– Spoiler Review –
Another break between story arcs for the Star Wars series, another entry in the “Journals of Old Ben Kenobi.” Star Wars #20 is the best of the journal entries to date and it ends with a fulfilling sense of finality to Obi-Wan’s tales on Tatooine.
Star Wars #20 picks up shortly after the events in the last journal entry, issue #15. Luke and Owen aren’t on the best of terms since Luke crashed their Skyhopper when he shouldn’t have been flying it and now Owen has essentially banned him from flying it ever again. Jabba has sent Wookiee bounty hunter Black Krrsantan to locate the man who attacked his water ‘procurement’ team, even though its been a year since Obi-Wan saved Luke when he attempted to stop the gangster’s men from stealing people’s water (as seen in issue #7). And the issue doesn’t waste much time, as Krrsantan immediately decides the site of the attack being so close to a settlement, which happens to be the Lars’, must have something to do with the mystery man who saved the young child and beat up Jabba’s men. Torturing Owen to lure out the mystery man, Owen’s screams have the desired effect and Obi-Wan arrives to confront Krrsantan, where does his best to save Owen, not die, and above all else, protect Luke.
Black Krrsantan was first introduced in Darth Vader #1, released over a year and a half ago, and he’s been in and out of the series, as well as the Star Wars series, ever since. He’s been entertaining to see as a counterpoint in Wookiee behavior, as we’ve only ever really had Chewbacca (who he battled in Vader Down) to base Wookiee’s off-of, but he’s not been that important of a character. I’ve always noticed he had a scar on one of his eyes, but I just thought it was neat detail to show his toughness though after #20 we now know it came from a battle with Obi-Wan on the planet of Tatooine. If you were as curious as I was on how Krrsantan, who’s primarily worked with Darth Vader since his introduction in the comics, hasn’t mentioned battling a Jedi on Tatooine, this issue answers that conundrum rather well: it’s a combination of Obi-Wan blinding him with sand/dust and the Wookiee’s pride. Mike Mayhew, who was the artist for the previous journal entry issue, does something really cool to make Krrsantan seem like a viable threat on his presence alone: he draws the Wookiee to be almost King Kong in size compared to Obi-Wan, while giving him a slight ape-ish like look; It’s effective and makes Krrsantan fit better alongside Mayhew’s slightly more ‘realistic’ character art. The consistency in art was a nice touch too and I hope if they ever return to Obi-Wan’s journals, Mayhew comes along for the ride.
Each journal entry has done an excellent job capturing the spirit of Obi-Wan as he adjusts to his new circumstances and as each entry has progressed his character arc, we’ve seen how he’s been able to express his pre-Order 66 attitude and ways to the smaller scale of Tatooine. #20 felt like the Clone Wars era Obi-Wan the most: he rushes into confront Krrsantan, without much of a plan; he takes a beating at the expense of his own health as a way to buy time; and lastly he has to rely on a Skywalker for the assist. Many times throughout The Clone Wars series we saw this part of Obi-Wan, and one episode that immediately stands out to me is “Kidnapped” from S4, where Obi-Wan takes a beating from the Zygerrian slaver to buy Anakin and Ahsoka time to disable explosives planted around the city. Here he takes a beating from Krrsantan in an attempt to buy time for Luke to swing in with the Skyhopper and rescue a dangling Owen that he’s holding aloft through the Force. There’s some of his patented humor present in the issue to boot, as he dryly remarks on how things aren’t going so well or he makes sarcastic comments despite the direness of the situation. Two of the funniest lines include him telling Owen, “Don’t just…float there. Grab something!” and his comment about how Luke shouldn’t try cutting it so close next time.
There was a sort of glee to Obi-Wan during the entire fight with Krrsantan, as he got to have a slice of his glory days for a little while, even if it meant being beaten up. But as the issue closed, Krrsantan fleeing the planet and Owen reunites with his family, Obi-Wan almost seems rather happy with the new normal, settling back in with his bantha friends. Yes, to cure his boredom and still stay isolated, Obi-Wan’s knack for making friends with animals has led him to fall in with a tribe of banthas, where’s he named them all and mediates among them in the dune seas (where, as Kenobi ‘revealed,’ too much time in the double suns of Tatooine can preemptively age someone). The first journal entry had an Obi-Wan who was struggling to come to terms with his new place in the galaxy and now #20 has an Obi-Wan who seems content and happy, rounding off the arc started over a year ago. It’s because of his arc about accepting his new lifestyle wrapping up and that for now Jabba isn’t interested in pursuing the mystery man who attacked his men, leaving the Lars’ essentially out of harm’s way, that Star Wars #20 gives the “Journals of Old Ben Kenobi,” a sense of finality. If they aren’t going to return to Obi-Wan’s journal anymore, I couldn’t think of a better spot to stop, as this is truly a high-point for the journals and it’s all wrapped up in a neat little bow. Don’t get me wrong, I’d certainly like more, but I won’t complain about them ending now.
Here are a few other things:
- Owen still doesn’t want Obi-Wan around, but he seems to appreciate the Jedi’s presence at the very least. Also, having Owen attempt to face off with Krrsantan to help Obi-Wan was not only a nice touch to their relationship, but it built Owen up as a character as well, showing he can he brave when the time comes for it. As Obi-Wan puts it, he kind of has to be since, “Tatooine did not abide cowards. It turned them to ash” (Incidentally, one of my favorite lines from the issue). The issue also ends with Owen also appreciating the talented skills of the other Jedi in his life, Luke, allowing him to fly again (as we always knew he would).
- How about the image of a younger Aunt Beru brandishing a rifle!? I was hoping she’d come to the rescue somehow too, but just seeing her look like a badass was a nice change of pace.
- Another great line, though a little too on the nose even for Jason Aaron I felt, was Obi-Wan considering that despite Tatooine’s harshness, “…new hopes” could arise, which was in reference to Luke.
- I wish Obi-Wan hadn’t busted Krrsantan’s electric melee weapon, as it had a pretty cool design and would’ve been interested to see the Wookiee use through his other appearances to date.
- Next up for Star Wars, on July 20, is “The Last Flight of the Harbinger” arc, which introduces a uniquely designed squad of stormtroopers for our main heroes to fight.
Star Wars #20 has it all, from action, humor, and great character moments, wrapping up (for now) the “Journals of Old Ben Kenobi.”
+ Krrsantan vs Obi-Wan
+ Obi-Wan coming to terms with his new life
+ Owen appreciating the Jedi around him
+ Great place to end Journal entries (if they do)
CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
Old Ben’s Journals: #7 / #15 | Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25)
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25) | Annual: #1
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Black Squadron (#1-3) | Lockdown (#4-6)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)