– Spoiler Review –
The Obi-Wan & Anakin miniseries got off to a promising start in its first issue by introducing us to an intriguing Mad Max-like planet, Anakin having doubts about becoming a Jedi, and Palpatine asking to meet with the young Padawan. Issue #2 not only builds off those promises, but it takes them in even more exciting directions than I previously imagined, especially with Palpatine taking Anakin under his wing.
The mystery on Carnelion IV only gets deeper, despite us learning a little more about what in the blazes is going on. In #1, the two women who the Jedi rescued, Mother Pran and Kolara, asked a simple but oddly important question, “Are you opened or closed?” Since they seemingly don’t know who or what Jedi are, Pran takes Obi-Wan’s answer as hostility, but after Obi-Wan takes out another airship and Anakin rescues a survivor, the open or close questionnaire finally begins making sense. Open and Closed are the factions of Carnelion IV, where each side believes the other is responsible for the destruction of their civilization and the green mist which chokes the planet’s surface, but it’s been so long since the war that neither side has anyone left who actually experienced/remembers what happened. Pran and Kolara, who are Open, reluctantly get along with Grecker, whom they call the worst of the Closed, after the Jedi leave them weaponless but agree to help them back to safety. Once the Jedi reveal they were brought to the planet by a distress beacon, which Kolara believes it’s technologically impossible to get messages off-planet, Pran and Grecker suddenly and mysteriously drop their deep seeded hatred to band together to assist the Jedi. Could the elders in the Open and Closed factions know more than they are letting on? What’s the reasoning behind the Open and Closed names? And what/who the heck are those aliens menacingly eyeing up the hodgepodge airship Anakin helped rig together? At first I was excited about a Mad Max-like planet, but it has suddenly got way more intriguing than I had hoped for.
Charles Soule (Lando) showed a deftness for Obi-Wan and Anakin’s relationship, especially the dilemma Anakin’s doubts present for the two, in the first issue and it only gets stronger here. Obi-Wan admits they aggressively discuss things but most of the issue we see them working as a well-tuned pair, with Obi-Wan offering patience and advice to his headstrong Padawan and Anakin, despite wanting to leave, still finding awe in his Master’s abilities. Issue #2 doesn’t focus on Anakin’s decision to leave and how it affects the two Jedi, due to all the Open and Closed insanity going on, and instead looks at some of Obi-Wan’s lessons to Anakin: Most importantly, he’s trying to impart his strict moral adherence to the Jedi Code by having them tame and send away mindless beasts instead of kill them (on Carnelion IV, something they call corpse-leeches. Yuck) and not getting involved in the mindless bickering of the Open and Closed. Obi-Wan’s lessons portend the Jedi’s future, as staying out of the Open and Closed fight would’ve been a good idea for Jedi to stick to when it came to the Republic’s fight with the Separatists i.e. the Clone Wars, while the Jedi found themselves in many sticky situations having to sometimes kill mostly mindless beasts because they got in the way of the war they shouldn’t have taken part of in the first place. On the flip side, Anakin still isn’t clear on why exactly he wants to leave the Jedi Order, but the answer for that might just lie with his very first meeting (and lesson) with Palpatine.
I know issue #1 teased we might see Palpatine’s first steps in taking an active role in Anakin’s teachings, but wow, issue #2 took it faster and further down that road than I ever expected. Watching Obi-Wan drop Anakin off with Palpatine was heartbreaking in a sense because it was like watching Obi-Wan handing Anakin off to the Devil. This is the moment, where Palpatine begins to sink his claws into Anakin and their fates intertwine in ways they could never imagine, and it’s a masterfully handled moment in both writing and art. Palpatine’s comment, before he takes Anakin from Obi-Wan, proves why he’s such a devilish Sith Lord (and elicited a r-rated “oh crap!” response from me): Obi-Wan makes a off-handed remark that Anakin has much to learn still and after Palpatine disregards Obi-Wan’s request to accompany him, he throws that remark back, “As you said, Master Kenobi…He still has much to learn.” The panel frames Anakin and Palpatine, with the latter looking excitedly up at his new friend and the former doing everything he can to suppress a grin, and the foreshadowing chills the whole scene to the bone.
But #2 doesn’t stop with that chilling line, instead it shows the beginning of Palpatine’s ‘errand’ he takes Anakin on: a trip into the Coruscant underworld (level 2685) to visit Club Kasakar, where Palpatine promises they’ll try to do some good by bringing light to the darkness of the underworld levels. It’s nearly as loaded of a scene as when Obi-Wan drops Anakin off and I’m eagerly anticipating to see just what Palpatine trying to do “good” actually is and what he hopes to show Anakin by doing so. I didn’t think this series would do anything more than show Anakin and Palpatine having discussions in his office, much like what we saw in the films, so this whole development is surprising in all the best ways possible. It’s intriguing to consider whatever Palpatine shows Anakin here might be what has convinced him to want to leave the Jedi Order, but that means whatever happens in present on Carnelion IV will likely be Obi-Wan winning him back from Palpatine’s influences…for now.
Here are a few other things:
- Marco Checchetto’s hazy Carnelion IV comes to the gritty and dark underworld of Coruscant, melding his two settings in a fascinating bit of symmetry, but it’s his incognito Palpatine that steals the issue: Wearing a hooded robe, Palpatine is essentially in Darth Sidious mode openly with Anakin already. Speaking of hoods, Obi-Wan’s status as a Master and natural skills as a negotiator not only come to light in his actions and words, but from Checchetto’s decision to shroud Obi-Wan’s face in darkness under the hood. It’s done in moments when he’s teaching lessons to Anakin and the people they stumbled upon, drawn in such a way as to show his dispassionate but all-seeing nature. Also, Andres Mossa’s colors really popped in the Coruscant underworld, adding a little more variety than the hazy green of Carnelion IV.
- Soule’s work on Lando made that miniseries better than anyone expected it had any right to be and already this miniseries is looking to be just as strong, if not more so. He’s quickly becoming my favorite Star Wars comic writer (though Kieron Gillen’s work on Darth Vader is just as masterful, if not more so) and now I’m getting even more excited for the Poe Dameron on-going he’ll be apart of in April.
- Anakin’s work on calming/mastering mindless beasts was shown here, a skill we know he eventually perfects before having to use it in the Geonosis arena in Attack of the Clones.
- In a bit of “headcanon,” this comic got me thinking about Obi-Wan (of course) and I now like to believe, at one point during the hyperspace journey between Tatooine and Alderaan in A New Hope, Obi-Wan was alone with R2-D2 and asked the droid to play holos of Anakin and him.
If Obi-Wan & Anakin can keep the momentum gained from issue #2 going forward, this miniseries should be full of memorable, and surprising, moments for the two titular Jedi.
+ Obi-Wan handing Anakin off to the devil
+ The mystery of the planet isn’t as open and closed as they’d like the Jedi to think (Not sorry about the pun)
+ More great Obi-Wan and Anakin relationship moments
CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
Obi-Wan & Anakin
#1 | #3 | #4 | #5 | Full Series (#1-5) Review by Chris
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Black Squadron (#1-3) | Lockdown (#4-6) | The Gathering Storm (#7-10)
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (Arc Review by Chris) (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25) | Annual: #1
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25) | Yoda’s Secret War (#26-30)
Annual: #1 | #2
Han Solo (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)