted, he has already left the Jedi Order. He is now a Sith Lord. However, he is struggling a bit. Many of the Jedi were his friends and comrades. He is intrigued by Jak’zin. Therefore, he accompanies the Togorian on his mission and discovers they seek the same gang. The difference is that Jak’zin seeks to stop them, and Dooku wants to recruit them. Unlike Anakin, Dooku makes the choice of the Sith. He ultimately confirms his rejection of the Jedi way, betrays Jak’zin and kills him, and then recruits the gang. Dooku truly is a Sith in that moment. There is no compromise solution.

Count Dooku #1 - Jak'zin and Dooku

Final Thoughts on Count Dooku #1

Count Dooku #1 is yet another fine addition to the Age of Republic series. Once again, Luke Ross provides outstanding art. Ross’s work particularly shines when Dooku fights alongside Jak’zin against the Kaldana Syndicate (first introduced in Most Wanted), and in Jak’zin’s flashback of Dooku’s dueling demonstration with Yoda. Jak’zin is another fine creation as the tiger Jedi of the Star Wars galaxy.

Jody Houser constructed another fantastic tale. Dooku seems sympathetic for a moment. Ultimately, he confirms his choice to join the Sith when he betrays and murders Jak’zin. Until then, he appears reluctant. Sidious forces his hand though. In some ways, it is not unlike the choice Anakin must make later. Betray the Jedi and gain Sidious’s trust and power or watch Padmé die in childbirth. There was no compromise for Anakin then, and there is no compromise for Dooku now.

Count Dooku #1 is a great glimpse into Dooku’s mindset before the events of Attack of the Clones. Considering that Dooku is an older man at this time, this story has one wondering what his life as a Jedi might have been like. Perhaps that might be the subject of a series in the future.

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