Monday, August 29, 2011

33 BBY: Jedi Council: Acts of War

Jedi Council: Acts of War is a great four part comic series written by Randy Stradley, a writer and editor at Darkhorse comics. The story was a fun adventure featuring most the Jedi Council getting off their chamber chairs and entering into the wild uncertainty of the galaxy. What made this comic entertaining was its focus on the Jedi Council, all of them entering “aggressive negotiations” as a collective and not simply sitting in a room discussing ideas and possible futures. The Yinghorri were enough of a threat that the Council did not simply send two Jedi to deal with the problem (as Mace Windu unwisely did), but realized that the Yinghorri invasion of Mayvitch 7 was something they all had to deal with.

I only have a couple of thoughts on this comic, the first being on Yaddle and Yoda, and the second highlighting my favorite Star Wars character: Darth Sidious.

There were two moments in this story when both Yaddle and Yoda directly chastise members of the Jedi Council – moments which I thought were rather fun. The first chastisement comes from Yaddle, to Mace Windu no less. Upset that Mace Windu sent two Jedi into harm’s way without first consulting the council for its wisdom, Yaddle lets Windu know he may have acted rashly: “Within your rights, you were, Mace Windu, to send Jedi into danger without consulting the rest of the council. But had you done so, greater insight into the problem you might have obtained”. What Yaddle is really attempting to tell Windu here is that she knew a few things about the Yinghorri – insights she learned from spending time in the Jedi archives studying the journals of an old Jedi named Tharence Wo. Had Mace made his intentions to the Council known, he would have learned from Yaddle that the Yinghorri are immune to mind manipulation – information which turned out to be potentially lifesaving to the two Jedi on the mission. I liked Yaddle’s rebuke of Windu because I don’t think I’m a fan of Mace – mostly because he so failed the Jedi Order in ROTS – but besides that he’s simply not my kind of Jedi. He’s too quick to pull his saber, and too sure of his decisions. But then again, that’s what makes him an interesting character – his hubris.

Reprimanding members of the Order was not limited to Yaddle however. In a powerful display of force, Yoda chastised Soon Bayts for attempting to block a blaster bolt for him. Though I got a kick out of Yoda’s sever dealing with Bayts and his “emotional display”, the real story of this character can be found in the Behind the Scenes write-up at wookieepedia. Hoping to get the word “Masturbates” into the narrative, Soon Bayts was Stradley’s joke on Sue Rostini – the comic editor at Lucas Licensing. It was Stradley’s hope she would place the word ‘Master’ before his name. Comical I guess.

Still, what I find to be the real story of this narrative is Darth Sidious and his ability to manipulate events to his master plan. What I love about Darth Sidious is his uncanny ability to twist any negative that may thwart his plans into a positive for his own grand vision of the universe. In Acts of War we see Sidious’ manipulation first hand – pitting two threats – one real and while the other only existed as a possible threat – against each other for his gain. The Jedi subdued the Yinghorri while in the process Jedi were killed. It was a win-win consequence for Sidious.

What I love about Darth Sidious is that not only does he accept uncertainty, but he thrives on it making all that is uncertain work for him. It’s a truly incredible ability. There was a line in Saboteur I wanted to mention in regards to this. When delivering some Sith wisdom to his apprentice Darth Maul, Sidious said: “…But there is also the unforeseen. The power of the darkside is limitless, but only those who accept uncertainty. The means being able to concede to possibilities”. I think this line holds the key to understanding Windu’s and Palpatine’s final confrontation in ROTS. When Windu entered to arrest the Chancellor, Palpatine had already won, not because it was fate, or because he has so puppeteered events to this conclusion (and if you think this it robs the scene of all its Tragedy), but because after their sabers clashed the following moments were ABSOLUTLY UNCERTAIN. Palpatine orchestrated his rise on uncertainty – he was simply able to adjust to uncertainty, and work it to his advantage, quicker than anyone else in the room. Make no mistake – Windu defeated Sidious in their lightsaber duel – Sidious did not let him win, and it wasn’t like Sidious didn’t want to kill Windu when they fought. But what Windu and the Jedi weren’t able to cope with was Sidious’ ability to “accept uncertainty”. If Sidious defeated Windu and killed him he could still turn to Anakin and claim the Jedi have no moral code – “Look” Palpatine could claim as he turns to Anakin “Where was Windu’s Jedi teaching when he was trying to kill me? They’re all corrupt Anakin – they have all lied to you! I offer you the truth the Jedi don’t want you to know…the power of the darkside…its ability to help those you love, even save them from death”… and Anakin turns. Or, Sidious is defeated by Windu, and falls to a position of genuine weakness (this is why this scene is so good, because it is here the good guys do have an actual chance to win!); he is still able to claim “Look Anakin! They’re morally bankrupt! Help me and I can help you save the one you love!”…and Anakin turns.

How diabolically wise Sidious’ words to Maul were. Accept uncertainty my young apprentice, and the darkside will unlock for you its limitless power.

For my next post I’ll study Prelude to Rebellion. Out of curiosity, does the Rise of the Sith Omnibus include issue #0, or can that only be found online? Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.

1 comment:

  1. The 0 issue isn't in the omnibus. Randy Stradley says it's formatting is such that it can't be reprinted on paper.