The Star Wars reboot from Marvel has been growing and growing since it started just this year- from two ongoing titles- Star Wars and Darth Vader; and the Princess Leia miniseries, we have seen those numbers swell. Adding to the lists Kanan: The Last Padiwan, Lando, an upcoming Chewbacca miniseries- the landscape of Marvel’s Star Wars comics is filling up pretty fast. And as of this point, we still haven’t actually seen a Marvel Star Wars film in it’s entirety. I did, however, watch all of the Star Wars: Rebels first season, and the second season premier episode- and I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed those. But with all these books coming out, exploring a lot of the same characters and the same timeline, I wonder how long the Star Wars universe can support it before it has to expand, like it did for the Dark Horse era.
But to delve into this issue of Star Wars, I thought that it was an interesting bit of an “interlude” from the main story arc, telling of stories from “The Diary of Ben Kenobi”- from his years on Tattooine while he was in hiding after the Jedi order had been decimated. It was interesting to see how this story, not unlike how Fox’s Gotham series focuses on Jim Gordon, but still cant help itself from diving back into that old tried-and-true well of stories that involve our hero-to-be. I was hoping that this story would just stay focused on Obi-Wan, because we don’t really get a lot of details regarding his time on Tattooine between Episodes 3 and 4, so I would have liked to see more of the focus stick to Obi-Wan, without the need for the story to take the reader’s attention as such a fleeting thing and wave Luke Skywalker in front of them as if to say “hey, you! Yeah, you! Look at this- its Luke… YES, THAT LUKE! When he was a kid. Isn’t that interesting? Remember how punky and whiny he was when he was a teenager, well now he is all tough and businesslike, ready to take down Jabba’s thugs to get back water- even though like 6 years from now he will moan on and on about how he wants to go to Toshii station for power converts…”
I thought that the way Luke was portrayed in this issue was a bit odd, if you couldn’t tell by my previous rant. He was just a kid (a kid with lots of Jedi power in his blood, but not a shred of training) who was raised by his quaint and very anti-Rebellious spirit Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen. So I am not entirely sure where this wild streak came from to try and face down a group of baddies like this, unless it is just meant as a moment to reassure the reader that this is, in fact, the same Luke Skywalker who comes to be a Jedi, lead the Rebellion and destroy the Emperor. Even though it took him like 15 years and a LOT of struggle and hardship and loss to get there.
The artwork on the issue was solid- I had kind of moved on in my mind when John Cassaday had been announced to be leaving the book, because there had been several moments in his art that really seemed odd and out of place to me, and one of his covers really just seemed to be the LEAST realistic portrayal of these characters I had seen yet (where was Alex Ross- you KNOW that man can put together a staggeringly well-made cover…). Simone Bianchi, is just the fill-in artist I believe, but I think that the art style brought in this issue really fits for the story- not just as a bit of a change-of-pace backstory, but it really felt solid- I liked how Simone drew all the alien thugs, and the way Obi-Wan looked in this issue, really drove home the idea that he was sort of just some drifter, a hermit- slowly closing himself off from the world at large (which is eventually stated rather plainly in the story, as well.)
I would like to see more of these flashback stories, because I really liked the idea of there being so much more depth to a character who was killed off in the first Star Wars movie (no need for spoilers there… it’s an almost 40 year old movie, people!). Plus, it is nice to pump the brakes from the high-octane stuff and get a little further out into the tall grass and just build characters for a while. Comics are a diverse enough medium, that a story like Star Wars can take time with an issue here and there to really flush out a story by giving you more insights into characters in different ways, ways that aren’t always feasible in a 22-minute television show, or a 95-minute movie.
This issue was a fun and engaging read, with a lot of interesting moments and some solid character developments. I would have, like I said before, liked to have seen this story run it’s course without feeling the need to include any other characters. Next up on the “flashback sequences, is Leia going to run into a itty-bitty version of Jar-Jar Binks? Do we really need these flashbacks to have overt connective tissue to the existing stories? I think that I could have enjoyed this story of Obi-Wan, with an ending that flashes back to the “current” timeline and grown up Luke without there being a need for Obi-Wan to basically have written his own version of “and when there was only one set of Bantha tracks in the sand, that, my son- was when I carried you…”
The issue was, even with my misgivings about the storytelling decisions, a good one. The writing is still very solid, and the artwork really struck a chord with me- I hope Simone Bianchi can find a home on a monthly book sometime soon. This series has been a lot of fun to read, and it keeps growing and changing. I hope that these changes stay positive, and that there will be something new and different to find out about more characters (like Han and Leia) once the focus shifts back off of Luke.
If you aren’t reading Star Wars, you really should be. I mean, why not? It is a new Star Wars comic book- and it is all leading up to a new Star Wars movie this winter. So get ready, because Winter Is Coming- and so is The Force Awakens. Awaken your inner Jedi, and make the Kessel run to your local shop and pick up some Star Wars comics. These are the comics you’re looking for. Okay, enough jokey references for now.
May the force be with you, always.