December 29, 2010

Review: Deadly Hands of Shon-Ju

The Deadly Hands of Shon-Ju. Writer, Jeremy Barlow (Star Wars) is the fifth installment in a series of Clone Wars mini graphic novels.  As you might have guessed from the cover, the story centers on Jedi Aayla Secura.  She is sent on a covert mission to bring a war profiteer and all around bad guy, Atuma Duum, to justice.  The enemy learns of her plan though, and her small clone escort is wiped out.  She only escapes capture and death because of the help of a mysterious stranger. 

The stranger is a former Temple trainee, but after being told he wasn't suited for Jedi ways, Shon-Ju left Coruscant.  He started his own school.  He trains other Force misfits.  Aayla is surprised and sure she can help him see the benefits of finishing his training.  They put aside their differences on the subject to go after Duum together and complete Aayla's mission.

I picked up this book as soon as I saw the cover at my local comic book shop.  Aayla Secura is my favorite Jedi.  This story doesn't disappoint.  Writer Jeremy Barlow definitely captures the character.  Aayla struggles through a range of emotions as a result of her dark times on Kiffex.  Just as she is straightening herself out, Shon-Ju and his actions make her question her decisions and motives.  A lot of character development happens for her in the 76 page book.  There is plenty of action to keep the pages moving too.  Fights, explosions, chases, and some interesting Force training fill the pages.  By the end of the book, you see two new possible threats to the Republic.

You might recognize Brian Koschak's art from other Clone Wars trades.  He creates really expressive characters, and though the style is a little different than I'm used to from the Star Wars comics I've read, I like it.  It has a slight touch of cartoony, but I think that works.  Especially when you consider the younger demographic the book is going after.  I particularly like the detail in the backgrounds; the design of the indoor sets is just beautiful.

If you like the Clone Wars, think about picking it up.  If you have an affinity for Aayla Secura, don't hesitate to buy it! She kinda rocks.


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