Star Wars: Age of the Republic Special (2019) No. 1 review


Star Wars: Age Of The Republic Special is a triptych of stories featuring Jedi Master Mace Windu, bounty hunter Asajj Ventress as well as Captain Rex of the Clone Army and Jar Jar Binks.

Star Wars: Age Of The Republic Special (2019) No. 1

Writer: Ethan Sacks, Jody Houser, Marc Guggenheim

Artist: Paolo Villanelli, Carlos Gomez, Caspar Wijngaard

Star Wars: Age Of The Republic Special (2019) cover (Credit: Marvel Comics)

Star Wars: Age Of The Republic Special continues the hidden tales of the Star Wars prequel trilogy with three short episodes featuring disparate characters. While the first four issues of the series have been solo features, Star Wars: Age Of The Republic Special makes a refreshing change by recognizing some fan-favorite supporting characters.

In Ethan Sacks’ opening salvo, Master Windu must battle an alien terrorist, while Jody Houser re-visits Asajj Ventress’ complex personality. The book ends with Marc Guggenheim’s contribution about a humorous encounter between Captain Rex of the 501st Legion and Jar Jar Binks.

‘The Weapon’

Jedi Master Mace Windu has been captured by an extremist group on the outer rim. The terrorists are entirely made up of young children, except for the leader, who goes by Guattako the Grim. What looks like a dire situation for Master Windu, turns into a battle to preserve innocence.

Ethan Sacks opens Star Wars: Age Of The Republic Special with a layered story about the victims of war. Through dialogue, it is established what kind of person Guattako really is and the kind of racket he is running. Just how futile much of the Jedi’s work becomes evident with each passing panel. It may seem like the reader isn’t given much of an insight into Mace Windu as a character, but there is plenty to be surmised from the subtext.

Mace Windu in Star Wars: Age Of The Republic Special (2019) (Credit: Marvel Comics)

The gut-wrenching final panel beautifully illustrates the power of Star Wars and the art of storytelling. With one expression from Master Windu, Sacks’ encapsulates the real pathos of this episode.


Ruthless bounty hunter Asajj Ventress has completed one job when she comes across another commission. There’s a bounty out on Ahsoka Tano, and Ventress is sure that means Tano’s got up to no good. There could be more than a hefty bounty earned for this mission, so Ventress is quick to follow the Jedi Padawan’s tracks.

Asajj Ventress in Star Wars: Age Of The Republic Special (2019) (Credit: Marvel Comics)

But this isn’t a story about two women on opposing sides. On the contrary, Jody Houser gives readers a new look at Ventress, one brought on by two little sisters desperately fighting a bully in an ally. The fight is none of Ventress’ business, but memories and emotions are hard to ignore.

Despite the curtailed length for this story, ‘Sisters’ is a touching and humanizing look at a fan-favorite character from the Star Wars universe. Also, kudos to Marvel and Houser for giving a female character a multi-dimensional arc in this Age Of The Republic segment of the series.

‘501 Plus One’

Captain Rex and the 501st Legion have been entrusted with protecting Senator Jar Jar Binks while on a political mission, but they’re finding it hard to do their job since the Senator refuses to get out of the battlefield. When the Jedi warrior in charge is killed, command falls to Jar Jar, but one look at him will tell anyone that he isn’t exactly equipped to deal with the situation. When Rex decides to take matters into his own hands, he finds that when it comes to valuable allies, looks can be deceiving.

Captain Rex and Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars: Age Of The Republic Special (2019) (Credit: Marvel Comics)

Not so long ago, Ahmed Best revealed the devastating effects the constant criticism and ridicule of Jar Jar Binks had on him, which is perhaps why this Marc Guggenheim story is about subverting expectations. Rex is the star of this episode, but so is his humanity and humor towards Senator Jar Jar Binks. The last panel is equal parts fun and heart-warming to behold. Forging unlikely bonds is the name of the game in Star Wars, and ‘501 Plus One’ aptly does that part of the franchise’s rich history justice.

Re-visiting favorite characters from the prequel trilogy and Star Wars: Clone Wars has been a wonderful tribute to the richness of the Star Wars franchise. Star Wars: Age Of The Republic Special is especially important given that it features supporting characters who may not have received enough screen time, but without whom, the universe would never feel quite as complete.

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All three stories of Star Wars: Age Of The Republic Special were excellent additions to the canon, painting a world that is ravaged by war, yet saved by kindness – sometimes by the strangest people.