Episode I Adventures
Episode I Adventures was a four part miniseries released in 1999. Each issue was told from the perspective of a different major player from the movie, and served to fill in some blanks and supplement the movie. It was released as a trade paperback in 2000 and was collected in the "Emissaries and Assassins" omnibus in 2009. Because these stories aren't related, this comic book review will assign twenty five points to each of the stories.
Part one features what could be considered a day in the life of Anakin Skywalker. It details his struggles on Tatooine, as Watto's slave, an aspiring pod racer, and son. His quest here isn't an overly important one, but it serves as pretense to illustrate his relationship with Watto, his friends, his mother, and his fellow podracers. This story also ties heavily into the prologue of the Episode I novelization, as Anakin has another meeting with the strange old spacer from that book, which leads him to dream of leading armies into battle and becoming a hero.
An interesting sub plot here is the brief cut away to a cantina that Anakin is denied access to. Inside we are introduced to several of the Podracers from the upcoming Boonta Eve race, and their motivations and feelings towards Anakin. Visually, this is the highlight of the segment as the aliens are creative and adeptly rendered. The rest of the comic is drawn competently, but not exceptionally. Easily the best of the lot.
Sub Score- 20/25
This story features Padme and Jar-Jar's quest to get batteries back from moth like creatures on Tatooine. What follows is one of the most unreadable Star Wars comics ever, as Jar Jar constantly spouts out nonsense like "You is pity rapido, Padme." Translating his babble will take more time than reading the brief and pointless story. Not to mention the fact that the whole ordeal is basically pointless, and the conflict is so minor and self induced that the whole story is just ridiculous. Padme is also overly whiny in her thoughts, which are frequently on display here. The artwork is decent, but this is truly an embarrassing effort.
Sub Score- 3/25
This story features the best artwork in the series, and offers a glimpse at Qui-Gon's morality and ethical beliefs. Though the conflict is unspectacular, Qui-Gon comes across as an effective mentor here. His views on what is and isn't acceptable for a Jedi to do is the only compelling part of the narrative, as the basic premise consists of Watto hiring a bunch of mercenaries to try to kill Qui-Gon, something that doesn't even present itself as a valid threat.
His influence on other characters such as Padme and Jar-Jar (making another significant appearance here) is demonstrated very effectively. The artwork, which is more natural and realistic than the other comics in the series, is the best thing about the work, although no one frame stands out. One of the better comics in the series.
Sub Score 18/25
The final story serves as a recap of the full story of Episode I. Obi-Wan recounts to Yoda the various struggles, failures, and triumphs seen in the movie. As such, the story itself is a bit on the light side, as nothing truly new is presented, and much of what is presented is merely glazed over. It does offer some insights into Obi-Wan's character, as he discusses how he grew over the course of the events, and Yoda offers feedback and his opinion on the matters.
The artwork in this comic is sub par. Though the colors are striking and rich (Naboo and the lightsabers most notably), the character's faces look awful. They go from being extremely vague and featureless to overblown and ridiculous looking. Obi-Wan often looks completely featureless, but the eyes of many characters, particularly Anakin, are much too large.
Sub Score- 15/25
Episode I Adventures is very hit or miss, and none of the plots are earth shattering or game changing-they are minor affairs for all involved, but they do provide a more in depth look at the various characters. Recommended buy as part of the Emissaries and Assassins omnibus (mostly because of the excellent comics featured in that book), but not as a standalone trade paperback.