The Genndy Tartakovsky “Clone Wars” TV microseries (2003-05) delivered bite-size kinetic tales that served as a testing ground for “The Clone Wars” (2008-14). Its comic-book parallel was the “Clone Wars Adventures” digests (2004-07), in which artists – most often the Fillbach Brothers – and colorists mimic Tartakovsky’s work and the microseries’ energy.
These 10 volumes are unambiguously aimed at kids. Each features three or four brisk fables or commentaries, or sometimes just an action sequence. The major heroes and villains of the Clone Wars take turns in the spotlight. Most of these yarns are pointless, many are pleasurable to look at due to the vibrant colors, some are worth a smirk or a smile, and all are forgettable.
Still, I powered through them in a few sittings and picked out the 10 best stories (or at least those with the most talking points):
1. “Old Scores” (Volume 8, written by Chris Avellone) – In the most important piece of EU continuity in “Adventures,” we learn that Aurra Sing received her bounty-hunter training from a Hutt on Nar Shaddaa. But she didn’t pay her tuition bill, because the Hutt is out to kill her.
2. “Bailed Out” (5, Justin Lambros) – The dark comedy clicks as Wat Tambor gives Bail Organa a tour of a Separatist industrial site, under the impression that Bail is interested in selling mining rights on Alderaan. But Bail actually aims to rescue Shaak Ti from the prison.
3. “Salvaged” (9, The Fillbach Brothers) – A clone trooper is unconscious during Order 66, and when he wakes up he saves a cargo-hold full of young Jedi-in-hiding from his fellow clones. It shows us that if not for their programming (as per the TV series) or indoctrination (as per the “Republic Commando” books), clones can determine the right thing to do.
4. “Rogue’s Gallery” (3, Haden Blackman) – Along with “Old Scores,” this is “Adventures’ ” other notable continuity tale, as Dooku’s old guard – Asajj Ventress and Durge – clash with the new guard – General Grievous.
5. “It Takes a Thief” (6, The Fillbach Brothers”) – Saesee Tiin calmly works his way through Separatist entanglements on an evocatively snowy planet while a local petty thief marvels at the Jedi.
6. “Chain of Command” (10, Jason Hall) – Ki-Adi Mundi orders a newly minted Jedi Knight on a delivery mission without telling her the details. When she learns she was a decoy, Ki stresses the importance of following orders, even if you don’t have the full picture. In a final panel, we learn that Dooku didn’t know why he was on the assignment either, and Sidious reminds him of the importance of following orders. It works as a sly microcosm of the war’s shaky moral footing on both sides.
7. “Orders” (4, Ryan Kaufman) – In the grimmest “Adventures” story, a clone regimen rescues an orphan from a war-torn region, similar to the Numa arc from the Ryloth episodes in “The Clone Wars” Season 1. A clone tells the lad about the importance of following orders, and when Order 66 comes down, the clones slaughter their Jedi leaders, leaving the kid utterly traumatized.
8. “A Stranger in Town” (3, The Fillbach Brothers) – Yoda is in fine form as he hauls a mysterious giant box into town, baffling the residents. It turns out to be a massive blaster cannon that he uses to mow down Separatist invaders. It’s a wry commentary on the irony of how “Star Wars” features mysticism and wisdom in the midst of insane volleys of violence.
9. “Spy Girls” (7, Kaufman) – Padme and a handmaiden pull off a successful mission largely because their targets think they are mere diplomats. Similar to the Leia-centered “Lucky Stars” from “Star Wars Tales,” it’s a fun premise that should’ve been exploited more in the wider saga.
10. “What Goes Up …” (5, The Fillbach Brothers) – This Aayla Secura tale is on the list simply because her mission takes her to an Ewok village, something that challenges the notion that Endor is unknown to the wider galaxy until the construction of Death Star II. The continuity is plausible, since the war moves away from the moon by story’s end.