Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Enemy Within
Written by Jeremy Barlow
Art by Brian Koschak
Colors by Mae Hao and Marlon Ilagan
Cover Art by Brian Koschak
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: February 29, 2012
Cover Price: $7.99
Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Enemy Within is a one-shot adventure set during the proceedings of The Clone Wars in the Star Wars universe, published under the Dark Horse Books format. With a mildly enjoyable storyline that focuses in on some new characters, this Star Wars comic is one some fans will be partial to, especially the younger readers among them.
The Enemy Within follows the story of a newly formed platoon of Clone Troopers, rashly rushed together by Republic Commander Griebs Kishpaugh. Lead by Clone Sergeant Banks, new to “boots-on-the-ground” combat, the group deploy to the planet Oznek in an attempt to undermine secret Separatist campaigns there.
As they arrive, their transport ship comes under crippling fire from battle droids near their drop zone area, causing their LAAT/i transport to crash. Behind enemy lines, the Clone Troopers press on with their mission, though it soon becomes clear that not all is what it seems to be, including the potential motivations for this Republic incursion.
Although there are no major characters from the Star Wars universe in the story, the tale does have its merits with the introduction of some new ones, creating a unique one-off story from the events of The Clone Wars. With that said, the script by Jeremy Barlow in this book is often overindulged with expanded text that is clearly aimed at younger readers. While some of the hardcore Star Wars fans won’t mind this, others will, so it should be made clear that kids and younger teens will be the ones that most benefit from the enjoyment of the story.
The two foremost Clone Troopers in the story, Banks and Ghost, make for interesting reading; though not a lot of connection is made to the underpinnings associated with Karen Traviss‘ Mando’a culture push in the Republic Commando series, nor is there much link made to the loyalist significance of the troopers highlighted in The Clone Wars television series. They stand on their own in many ways, though this is not necessarily a detriment to the book.
The art present in The Enemy Within is heavily influenced by Manga styles and layouts, with specific direction and attention made to fine line. Brian Koschak follows a unique style, neither following the replication or resemblances of any of the television series; but rather attempts to create a unique stylization that marks the book as somewhat separate from other Clone Wars media. This works well on some pages, but not so well on others: where the general focus on fine detailed line approach sacrifices emphasis on depth, perspective, and character expression. The montage/collage layouts are appealing; though overall I fear some fans will not find the artwork to their taste simply due to how it differs from previous Star Wars comic publications.
The coloring on the other hand, by Mae Hao and Marlon Ilagan, is quite the contrast. The pages are full of the lively greens and earth colors of the forestry regions of the planet, with heavy emphasis on the use of a wide range of saturations and tones within specific hues. In some ways the colors help carry the art in this publication.
All things considered, The Enemy Within will appeal to two types of Star Wars fans. Firstly, the overly obsessed continuity fans like me who wish to know every little detail of the Expanded Universe. And secondly, kids! I think children will get a great deal of entertaining reading time out of this specific book, and the heavy emphasis on text will assist reading skill development as well. Aside from the kids, however, I think casual readers might want to overlook this one, and allow the fans to focus on this Clone Wars comic.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5