– Spoiler Review –
The Star Wars series takes a break from its main storyline in issue #7 and offers a breather in the form of a one-off starring Obi-Wan Kenobi during his time on Tatooine. After reading #7, I’d be perfectly content with every arc from the Star Wars series being split by another entry in Old Ben’s Journal.
This issue’s greatest strengths lie in its narrowed focus on a minor event in Obi-Wan’s life as protector of Luke, which allows readers to see how he struggles to switch being a Jedi off, something Legends previously did exceptionally well in the classic novel Kenobi. In #7, Tatooine is suffering a drought (you’d think they always were…) and not even the moisture farmers can keep up with the water demand. To make matters worse, Jabba’s thugs think their needs are greater than everyone else’s and go around stealing the water to hoard up their own personal supply. Trying not to draw attention to himself while every Force-using bone in his body screams he should get involved, #7 spends most of its time showing us how Ben Kenobi struggles with letting these thugs get away with their despicable thefts…and how a certain situation, which to him is a blessing in disguise, forces his hand.
Obi-Wan mentions his old Master, Qui-Gon Jinn, a few times throughout the issue, asking without receiving an answer on why Qui-Gon hadn’t prepared him to, “…fade away,” (which is probably my favorite line from #7). It’s a fair thing to wonder, but giving out the answer would weaken Obi-Wan and his mission in the long run due to him never actually learning how to do it himself. These few lines from Obi-Wan talking aloud to an absent Force ghost of Qui-Gon makes me wonder if he’s been able to communicate with him at all yet. This is an undisclosed amount of time into Obi-Wan’s exile on Tatooine, but judging from Luke’s age I’d guess it’s been no more than ten years since Revenge of the Sith. I would believe by at least that time Obi-Wan would’ve mastered the art of talking to his dearly departed master, so I was left a little puzzled as to why it felt like they hadn’t spoken to each other just yet.
What I found most interesting from what #7 captured of Obi-Wan’s demeanor is how he seems somewhat depressed at this point in his Tatooine duties. As I said, it’s been at least ten years, so without any communication, seemingly unable to do anything to keep himself as busy as his previous action-packed lifestyle, and forced not to help those in need so often anymore, it’s not hard to imagine even the best of the Jedi would slip down the Hutt-backside sized slope of depression. But what gives him hope again (dare I say, a new hope…) and brings him back from the edge is not him rescuing the locals from the oppression of Jabba’s men for awhile, but instead the brave antics of a young Luke Skywalker. Obi-Wan quickly learns how much of Luke’s father is truly in the young boy and must rush out to save him from Jabba’s thugs; which he does in impeccably cool fashion from the shadows using the Force. Similar moments in Kenobi, where Obi-Wan found ways to act out and use the Force while hiding it from everyone around him, were among my favorite and I was more than happy to see such a scene play out here.
Here are a few other things:
- I wasn’t a big fan of the art from Simone Bianchi, mostly due to the faces, but otherwise another solid issue in the art department. Colors from Justin Ponsor did a good job getting the oppressive heat across, as well as retaining Tatooine’s uninspiring but classic tint.
- When Star Wars returns in issue #8, Stuart Immonen will be taking over for John Cassaday as series regular artist.
- I had been meaning to reread Kenobi soon, but after this it seems like the perfect time to do so. And if you haven’t read it yet, don’t write it off just because it’s Legends. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a really-well done book, no matter if it’s Legends, canon, or even sci-fi novels in general.
- Putting the credits in Aurebesh was a stroke of genius!
- The end showed Luke chilling in his X-Wing reading the journal while R2 piloted (people who text and drive should have that) and the quick scene got me thinking: if Luke wasn’t reading aloud, would R2 have been pissed that he couldn’t hear it? I think the answer would be yes as I imagine R2 probably just wants to know if Obi-Wan will mention him at all despite snubbing any knowledge of the droid at their first meeting in 20 years.
- There’s an idea for a new article brewing in regards to the journal of Old Ben…more details soon.
- Jordan D. White, Marvel’s Star Wars editor, says Obi-Wan’s journals won’t happen in-between every arc…but as much as possible (which should be between every one, am I right?).
As much as myself and I’m sure many other readers wanted to learn more about Han’s wife, this Obi-Wan themed special issue more than makes up for it.
+ Small focus
+ Inside look at Obi-Wan’s psyche
+ Young Luke being a new hope
STAR WARS CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
Old Ben’s Journal: #15 / #20 | 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)
Poe Dameron (on-going)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)
One-Shots: C-3PO #1