Review: Trade paperback ‘Yoda’s Secret War’ is a solid but obscure adventure

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Issues #26-30 of Marvel’s Star Wars comics are collected in the fifth trade paperback of the series, and focuses on one of Yoda’s forgotten adventures to a remote planet.

Written by Jason Aaron, Yoda’s Secret War is typical of many franchise spin-off adventures: a main character’s previously-unknown adventure that connects to the main story while expanding the franchise’s universe. Here, Jedi Master Yoda hears a strange scream across space and follows it to an uncharted planet. There, he meets primitive, spear-wielding children who see him as a savior in their violent feud against a rival tribe of armed children. Yoda, being a teacher and disciple of the Light Side, rejects the violence and searches for the secrets of a massive, blue mountain.

The trade paperback’s art, by Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado, is top quality. Characters and vehicles, especially Yoda, are rendered in fine, clear detail, and richly colored. Blue dominated the panels, due to the blue stones that the story revolves around, but bleak, sand-colored terrain and skies add a somber and desolate mood to the comic. The action scenes are few but are choreographed well, and in later issues, a massive being is scaled perfectly to the tiny Yoda. Luke Skywalker and his X-wing ship are similarly well-drawn and look exactly like their movie counterparts.

The plot is a deepening of the Light versus Dark conflict of the Force, and the lessons that Yoda learns on the uncharted planet are repeated to Luke, and as of the comic’s events, Yoda is on Dagobah, waiting to teach Luke more of the Force when Luke is finally ready. Ultimately, however, Yoda’s Secret War suffers from a common problem in tie-ins: the plot itself cannot contradict the franchise’s main plot or overlap with it, and once it is over and the loose ends are tied, the narrative feels like a small, remote part of canon that is only interesting for one visit. The minor characters and settings of Yoda’s Secret War are appropriate for the comic, featuring warrior children somewhere between a Mad Max and Lord of the Flies tone, but they add virtually nothing to Star Wars as a whole, neither does their planet of Force-sensitive mountains.

Overall, Yoda’s Secret War has strong thematic ties to the Force, Yoda, and Jedi wisdom, but is only a fleeting sideshow in the bigger Star Wars canon.

Score: 7/10

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