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Star Wars: Age of the Republic – Heroes Review

New stories focusing on Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan, Padme, Yoda, and even Jar Jar Binks.

When it was announced Marvel Comics would be producing Star Wars comics taking place in the prequel era of the movies a lot of folks got extra excited. For some, that era is very bad, but for many, they grew up with these films and love them. Plus, who doesn’t want to see more stories with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan in their prime? These stories let you step back into the lives of some of the most cherished characters and they’re all largely written by Jody Houser with art by Cory Smith and Wilton Santos.

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

This is the Age of Star Wars – an epic series of adventures that unite your favorite characters from all three trilogies! Join the greatest heroes of the waning days of the Old Republic. Witness the never-before-seen moments that define them, the incredible battles that shaped them – and their eternal conflict between light and darkness! Considered one of the greatest Jedi Knights – or the one who led them to their doom – maverick Qui-Gon Jinn is known to bend the rules, and it’s gotten him into plenty of trouble with the Council. Now, in the face of a mission gone awry, he’s forced to confront his confl icting beliefs. Plus, Anakin Skywalker! Obi-Wan Kenobi! Padme Amidala! And Master Yoda!

Why does this matter?

Featuring character focused stories for Anakin, Obi-Wan, Padme, Yoda, and even Jar Jar Binks. What prequel lover isn’t sold?

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Sometimes it’s just nice to read a story about a character you love and that’s easy to do thanks to Jody Houser’s ability to write these characters. From Qui-Gon to Anakin, Houser proves she understands these characters and can write natural sounding dialogue. Essentially each chapter is a character study of the characters giving readers a glimpse into who they are. Obi-Wan’s story helps convey how much doubt he had as a Jedi Master while Qui-Gon’s gets to the root of how inquisitive he was. It’s a nice look at who these characters were and how they were the main characters of their own story we just haven’t seen yet.

Each story comes with a follow-up mini-essay about the character connecting what you’ve read to the bigger picture of who the character was in the movies. It’s a nice way to add weight to the story you just read and help flesh out their importance.

It can’t be perfect, can it?

It’s easy to forget Obi-Wan trained Anakin for a long time.
Credit: Marvel Comics

A running issue with Marvel’s one-shot Star Wars stories is how they tend to add very little. They’re like hanging out with a friend, but you’re playing the same level of Super Mario every time. The Padme story collected here is particularly pointless. Padme ends up doing very little in her story. Sure she’s heroic and all, but the mission she’s on doesn’t matter to the larger story. The actual events in this issue are severely limited too. There’s a lot of standing around, sitting, and assessing. I don’t want to spoil the story, but the events in the issue take place over an hour not counting however long it took them to sit and talk as they arrive at their destination.

There’s certainly interesting character writing being done, but there’s isn’t a single big moment that you can hang the character work on. Some of the stories, like Obi-Wan’s for instance, tells a tale you could easily skip. It’s neat to read about some lost story we’ve never been told, but it’s a story that feels pointless to the character and the larger mythos. It’s a problem running through much of this collection.

Action!
Credit: Marvel Comics

Is it good?

If you can get over the fact that much of this collection contains somewhat pointless stories, but stories about characters you love you should enjoy it. Jody Houser clearly has a handle on these characters and the dialogue is on point, but it’s hard to shake the fact that nothing of note really happens that makes this a must-read for casual and hardcore fans alike.

Star Wars: Age of the Republic - Heroes
Is it good?
If you can get over the fact that much of this collection contains somewhat pointless stories, but stories about characters you love you should enjoy it.
Good character writing. Their voices are accurate
Art keeps things lively when it needs to be
Mini-essays give some context on each character
Nothing of note really happens making these more like check-in stories rather than important ones
6
Average
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