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Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones Hardcover – September 13, 2016
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...ten years have passed since the events of "Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace." Political turmoil and unrest have engulfed the Old Republic as thousands of star systems leave the ancient governing body and join a new offshoot called the Separatists, led by a former Jedi Knight, Count Dooku. Padme Amidala, the one time Queen of the planet Naboo, is now a leading representative in the Republic Senate, struggling to hold the crumbling galactic government together through diplomacy even as more and more senators argue for war. When the young senator barely escapes an assassination attempt, Chancellor Palpatine, leader of the Republic, requests the aide of the Jedi Order, specifically Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, to protect her. Reluctantly, Senator Amidala relents and soon finds herself meeting the brave Jedi Knight again, and his apprentice, Anakin Skywalker. But Anakin is no longer "that little boy (Padme) met on Tatooine." He is a young man, strong in the Force, ready and eager to become a Jedi Knight. He is also someone whose heart has never forgotten the beautiful Padme.
This is the backdrop of "Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones," a comic adaptation of the 2002 film by George Lucas, creator of the "Star Wars' Saga. This second chapter in what is called "The Prequel Trilogy" was originally published by Dark Horse Comics as a 4 issue mini-series comic companion to the space fantasy film, written by Henry Gilroy, and illustrated by Jan Duursema and Ryan Kryssing, based on the screenplay by George Lucas and Jonathan Hales. It is being republished by Marvel Comics in a hardcover edition collecting the complete 4 part comic adventure plus additional material. It is part of a series of hardcover volumes the company is producing featuring the sequential art versions of the "Star Wars" movies.
As in the theatrical film, the attempt on Padme's life leads to more mystery, taking the trio of senator and Jedi from the bustling streets of the Old Republic capitol city world of Coruscant to the idyllic planet Naboo, where a forbidden love is confessed; the stormy water world of Kamino, where Obi-Wan discovers a clone army and plans years in the making. Anakin and Padme also travel to the desert planet of Tatooine, where the young Jedi Apprentice, compelled by disturbing dreams, hopes to reunite with his beloved mother Shmi, but fatefully reveals a darker part of himself. Ultimately this galaxy spanning tale takes the reader to the planet Geonosis, homeworld of an insect-like race allied to Count Dooku, where a confrontation erupts that will decide the future of this "galaxy far, far away."
"Attack of the Clones" is ably adapted to comic form by the team of writer Henry Gilroy, and artists Jan Duursema and Ryan Kryssing. While a comic book can never match the full effects of a motion picture, these creators translate the excitement, drama and romance of "Episode II" to the comic page in a richly imagined manner. A special treat found in this version of this epic adventure are added snippets of dialogue as well as scenes not featured in the theatrical movie. Mr. Gilroy's script adds elements to the story edited out of the final film, bits of character interchange here or an extended scene there that offer a higher level of enjoyment to this adaptation, especially if you're familiar with the original cinematic version itself. Penciller Jan Duursema and inker Ryan Kryssing bring a realistic, illustrative style to their vision of the story, striving for consistent interpretations of the actors portraying the characters appearing in the movie, as well as the settings and technology that are such an integral part of any "Star Wars" film. On rare occasions, their quest for detail can go too far, like a panel showcasing a 'portrait' shot of Master Jedi and Chief Jedi Archive Librarian Jocasta Nu, which seems overly embellished to this reviewer. They also endeavor to recreate the emotion between the characters. For example, when Anakin and Padme share their first kiss at a beautiful, secluded forest retreat, the artists surround the young lovers with red roses, a storytelling technique often used in Japanese Shoujo Manga or "girl's comics" to symbolize significant romantic moments. Ms. Duursema and Mr. Kryssing accomplish the challenging task of being true in their recreation of a visually ambitious movie like "Attack of the Clones" while at the same time being true to how to tell a story through comic book sequential storytelling. With their collaborators, original colorist Dave McCaig (with additional color work done by Digital Chameleon, Dan Jackson, Jason Hvam, David Nestelle, and Chris Horn), and letterer Steve Dutro, they create a comic tale worthy of the "Star Wars" Saga.
This reviewer would like to extend a special appreciation to Ms. Duursema, a talented artist who I consider one of the great "Star Wars' comic artists, contributing to such works as: the first Star Wars: Darth Maul comic mini-series in 2000, becoming the lead penciller on Dark Horse's ongoing monthly "Star Wars" comic series (2000, 2002-2005) ( Star Wars Omnibus: Quinlan Vos - Jedi in Darkness is an excellent collection of her work on this comic), and collaborating with writer John Ostrander in co-creating the ambitious "Expanded Universe/Legends" comic sagas, "Star Wars: Legacy(2006-2011):" (Star Wars: Legacy Volume 1,Star Wars: Legacy Volume 2 and Star Wars: Legacy Volume 3 ) and also "Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi: Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi Volume 1 - Force Storm,Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi Volume 2 - Prisoner of Bogan (Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi (Numbered)) and Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi Volume 3 Force War. Ms. Duursema has created a classic body of "Star Wars" comics, "worthy to be included in the Jedi Archives!"
This hardcover collection also features a special art section, which highlights the various covers created for earlier editions of this comic series as well as this current edition. For example, the 4 "photo covers" to the original 2002 Dark Horse mini-series are spotlighted on a later page of this volume; meanwhile the beautiful "art covers" painted by Tsuneo Sanda are featured as chapter illustrations, dividing this 4 part comic adaptation. Also showcased are: the romantic "Attack of the Clones" movie poster by Drew Struzan, which also served as the Dark Horse trade paperback edition collection of the comic series, another Tsuneo Sanda "Episode II" painting reprinted in the Dark Horse "Star Wars Tales" #12 anthology comic from 2002, a pair of pages devoted to reproducing the artwork created for the cover of this collection by Mike Mayhew, including pencil drafts and finally a full color draft and the final color painting. Mr. Mayhew continues the striking color style he first introduced with his cover painting to the earlier "The Phantom Menace" hardcover comic adaptation. Readers will notice Mr. Mayhew imbues his cover illustrations to the planned three book series of "The Prequel Trilogy" with a brighter color tone than the trio of paintings created for "The Original Trilogy" adaptations done by Adi Granov. Readers will appreciate the fact that all the above mentioned works of art are reproduced without the famous "Star Wars" logo or other cover texts so to better experience the artistry of the individual illustrations. The book concludes with an ad featuring the covers to the other comic adaptations in this series including the upcoming reprinting of Dark Horse's 2005 "Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" adaptation.
Like its predecessors, the "Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones" hardcover comic adaptation gives the reader the opportunity to once again enjoy this dramatic chapter in the "Star Wars" Saga through the special genre of sequential art. It is a well crafted creation and comes with my sincere recommendation.
May the Force be with you, always!