Review: Star Wars – The Clone Wars — The Smuggler's Code / Author: Justin Aclin / Artist: Eduardo Ferrera / Publisher: Dark Horse / Release Date: July 12th
The Clone Wars series has been a high point of the recent Star Wars output; not only does the setting seem richer and more upbeat (despite the backdrop of galactic civil war), the various spin-off stories have added a level of depth and engagement to the characters of Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker that we simply did not get in the prequel movies.
The Smuggler's Code is a pretty simple story; Obi-Wan encounters a criminal he failed to bring to justice long ago, and along the way he encounters one of the archetypes of the Star Wars universe; a silver-tongued smuggler who is in more trouble than he can handle, but happens to be very good with a blaster. What follows is a very high speed tour of a fantastical tropical paradise, filled with weird monsters and crooked crime lords. Writer Justin Aclin brings in the sort of joy that makes Star Wars stories really work; he skilfully draws together both action and characterisation to create a highly engaging narrative. He is ably assisted by Eduardo Ferrera’s extremely clean and cartoony artwork. The dialogue flows quickly when it’s needed, and stays quiet when it’s time for the artwork to pick up the pace and deliver the action.
Just when you think it’s all been done before, Aclin digs out one or two great ideas that are completely fresh (but that make so much sense when you see them) to keep the story going, and this alone makes the book rather charming. It isn’t very long and it would have been nice to see a bit more of the tropical paradise the story is set in, (after all, who could resist a Star Wars version of Hawaii Five-O?). It’s exactly the sort of fun that you want from a Star Wars book, and should appeal to both fans and casual acquaintances of the franchise.