Wednesday, August 3, 2011

37 BBY: Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan: Last Stand on Ord Mantell

Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan: Last Stand on Ord Mantell is one of the better Star Wars comics I’ve come across in a while. As a matter of fact, I don’t remember enjoying a comic this much since Jedi vs. Sith. Of course, coming from Ryder Windham I would expect no less. Of all the Star Wars authors I’ve come across thus far in my journey, Windham is among the better writers. He has a highly nuanced understanding of the history and lore of the Star Wars universe. I always get the impression from Windham that he’s not just a professional writer, but a professional fan as well.

What I enjoyed most about this comic however, was not Windham’s contribution, but the work of Ramon F. Bachs – the art was fantastic! Bachs’ work is familiar to me, as it was his pencil’s I enjoyed in the Jedi vs. Sith comic. I’m not sure if I’ve come across Bachs work in other Star Wars comics I’ve engaged with, but I know there is still more to come for me from this great artist. The comic art makes or breaks the comic, and Bachs makes it every time.

But getting back to the story of the Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan: Last Stand on Ord Mantell: it was a great little murder mystery tale with neat twists and turns. It even featured a ‘hot farmer’s daughter’. What’s not to love about that character?

However, plot synopsis aside, I want to address two scenes which stuck out at me, both of them having to do with the characterization of Qui-Gon. As great as I think Windham is I think he portrayed Qui-Gon a little harshly in this story. After discovering the Republic rescue team failed in its attempts to rescue Baron Sando, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan discovered many dead bodies on Baron Sando’s freighter, all killed by a savrip. Obi-Wan, in his youthful ignorance declared: “I can’t help but think the universe would be a better place without monsters like savrips”. Qui-Gon quickly shoots back to the boy: “Really….that may be the most impudent comment I’ve ever heard from you”. Ouch! The Qui-Gon I know from Watson’s stories would never had let a comment like that from Obi-Wan slide, much like Windham’s Qui-Gon did not, but Watson’s Qui-Gon would have been a little more gentle in his delivery I think. Obi-Wan would have understood he cross a line, but to call his comment impudent was a little much. The comment came from a place of anger and frustration, and Qui-Gon, as wise master, would have served his pupil better had he addressed the emotion behind the comment, and not focus on the poor choice of words from his student.

The other scene I found that went against Qui-Gon’s character was the final episode in the story. Having discovered it was Baroness Omnino behind the killing of the savrips, the “noble savages” in this narrative, and learning that she was wearing a mind control device around her head, Qui-Gon PROCEEDS TO DECAPITATE HER!!! Holy crap!!! Since when is decapitation the Jedi way?!? I mean, couldn’t he have forced pushed her, or force run at her, or done some other sudden or discombobulating move? Must he have immediately gone to defcon 9 and chopped her head off? It just seemed to me that such an act is defiantly not something Qui-Gon, or any other Jedi master would have done. Taking a life is a rather important call to make. I’ve said it once and I’ll it again: the Jedi are protectors of the peace and protectors of life, regardless of how worthy they think that person may be of that life. They Jedi are not judges, juries, and executioners.

Still, those small critiques aside, Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan: Last Stand on Ord Mantell was one of the most enjoyable Star Wars comics I’ve read. Fir my next post I’m going to continue through my Rise of the Sith omnibus, and engage with the story Aurra’s Song. Until then my friends, May the Force be with you.


  1. I like the lighter tone of Aurorient Express, but this is definitely the better of the two Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan tales. And Windham really knows his stuff, but I think he's overlooked on account of a lot of his work is one-shot comics and young reader books.

  2. That moment of Qui-Gon decapitating the Baroness and he "ends serve the means" -conversation from the Aurorient Express both show Qui-Gon as a bit too "Gray Jedi", instead of more subtle way Jude Watson used. Even if he didn't always do as the Council wished, he was not one to really use the same methods as Dooku.

  3. That's a great connection between the Aurorient Express and Ord Mantell stories, but I think I disagree with you about Dooku's influence on Qui-Gon. Perhaps Dooku's utilitarian philosophy rubbed off on Qui-Gon a little too well, as at the end of the Ord Mantell story we see Qui-Gon justifying the ends with his means. As a matter of fact, decapitating the enemy is a technique I think Dooku would have used without much hesitation, like Qui-Gon did in this circumstance. If I were Qui-Gon's GamesMaster, he would have defiantly garnered some darkside points from me for that action (ha!).

    Certainly, I agree with your assessment of Qui-Gon here, he's behaving, at best, like a "Gray Jedi".