Yoda is one of the most powerful and unique characters in the Star Wars universe. In the movies, he has gone toe-to-toe with Darth Sidious, lifted an X-Wing out of a swamp, trained younglings, and put up with a whiney Luke Skywalker. He has become a beloved and iconic figure that is still shrouded in mystery. What species Yoda belongs to is still unknown, as is much of his 900 years—aside from the last 50, which we’ve seen in films and animated TV shows.
In Marvel Comics’ most recent Star Wars storyline, aptly titled Yoda’s Secret War, fans are exposed to a side adventure with everyone’s favourite Jedi Master under three feet. Yoda’s Secret War, covering Star Wars issues #26-#30, begins with the aftermath of C-3PO having been captured by the Empire. While Han, Luke, and Leia debate whether to go after him, a certain astromech droid takes matters into its own hands (or lack thereof). Flying an X-Wing, R2 takes a great risk going after C-3PO. Luke follows in his own X-Wing, but when R2 jumps to hyperspace, Luke loses him. His hyperdrive is down. While waiting for his other droid to fix the hyperdrive, he begins reading Ben Kenobi’s Journal. Ben writes about a time before the Clone Wars. A powerful Jedi feels a disturbance in the Force, and needs to follow the calling…alone. That Jedi is none other than Yoda, who ends up on a planet inhabited by two rival groups of children. It is up to Yoda to find peace between the two factions and face a dark force he won’t soon forget.
Written by Jason Aaron, Star Wars: Yoda’s Secret War has moments of vintage Yoda and interesting plot points, but not enough to be a truly great tale. The story feels like Yoda meeting Lord of the Flies. And it’s his dealing with these children that makes Star Wars: Yoda’s Secret War far too kid orientated to be a terrific tale—for this reviewer at least. What succeeds in the five-issue mini-series is the action, which pits Yoda against the powers of a large mountain that has been asleep and housing angry inhabitants for a very long time.
Star Wars: Yoda’s Secret War is illustrated by Salvador Larroca and coloured by Edgar Delgado. Larroca does his best work with Yoda himself. This is the prequels’ Yoda—as Larroca’s illustrations are very reminiscent of digital Yoda from those films. Delgado does a great job with the blue colours of the cave Yoda must enter and the rock creatures he must face near the end of the story arc.
However, the overall impact of Star Wars: Yoda’s Secret War is less than memorable. The plot fails to be truly engaging and the stakes don’t feel overly high. This weakness in story could have to do with the fact that, aside from Yoda, there are new characters at the heart of the story, but none of them stand out. There also isn’t a significant villain—as true a threat to any storyline.
The Star Wars comic creators need to get back to what works—Luke, Leia, Han and the gang being chased by Vader and the Empire—and let go of these longer side adventures. One issue is fine, but a five-parter that can’t deliver. Come on Marvel.
Having all Marvel Comics now a part of Star Wars canon, it is far more interesting finding out how all the major pieces of the Star Wars mythos fit together. Following Yoda on an adventure with the Lost Boys from Peter Pan is more of a misstep, one that hopefully won’t be repeated any time soon.