The Age of Republic comic series by Jody Houser wrapped up earlier this year, and each issue was terrific. Each of these issues centered on a different character from the prequel era – both heroes and villains – and the stories they told were really well-done and insightful.
The final issue was focused on General Grievous, and while it didn’t give us a ton of new revelations, it did give us our best look at Grievous as a Kaleesh warrior and peered a bit into his inner motivations – all through a Force vision as he infiltrates a Jedi Temple. It was another strong issue, so let’s take a look at it.
On the planet Ledeve, General Grievous hunts two Jedi through a forest, menacingly pursuing them and killing them both. He takes their lightsabers but also takes a data pad that reveals why they are on the planet: an ancient Jedi Temple housing some Jedi secrets. Grievous makes his way through the Temple traps with Indiana Jones-like ease, disabling and avoiding the traps and defacing the statues of Jedi. He soon comes to a mysterious green waterfall, which he correctly assumes is the place housing the main secrets of the Temple. He sticks his hands in and nothing happens, so he plunges his entire body into the waterfall… only to find himself in a strange Force realm.
Experiencing a Force vision of sorts, Grievous finds himself transformed back into his Kaleesh self, before the “improvements” that meant taking on the armor. He is clearly frightened by this, and he hears a voice mocking him, saying that he has brought destruction upon himself. “I have improved myself!” Grievous responds. “Far stronger than this mere flesh! Found power that makes even the Jedi tremble!” The voice continues mocking him, however, saying that Grievous just seeks to destroy the Jedi’s power because he cannot understand it, which is why he “carved away” his own connection to it for parts he thinks he can understand.
Emerging from the waterfall and the Force vision, Grievous responds by slashing the waterfall with his lightsabers. Then, when outside the Temple, he orders his ship in orbit to destroy the Temple, which they do. As Grievous watches it burn, he says, “For all your talk of power… you burn just as easily.”
I really appreciate this issue giving us a look at Grievous as a Kaleesh warrior minus the armor. This is without a doubt our best look at what Grievous looked like before the armor, but we actually got a look at it in the form of statues in the “Lair of Grievous” episode of The Clone Wars. In that episode, Kit Fisto, Nahdar Vebb, and some clones infiltrate Grievous’s base unknowingly, and they find statues and shrines to this Kaleesh warrior, who they soon discover is Grievous.
So that showed us a glimpse at what Grievous looked like, and the impatient General angrily makes clear to his droid that the armor was improvements and that he didn’t submit to anybody. He simply improved himself – that’s Grievous’s reasoning, at least.
This issue also gets into that discussion, as Grievous once more insists that this armor is an improvement over his Kaleesh warrior self. Grievous infiltrates the Jedi Temple on Ledeve and is plunged into a Force vision type experience. One minor thing to note that I think subtly plays into the whole idea of Grievous’s vision is that when he sticks his robotic arm into this mysterious waterfall, nothing happens. So it’s only once Grievous sticks his head in that he’s plunged into this vision – meaning that his robotic parts have no connection to the Force, but the part of him that is actually still true and living does. Anyway, Grievous is plunged into this Force vision, and he is shocked to find himself transformed back into his pre-armor self. He’s now the Kaleesh warrior he once was, and he’s bewildered by this. A voice says that Grievous has brought destruction upon himself, but Grievous insists, “I have improved myself! Far stronger than this mere flesh! Found power that makes even the Jedi tremble!” So once again, we see Grievous insistent that his armor is an improvement.
But this voice counters that Grievous seeks to destroy the Jedi because he cannot comprehend the Force and has carved away his connection to it. So this voice mocks Grievous because he thinks he understands his armor, so he has embraced that rather than embrace that which he cannot understand. Grievous retaliates against this by destroying the Temple, but not before this vision has messed with his mind. Basically, it gives us a bit of insight into Grievous’s connection to the Force and his motivations against the Jedi. We know that Grievous does not use the Force, but it seems that any bit of Force sensitivity he may have had was done away with when he underwent the ‘improvements.’ And it seems that part of the reason why Grievous seeks to destroy the Jedi is because he cannot understand them. He doesn’t get the Force, he can’t use the Force, so he sticks with what he can understand (his armor) while trying to snuff out that which he can’t (the Jedi and the Force).
All of this leads us to a deeper look into Grievous’s psyche than pretty much anything else that has been established in Star Wars canon. We obviously know of Grievous’s threat and we know of his exploits, but we haven’t gotten much that delves into his motivations and/or his backstory. This issue didn’t give us much in the way of new revelations, but it did give us our best look yet at Grievous pre-armor and gave us a hint at his motivations and psyche through the form of a Force vision.