Star Wars: Age of Republic – Special #1 Review

by Dennis Keithly

In Star Wars: Age of Republic – Special #1, protectors of the powerless come to the forefront with stories about Windu, Ventress, Jar Jar, and Rex.

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

Star Wars: Age of Republic - Special #1 Cover

Star Wars: Age of Republic – Special #1

Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham | Cover Artist: Rod Reis | Production Designer: Anthony Gambino | Editor: Mark Paniccia | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman

The Age of Republic series continues with Age of Republic Special #1. Jody Houser was the primary writer on the previous entries in this series, including Jango Fett #1, Obi-Wan Kenobi #1, and Darth Maul #1. Those previous issues frequently featured complimentary themes. For instance, Obi-Wan Kenobi #1 and Jango Fett #1 commented on the role of mentors, trusting students, and learning when to let go. In comparison, Age of Republic Special #1 features multiple writers and artists, but there are common themes. In this issue, those themes focus on children or the otherwise powerless. In each case, the lead character reflects on the role of the powerless in crafting their solutions to problems.

Age of Republic Special #1 - Windu

Mace Windu in “The Weapon”

Writer: Ethan Sacks | Artist: Paolo Villanelli | Colorist: Erick Arciniega

Age of Republic Special #1 begins with a tale of Mace Windu, who was last featured in his own miniseries. In this issue, he was captured by Guattako the Grim and his “freedom fighters” on the planet of Oosalon. This story has a vibe similar to the Legends novel Shatterpoint. Mace and Guattako have a difference of opinion on how Guattako is fighting for freedom with child soldiers. It is more than that though. Guattako hides behind a fault of the Republic, that it doesn’t reach out equally to all member worlds, to justify his actions in pressing children into military service.

There are competing philosophies. Guattako sees himself as a freedom fighter. The Republic sees him a as a terrorist. Naturally, this brings Obi-Wan’s quote about point-of-view to mind. In the end, during the climatic duel between Windu and Guattako, one of the child warriors takes matters into his own hands and shoots Guattako. When Mace advocates for some of the older, more culpable children being spared imprisonment, Yoda notes that they can’t interfere with local laws. In response, Mace notes they didn’t save all the children then.

This was an intriguing, brief story. Plus, it was thought provoking. It reflects so much of the political ideology of the prequels: the Republic claims moral superiority, but it isn’t everywhere. The Republic, and the Jedi, failed to protect everyone equally, and that gave rise to a Separatist movement, which was also misguided.

Age of Republic Special #1 - Asajj Ventress

Asajj Ventress in “Sisters”

Writer: Jody Houser | Artist: Carlos Gomez | Colorist: Dono Sánchez-Almara

The next story in Age of Republic Special #1 features Asajj Ventress, the former apprentice to the Sith. In the days following her time with the Nightsisters, she became a bounty hunter. This story begins with her collecting on one of her bounties. Before she can finish haggling with the handler, another bounty catches her attention: Ahsoka Tano. Asajj immediately begins the pursuit, but she is quickly distracted. She finds two young children defending themselves and their food from a thug. Although reluctant, Asajj quickly steps in.

There is an obvious parallel to “The Weapon” story. In Mace’ story, the children were far away, and neglected. Once they finally caught the attention of the Republic and the Jedi, there was action. However, Asajj’s story takes place on Coruscant. Children are neglected right under the noses of the Senate, the Chancellor, and the Jedi. Yet, nobody is helping them. This reminds Asajj of her own situation so long ago, so she steps in and defeats the thug. Once it is all over, she tells the children to look out for each other. After all, if they don’t, who else will in this galaxy?

Star Wars Age of Republic Special #1 Rex and Jar Jar

Captain Rex and Jar Jar Binks in “501 Plus One”

Writer: Marc Guggenheim | Artist: Carlos Gomez | Colorist: Dono Sánchez-Almara

The final story of Age of Republic Special #1 features Captain Rex and Jar Jar Binks. Unlike the previous two stories, this one strays from the theme of forgotten children. However, it does deal with the under looked and often underrated. During the Battle of Mimban, a Solo: A Star Wars Story tie-in of sorts, the 501st, under the command of Captain Rex loses their Jedi general, Laan Tik. The Clones are then forced to evacuate and protect the life of Jar Jar Binks, whom they refer to as a senator.

Rex orders his men to evacuate. However, he isn’t going with them. Rex plans on creating a distraction. Jar Jar, though, has other ideas. He takes up Laan Tik’s lightsaber and follows Rex into combat. Just when thinks look bleak, Jar Jar comes to his rescue. Admittedly, this scene might have been groan worthy, but Guggenheim wrote it well, and Gomez provided just the right artistic touch. The overall moral of this story seems to fall between letting the weak stand up for themselves, accepting help from even the most unlikely of sources, and not underestimating the heart of the brave.

Final Thoughts on Age of Republic Special #1

Age of Republic Special #1 tells three short stories, and it tells them well. The prior issues in the Age of Republic series perhaps do a better job exploring their themes, but those issues also have more space. Age of Republic Special #1 does well in shining a spotlight on a few characters that might not otherwise get the chance be highlighted. All of these stories do well in expanding the story of the Clone Wars, even though they each take a different track in doing so.

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