Since purchasing the rights to the beloved Star Wars franchise in 2012, Disney has seemingly avoided telling stories within the prequel era. With the exception of a few comics and the upcoming release of the long-awaited final season of the The Clone Wars, Disney has focused their efforts around the original trilogy and their own sequel trilogy eras, leaving the days of clone troopers and the Jedi order behind. Age of Republic marks the first real Disney-led endeavor within the prequel era and the results have been mixed, at best. The special series continues this week with Star Wars: Age of Republic: Obi-Wan Kenobi #1, a release that breaks the stale narrative mold of previous Age of Republic stories with a heartfelt look at Obi-Wan’s early days as a Jedi Master but still ends up feeling pointless and ultimately forgetful.
Obi-Wan Kenobi #1 takes place in an unspecified time after The Phantom Menace and before Attack of the Clones when Anakin and Obi-Wan are still very early on in their teacher-pupil relationship. While this is not the first time Disney has examined this period in comic form (see: Obi-Wan and Anakin #1-5), this issue does show the very first mission in that Anakin accompanies Obi-Wan on.
This early glimpse at the fledgling relationship shows a brand new side of Obi-Wan Star Wars fans have never seen before- self consciousness. Obi-Wan has always been a man who was completely sure of his abilities, both as an astute teacher and incredible warrior. Yet this issue adds unexpected depth to the character as readers are exposed to a younger Obi-Wan who isn’t entirely sure he is ready to become a mentor. These moments of self reflection make for the most heartfelt and insightful moments of this book, maybe even of the entire series thus far.
This book also breaks the repetitive mold of the first two Age of Republic books, making it feel like a fresh, original story. While this doesn’t necessarily make the book incredible, it at the very least breaks the mold of “mission, lesson learning, hallucination, and more lesson learning” set forth by the first two issues. However, it is sad that this is what this series (or whatever you want to call it) has come to, that a book that doesn’t follow the same narrative pathways of previous issues is considered “fresh.”
While this issue certainly provides new insight into Obi-Wan, it’s not enough to create a lasting impression. It may be harsh, but this book, and this series as a whole, feels utterly pointless. The stories are neither fantastic nor terrible, they simply exist, with little to make them worthwhile experiences. This Obi-Wan story reads lightning quick and never truly grabs the reader’s attention. While the new insight into Obi-Wan’s early days as a Jedi Master is a bright spot of the series, it is not nearly enough to make this book memorable or even above average.
At this point, Age of Republic has done nothing to justify its existence and Obi-Wan Kenobi #1 does nothing to help the case. It does give previously unseen insight into Obi-Wan’s psyche, however, it still fails to leave a lasting impression on readers.