Star Wars: Republic #59
December 2003
"Enemy Lines", 22ppg, $2.99

Script: John Ostrander
Penciller, Cover Artist: Jan Duursema
Inker: Dan Parsons
Colorist, Cover Artist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Sno Cone Studios
Book Design: Dave Nestelle
Assistant Editor: Jeremy Barlow
Editor: Randy Stradley
Publisher: Mike Richardson


CREATURE
Aargonar bantha, sarlacc, gouka dragon

DROID
battle droid, hailfire droid, super battle droid

LOCATION
Aargonar

ORGANIZATION
Clone troopers

VEHICLE
Aargonar shuttle, Republic attack gunship

COMMENTS
According to the inside cover, the events in this issue takes place 16 months after the Battle of Geonosis.

This is the first place, book or comic, that we have seen what is beneath a Tusken's mask. Granted, A'sharad Hett is not a true Tusken Raider, but still it helps explain some fan concerns.

While banthas on Tatooine are woolly in appearance, it seems that the native bantha on Aargonar is leathery with four horns and a pair of tusks.
SYNOPSIS
On the planet Aargonar, Anakin Skywalker, A'sharad Hett and Bhat Jul defend their line against the oncoming Separatist forces. Jedi padawan Jul is killed in an explosion and there's nothing that Anakin can do about it. Skywalker becomes emotional about the loss, but Master Hett keeps his cool and suggests they need to find some shelter from the coming storm.

Anakin cannot believe that Jul's own master, would leave his padawan to die. But, he says, he expects no less from a Tusken. Master Hett reminds Skywalker that he should provide the same respect he affords to other Masters, regardless of his prejudices against the Tuskens. Anakin grudgingly agrees.

Elsewhere, Bultar Swan and Ki-Adi-Mundi debate withdrawing the armies from Aargonar. Ki doesn't think the Republic can absorb another defeat after Jabiim, but regardless, the sandstorm will not allow them to leave anytime soon.

As A'sharad and Anakin work their way towards the cave, Hett compares this inhospitable planet with their own, Tatooine, and likens the two of them as well. Anakin can barely contain his anger and being compared to this filthy Tusken. Hett reminds him that a true Jedi has no prejudices.

Anakin again apologizes, before being attacked by a sarlacc hidden in the cool cave. He is freed when a very large gouka dragon enters the cave and begins consuming the sarlacc. Anakin suggests that A'sharad not ignite his lightsaber. He senses the gouka means them no harm. Master Hett tells Anakin that those types of connections are how Tuskens communicate with their banthas.

They exit the underground cave and discover their base overrun by enemy forces. One of the Aargonarian's mentions the Republic troops held up in Vondar canyon, so Anakin and A'sharad hurry off to rejoin them. While in the canyon Master Mundi readies for the inevitable attack from the Confederacy.

Inside the base hangar, Anakin begins fixing a shuttle, making it able to fly again. He notes it is out of power cells, when A'sharad offers his two lightsabers to use as power sources. Hours upon hours build on the young padawan, as his frustration with fixing the shuttle increases. He begins to have flashbacks to Bhat Jul and his mother dying.

The local militia sneak up on him, and he unleashes his fury; only he sees them as filthy Tuskens. He drives them back, slaughtering them as he did on Tatooine. He goes after the last one, who turns out to be Master Hett. He is able to quell Anakin and reproaches the padawan for his vengeance.

A'sharad allows himself to connect with Anakin by removing his Tusken mask, revealing, not the face of a monster as Skywalker has expected, but a human's face marked by ritual tattoos. He implores Anakin to get the ship fixed, otherwise they will not have a army to rejoin.

The battle starts as Anakin flies the now functioning shuttle back into the gouka dragon tunnels. He has an idea about how to turn the tide of this mission. The engines on the shuttle attract the gouka which he leads out the tunnel, directly into the Confederacy forces. Their shuttle is hit, but Anakin and A'sharad battle through the indigenous forces and droids to win the battle. Ki-Adi-Mundi is pleased to see the Jedi alive, and expresses wonder that Master Hett is without his mask. He has made the decision to be seen as a Jedi before being seen as a Tusken.

Anakin is grateful that Hett did not share his secret anger with Master Mundi. Hett reminds him that it is his secret to share, but if he does not it will eat through him as a gouka eats through the crust of the planet. As he walks away, Master Hett wonders aloud if Anakin would kill the Tuskens again, knowing what he learned to day of honor and fear. Anakin softly replies, "yes."




Trade Paperbacks and Alternate Covers
Star Wars Omnibus: Clone Wars – The Enemy on All Sides #2 Clone Wars Trade Paperback #3