Star Wars: Age of Republic: Obi-Wan #1 // Review
After purging the entire Expanded Universe from the Star Wars franchise, Disney and Lucasfilm have a lot of space in the canon to fill in. Aside from novels, comic books have become the biggest place for new stories to be published. The most recent, Star Wars: Age of Republic, continues into its back and forth exchange of hero and villain stories. Having already given readers tales of Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul, the timeline slides to the gap between Star Wars Episodes I and II. Entitled Star Wars: Age of Republic: Obi-Wan Kenobi, the reader is given a glimpse into some of the days not covered in the movies.
Written by Jody Houser, pencilers Cory Smith and Wilton Santos join in for this story. Walden Wong works on the inks, Java Tartaglia colors the images, and Travis Lanham letters the pages.
Set in an unspecified time during the early days of Anakin’s Jedi training, things are interrupted when Yoda asks Anakin and Obi-Wan to go on what should be an easy mission. A team of republic archeologists have found what could be a lost archive of Jedi knowledge, and Obi-Wan would rather have left his young protege back at the temple. The Jedi Knight, Anakin, overhears this has to figure out how to patch relations with his Padawan.
Jody Houser has done a wonderful job working on a done-in-one story. The story itself is simple, but it also feels like a lost episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. There are several delightful character moments, which is the key focus of this tale. Action maybe light as a result, but seeing Obi-Wan and Anakin feeling one another out after being pushed together after Qui-Gon’s death is actually wonderful. Anakin himself feels very much like a slightly more matured version of his Episode I self, but with some hints of the darkness that will eventually consume him during the rest of the prequel trilogy.
Many licensed comics can fall apart on the art, often looking like a bundle of traced promotion images with comic art behind them. Luckily, that isn’t the case here. Cory Smith and Wilton Santos have done a great job in exploring what the established characters during this time period would look like. Facial expressions show emotion without looking disturbing or losing the likeness of the character as well. The new species of aliens that show up, coming from the planet Dallenor, look like bird people, and aren’t something Star Wars has used in their movies yet. Inks are also fantastic, and Walden Wong compliments the art by Smith and Wilton very well. In fact, the only real complaint against the art of the comic comes from Java Tartaglia’s colors. While very effective and matching what the reader sees in the movies, the planet Dallenor winds up coming across as a very bland and generic world.
As a stand-alone story, Star Wars: Age of Republic: Obi-Wan is a very solid presentation with some very cool character work that helps fill in the gaps between movies. However, it also doesn’t feel overly necessary as a story, so it winds up being a comic that only major hardcore Star Wars fans should pick up immediately. Everyone else should wait until May, when the collected versions of Age of Republic will be coming out.