Today saw the release of issue #5 in Marvel Comics’ Star Wars: The Mandalorian season-two adaptation of the smash-hit Disney+ series from Lucasfilm, and below are my thoughts on this installment.
“Chapter 13 – The Jedi” is one of my favorite episodes of The Mandalorian’s stellar second season, and in retrospect it may have been one of the most important episodes of the series so far. Not only did writer/director Dave Filoni bring his beloved character Ahsoka Tano into live-action for the very first time, but this installment also introduced Morgan Elsbeth (who would later turn out to be of Dathomirian Nightsister descent) and the quest to find Grand Admiral Thrawn, both of which paid off tremendously in Star Wars: Ahsoka, which just concluded last week on Disney+. So there’s a lot of weight going into this comic-book adaptation, and as usual I think writer Rodney Barned and artist Georges Jeanty have done a really good job of bringing this familiar material to the sequential-art page. I’ve come to understand that Barnes’s role here is mostly one of pacing and deciding how many panels certain story beats need to take up in translation, but the real heavy lifting comes from Jeanty, who captures the ominous tone of “The Jedi” perfectly along with the moody contributions of colorist Rachelle Rosenberg.
I do think the element that suffers the most in attempting to capture The Mandalorian in this wholly separate medium is the action, and while the creative team does their best to interpret this battle-heavy episode into comic form, there’s just something missing from those moments that may only ever fully land in live-action. That opening scene with Ahsoka skulking around the forest and stealthily eliminating her enemies isn’t quite as effective here, and the final lightsaber-vs.-Beskar-spear showdown between Tano and Elsbeth loses some of its luster as well. But overall I’d say this mostly works, with the highlights being the conversations between Ahsoka and Din Djarin as the not-quite-Jedi meets young Grogu for the first time, and Din and the audience both learn the Child’s real name. I really liked being able to absorb the dialogue more in this context, and the atmosphere set by the art goes a long way in helping to establish the weight of the situation. With only three episodes/issues left in The Mandalorian season two, I’m very curious whether Marvel will jump over to adapting The Book of Boba Fett or simply continue on with this series. Either way, it’s still a treat to revisit this content in this way, and so far it has only served to deepen my love of Star Wars and expand my comprehension of the events of one of my favorite television series.
Star Wars: The Mandalorian #5 is available now wherever comic books are sold.