The Age of Republic comic line is coming to a close soon, with issues coming next month on Padme Amidala and General Grievous before the series shifts to Age of Rebellion. I have genuinely enjoyed all of the Age of Republic comics so far, as they’ve told very fun stories with terrific artwork while delving into areas and aspects of Star Wars that are interesting and thought-provoking.
The most recent issue, a one-shot about Count Dooku, was set in-between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones and showed him in many ways confronting his Jedi past.
The issue takes place on Sullust, where Count Dooku arrives to conduct business on behalf of his home world of Serenno, but with an underlying motive: to conduct business for his master. Dooku meets up with a representative but is soon spotted by a Togorian Jedi named Jak’zin, who approaches “Master Dooku” and remembers him from the Count’s days with the Jedi. Jak’zin admits that Dooku probably doesn’t remember him, since he was just a youngling at the Temple before Dooku left the Jedi Order, but remembers Dooku’s dueling demonstrations with Yoda, saying, “Your skill with a lightsaber was simply inspirational.”
Dooku invites Jak’zin to dinner, assuring the Sullustian representative that having a Jedi there can only help things. Later, Dooku speaks with Darth Sidious via hologram about the Jedi, and Sidious tasks his apprentice with gaining the Jedi’s trust, learning why he is there, and ensuring he doesn’t learn about their own purposes. At dinner, Jak’zin mentions that rumors suggest Dooku is “forming a new order of Force users,” but Dooku assures him that he is just looking after his family’s business on Serenno.
After dinner, Dooku and Jak’zin talk about the Jedi’s mission, and Dooku reminisces about his former apprentice, Qui-Gon Jinn. Dooku mentions that he wondered whether Qui-Gon would have still been alive had he not left the order, and uses that guilt to convince Jak’zin to allow him to accompany him – as Dooku doesn’t want to leave another Jedi to face his mission alone. Jak’zin finally reveals his mission to Dooku – to investigate a crime syndicate – and Dooku quietly realizes that it’s the same reason he is there. So the two of them set off to investigate – and before long Dooku actually saves Jak’zin’s life by pushing him out of the way with the Force, avoiding a coming blaster bolt. Jak’zin uses his lightsaber to break in, but the two soon find themselves surrounded… until Dooku ignites his previously concealed red lightsaber. This surprises Jak’zin, and after the two lightsaber wielders wipe out the criminals, Dooku Force pushes the Jedi into the line of fire. With Jak’zin dead, Dooku completes his mission and reaches a business agreement with the crime syndicate, as sowing these seeds across the galaxy will make it easier once the Sith’s time to rise comes.
I found this an interesting story, and I definitely appreciated getting a look at Dooku in-between TPM and AOTC. We get to see a glimpse of why he’s such a valuable resource for Darth Sidious during this phase of the Sith Lord’s plan, as Dooku is able to travel and conduct business under the guise of Serenno business. I am sure this also gives him considerable sway in dealing with worlds, which comes in handy when he eventually forms a Separatist alliance.
So I definitely found all of that interesting, but the most interesting part of the issue for me was seeing glimpses into Dooku’s Jedi past, as in many ways this issue had Dooku confronting that past:
- This is only the second time we have gotten to see Dooku as a Jedi; the other came in the sixth season of The Clone Wars when Yoda has a vision of what it would have been like had things gone differently, where he sees Dooku talking with Qui-Gon about the time Yoda faced a terentatek on Kashyyyk. So anything regarding Dooku’s time with the Jedi has been very rare, which is why it’s cool to see briefly in this issue as well.
- For the first time, we got a chance to see Dooku’s Jedi lightsaber. It’s blue (something we didn’t know before), and it also sports his signature curved hilt (which we also didn’t know before). That of course begs the question of whether Dooku simply likes the curved hilt design and thus made both of his lightsabers that way, or more probably, he simply bled the crystal he already had. We don’t know either way for sure, but regardless this is the first time we’ve gotten to see what Dooku’s Jedi lightsaber was like.
- Jak’zin tells Dooku that as a youngling he remembered watching Dooku’s sparring sessions with Yoda, as apparently Yoda and Dooku would engage in dueling demonstrations for the younglings as they demonstrated the art of lightsaber fighting – something that, according to Jak’zin, Dooku was incredibly skilled at. That is shown even in the films, as Dooku has an easy and graceful fighting style that shows off his prowess with a lightsaber.
- This also shows that Dooku can’t help but be recognized by some people still, so he’s always at risk of running into Jedi he previously knew – or, more accurately, who previously knew him – which means that at any moment his past could confront him. He can’t just get away from it that easily.
- We also learn that the rumors are that Dooku was forming his own order of Force users. Dooku insists that’s not true, but I like how we get a brief look at how there are plenty of rumors that get started in the galaxy far, far away too. Some people apparently were saying that Dooku had left the Jedi Order to begin his own order. That leaves me to wonder about the circumstances of Dooku leaving the Jedi, whether his reasons were widespread or not, and whether he ever portrayed it as walking away from the Force at all or not. One of the best-kept secrets in Star Wars has long been regarding any details of Dooku’s departure from the Jedi, so we really know nothing about it other than that it happened. I’d love to find out more some day!
- Dooku also has to confront his past via the death of Qui-Gon Jinn. Dooku tells Jak’zin that he can’t help but wonder whether he – Jinn’s master – could have prevented the death of his former apprentice by not leaving the Order. It’s important to note that Dooku’s intentions in saying this appear to be to earn Jak’zin’s trust, but I also think there’s probably a real level of genuine, heartfelt truth in those sentiments. Dooku’s words in this issue make clear the assumption we get elsewhere: that he and his apprentice were close and were good friends. This is evidenced in AOTC too, in Dooku’s words to Obi-Wan. Just because Dooku turned to the dark side doesn’t mean he stopped caring for Qui-Gon, so I do wonder whether Dooku truly does wrestle with the knowledge that had he stayed with the Order, Qui-Gon might not have been killed.
Dooku’s Jedi past is something that really interests me, probably particularly because we’ve gotten so very little information about it. So while this issue was during Dooku’s time as Sidious’s apprentice, a major theme was him confronting his Jedi past. Because of that, I found the story even more interesting than it already was.