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Last Stand on Jabiim (Star Wars: Clone Wars, Vol. 3) Paperback – March 9, 2004
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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This volume is strictly covering Republic issues and covers a really neat part of the Clone Wars where we see usage of the Assassin Droids along with the first versions of walkers and chicken walkers. We also see the brief return of Glaive's padawan and more clone battles. Overall, the art is superb like always and the writing is great. This series is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys Star Wars at all!
There's a scene here where Obi-Wan is caught in a missile barrage and in the ensuing confusion of battle is never heard from again. He is presumed dead, a quite obvious conclusion under most circumstances. But as we are dealing with beings capable of "feeling" the presence of others in the Force; as we are dealing with Anakin Skywalker, the most powerful Force user in the living memory of the Jedi (which is quite long, as Yoda has lived for nearly a millennia); when we are dealing with two individuals tightly bonded as master and apprentice, and when these two are located only a short physical distance from each other, then the idea that Anakin accepts Obi-Wan's death so quickly and so easily is quite frankly ridiculous. At first I thought perhaps the pair had concocted a ruse enabling Obi-Wan to go underground on some secret mission. That seemed much more likely as we are never shown Anakin mourning the loss of Obi-Wan, even when we get plenty of scenes with other Padawan mourning the death of their masters and pondering on the meaning of life and sacrifice as they prepare to face the next battle in this long-running war.
Obi-Wan's supposed death turns out to be a lazy solution to a plotting problem - how to get rid of the master so that the student can take the lead. On the rain-soaked planet of Jabiim, the inhabitants have divided into factions supporting Republic and Separatist forces, and as the battle drags on the only Jedi left standing are the Padawan. Trained to accept orders from the Jedi, the Republic clone army must follow these apprentices into a last battle against a numerically superior enemy. But rather than waste their forces on Jabiim, Chancellor Palpatine orders a last minute retreat, leaving Anakin in the position of choosing to stay and support the Jabiimi loyal to the Republic, or leave them to be slaughtered by an army of droids.
How much more poignant the decision would have been if Anakin knew Obi-wan was alive in the Force, but missing in action, that when giving the order to evacuate the troops he would be abandoning not only the Jabiimi but his master as well.
As it stands, we're left with a huge whole in the plot that is never adequately explained, in this book or any of the Clone Wars stories that follow. Fortunately, the tale is not an entire waste. Brian Ching is on hand to provide some of the best artwork of the entire Clone Wars series, illustration that is realistic, fluid and cinematic. Where Haden stumbles, Ching soars and the book is almost worth getting for the artwork alone.
For those interested in a follow-up, there is a Second Battle of Jabiim, published as "In The Footsteps Of Their Fathers," which sees Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance visiting the planet many years later to support the Jabiimi resistance against the Empire. See my review of that book on the "In the Shadows of Their Fathers" page.