One of the most frustrating things about the Star Wars prequels was how Obi-Wan and Anakin would reference amazing adventures that we never get to see (even if you did watch the Clone Wars animated series). It was like Lucas wanted us to imagine these adventures rather than give them to us.
Enter Marvel’s new series, Obi Wan & Anakin, which intends to fill in some of those missing blanks with two of the most renowned Jedi Knights in the Star Wars mythos. Is it good?
Obi-Wan & Anakin #1 (Marvel Comics)
This series takes place in between Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Episode II: Attack of the Clones; Obi-Wan has recently become a Jedi Knight after killing Darth Maul and Anakin’s still very young and learning how to use a lightsaber. The two are on their way to a planet not under Republic rule.
Why does this book matter?
Even if you hated the prequels you have to admit that the star-power and premise of this title are enough to make it worth your while. The idea of a Jedi master and his young Padawan going on adventures is an exciting one, especially when it comes to these two. Hell, we may even get an explanation for why they’d send a Jedi and his Padawan on missions when there are 10,000 other trained Jedi to choose from. Plus, there’s the warm, fuzzy feeling of knowing this is in canon.
This planet is screwed!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with the beginnings of a heroic mission as Obi-Wan and Anakin are checking out a distress signal on a non-Republic planet. It has been left for dead without aid; a war-torn planet that’s difficult to even access due to satellite debris floating around it. It’s clear these political aspects will be a big part of the larger story.
There are two elements in this story that’ll be fun to keep an eye on as the series progresses. The first is a political aspect Obi-Wan discusses with Anakin about how Jedi follow the orders of the Senate. They can’t go around the galaxy helping everyone unless the Senate agrees they should do so. By Obi-Wan saying this to a young Anakin he’s basically instilling in his mind the idea that maybe the system is broken. It goes a long way in adding some depth to Anakin’s decision to leave the Jedi for the Sith.
The second is a flashback that shows a Anakin training. He’s clearly enamored by Obi-Wan’s battle with Darth Maul and shows off his lightsaber skills against a robot with Maul’s fighting style and double-sided lightsaber. At the same time Palpatine begins to form a relationship with him and we all know how that ends. Writer Charles Soule is establishing a tug of war of sorts for Anakin between light and dark and it’s interesting to see it start so young. If we were to go off the films we’ve really only got the Palpatine talk during the bubble show in Episode 3 to truly see manipulation at play.
Artist Marco Checchetto does a solid job with the issue and it all starts with Anakin. He looks his age which is a very important thing to nail down especially since kids are hard to draw. The locations are minimal—an ice planet and a training area on Coruscant, but both work well to establish the mood. There’s also a steampunk aspect to the technology on the foreign ice planet which should be interesting to check out as the series progresses.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Lightsaber battles are also minimal, as this issue is taking its time to establish the larger and smaller underpinnings of what is going on. Soule is taking his time with the actual mission Obi-Wan and Anakin are on, which is fine, but there isn’t a lot of meat to the proceedings otherwise. If the series continues at this pace it’s clear this is going to be much better read in the collected format.
Interesting…I wonder if Obi-Wan was thinking about his words here when Darth Vader strikes him down.
Is It Good?
This series promises to deliver answers to three important elements the prequels barely touched upon but were incredibly important to the Star Wars series as a whole.