There’s something special about reading a Star Wars comic or novel that may not be canon, but gives us a new look at key characters from the saga. That’s evident in every Epic Collection Marvel has produced, with the latest edition focused on the Clone Wars. For the uninitiated, Marvel is slowly working its way through reprinting every Star Wars comic originally published by Dark Horse. This latest edition features 440 pages of Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Darth Maul goodness.
This collection has great stories from cover to cover, although there are a few story arcs that don’t quite work in part because they feature very unfamiliar characters. All told, there’s a good Anakin and Obi-Wan one-shot to start, a solid four-part Darth Maul story, a fantastic one-shot by Derek Thompson called “Sithisis,” a gorgeously rendered retelling of Revenge of the Sith drawn by Douglas Wheatley, and two funny one-shots by Kevin Rubio and Lucas Marangon spoofing the prequels.
This collection opens with an Anakin and Obi-Wan adventure set before Attack of the Clones. Originally published as a free comic book day comic, Anakin and Obi-Wan are trying to track down General Grievous and Count Dooku. Anakin’s impatience and proclivity to put himself and Obi-Wan in danger are in full effect here. It’s a well-drawn story by Nicola Scott that does its best work showing the environment and rendering the various threats they encounter. Obi-Wan comes off as a bit of an oaf in this tale, though, even at one point screaming for Anakin to save him.
Following this is the great four-parter Darth Maul – Son of Dathomir. Some cliffhangers can be a bit much, but Jeremy Barlow’s writing and Juan Frigeri’s art are top-notch from beginning to end. This tale features Darth Maul seeking revenge on Darth Sidious. Meanwhile, Sidious wants to kill Mother Talzin and manipulate Darth Maul to give up her location. Count Dooku is used well in this tale, with Grievous popping up too. The melodrama between the characters is used to its fullest effect, and you get the sense Dooku may have even turned on Sidious at some point.
Star Wars Visionaries – “Sithisis” is a fantastic example of great visual storytelling by Derek Thompson. The story features the Emperor, a giant slug, and tons of Sith wizardry. You basically get the sense he’s a force of nature, and it’ll make you see the Emperor in a badass light. Seeing as there aren’t any captions or dialogue it’s a quick read, but it’s an intense one to say the least.
Next up is Star Wars: Republic #74-77, which later pops up with issues #81-83. This chunk of the story is so far removed from the films it was hard to care about any of it. The first story arc takes place in the Outer Rim with Jedi Master Oppo Rancisis leading the Republic forces against a new Separatist threat on the planet Saleucami. Quinlan Vos ends up being the main character, so if you enjoyed the animated series, you’d likely enjoy it far more than a casual Star Wars fan like myself.
Next up is the Revenge of the Sith adaptation. It’s beautifully drawn by Douglas Wheatley with colors by Chris Chuckry. Christopher Cerasi writes the story, and it flows nicely over four issues. This is a good example of how adaptations are worth checking out as it gives you different angles on the action and can sometimes make the story read more efficiently in a different format.
Closing out the collection is Kevin Rubio and Lucas Marangon’s Star War: Tag & Blink II #2 and Star Wars Tales #4. Tag & Blink II features familiar characters and moments from Clone Wars. This creative team is quite good at throwing pop culture references in like Jay and Silent Bob or even the Beatles. The Star Wars Tales story is short and pretty much one scene. It involves Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader meeting with the Emperor for comedic.
If you enjoyed the Star Wars prequels, you’d likely get a ton of enjoyment out of Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Clone Wars Vol. 4. Not only does it feature Obi-Wan and Anakin in key stories, but reprints Revenge of the Sith, features a great Darth Maul tale, and offers some comedy tales too. Fans of the Clone Wars cartoon will likely get even more out of it than most, with a chunk of stories featuring Quinlan Vos.
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