The Star Wars on-going, fresh off the completion of Marvel’s first crossover event Vader Down, takes a break from the main narrative and returns to a story “From the Journals of Old Ben Kenobi,” last visited in issue #7. Star Wars #15’s entry from Kenobi’s journal is an extension from the story in #7, but it also explains in thorough and interesting detail just why Uncle Owen has such a big chip on his shoulder when it comes to their benevolent protector Obi-Wan. Everything, from the story to the art, combine to make a great continuation of Ben’s journals, while a surprise character sets up for an exciting return, whenever the next Journal entry comes.
In the previous Kenobi Journal issue, we got a brief look at a roughly 10 year old Luke, who is stupidly brave in his attempt to stand up to Jabba’s thugs stealing water during Tatooine’s latest drought (which again, I’m surprised they aren’t always in a drought). In issue #15’s entry, a year has passed and Luke is continuing his “like father, like son” stage, recklessly flying the T-16 Skyhopper through Beggar’s Canyon while Biggs, friends, and Obi-Wan watch on. Of course things don’t go smoothly and Uncle Owen is, needlessly to say, outraged, grounding Luke to never fly while he’s still alive (foreshadowing much?!). Luke pleads to his Uncle to let him race, as he thinks he’s good enough to win and get them the money for the parts to fix the broken T-16, but Owen outright refuses. Just imagine how different things would’ve been had Shmi Skywalker told Anakin and Qui-Gon that her son wasn’t allowed to race his podracer to get his new friends the parts they needed! Owen even adds to the comparisons to Anakin later, remarking that if Luke learns to fly, he’ll leave Tatooine and never come back, much like how Anakin left to become a Jedi in The Phantom Menace. Obviously he came back (we all know how that went for a bunch of Tuskens) but it’s interesting to consider if Luke had gone off to the Academy at some point, his Aunt and Uncle never being killed, would he ever had any reasons to come back? Or, as Owen fears, would he had died before he could ever think of doing so? In a way, and I find it hard to believe I’m saying this, but Owen trying to keep Luke from the Academy, flying, Obi-Wan, and other troubles actually might’ve been the right thing to do, as it probably saved his life…until destiny/the Force called him away anyways. All in all, showing how Luke’s life juxtaposed with Anakin’s was certainly a good idea on Jason Aaron’s part.
Obi-Wan decides to help the T-16 situation by trading protection services to the Jawas for the parts Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru can’t buy. While #7 found an Obi-Wan struggling with his mission, he’s now back to his more cheery self, enjoying the workout he gets beating up Tuskens, joking about his limited palate, and his big grin filled with sarcasm when he greats Owen as the grumpy uncle visits later (I could hear Ewan McGregor and James Arnold Taylor’s Obi-Wan’s in some of the dialogue). But Obi-Wan’s demeanor changes once Uncle Owen comes over to give back the parts, laying out all his endless anger at the recluse Jedi. If you’ve been wondering since seeing A New Hope for the first time why Uncle Owen has such a dislike for Obi-Wan, then you’re wait for the answer is finally over. In the issues’ strongest scenes, Owen reveals just how much he really knows about what happened between Obi-Wan and Anakin, blaming Obi-Wan for Anakin’s death (which it’s still unclear if Obi-Wan knows Vader lives), and he feels if Luke follows Obi-Wan things will go just as badly, saying, “Haven’t you murdered enough Skywalkers already, Kenobi?” It’s a chilling line and gives Obi-Wan (and gave me) great pause, as while it’s a simplistic way of putting it, it kind of hits the nail right on the head. Owen, as I mentioned before, simply wants to keep Luke out of harm’s way and Obi-Wan enabling his daredevil antics with the T-16 parts is just too much for Mr. Lars, and understandably so. In an interesting way, Owen’s words help Obi-Wan realize that actively interfering in Luke’s life is a bad idea probably and he should just wait until the Force puts them together on a crash course. In the end, Obi-Wan still vows to keep the trouble that follows him away from Luke, which he plans on fulfilling by doing the thing he does best: surviving.
While Obi-Wan might’ve survived such enemies as Count Dooku, General Grievous, and Darth Maul, he’s never quite faced one like whom Jabba hires at the end of the issue. Jabba’s still pissed about the unknown attacker who beat up and robbed his thugs over a year ago and he decides to hire a bounty hunter to track the man down: Black Krrsantan! Introduced in Darth Vader #1, Krrsantan has been a pal to Vader and Aphra’s schemes ever since, including getting into a Wookiee brawl with Chewbacca in the Vader Down event. Obviously he’ll survive his encounter with Obi-Wan, but considering he doesn’t seem to mention to anyone he faced a Jedi on Tatooine between the time of when they fight and his intro in DV #1, how does Obi-Wan defeat Krrsantan without revealing what he truly is? The answer to that question has me eagerly anticipating the next Star Wars issue taking place in Kenobi’s Journals.
Here are a few other things:
- Mike Mayhew takes over for art duties in Star Wars #15 and man oh man did I really like his work. Several panels, like the establishing shots of Obi-Wan’s hut or Jabba’s Palace feel ripped straight from a screencap of the films, and while his faces for characters seemed off, they’re very emotive and detailed; what the dialogue doesn’t convey, the art certainly picks up the slack. Leinil Yu will be replacing Stuart Immomen for series artist for the next arc, which picks up the Dr. Aphra captured storyline.
- Again, it’s unclear if Obi-Wan is actually in contact with Qui-Gon or if he’s just talking out loud in hopes Qui-Gon’s listening, which makes me wonder what medium they’ll use to eventually tell that story…Not even the amazing Kenobi novel got to answer that question. Will it ever be answered?
- I liked how Obi-Wan used the Force to hold his lightsaber just around the edge of the door, in case of trouble. I never thought of a Jedi doing that with any weapon, but now I’d love to see it used in the films or something, like Rey could be standing in a doorway with her arms up, holding her lightsaber or a blaster just out of sight with the Force and calling it to her when the time was right.
- If you want more Obi-Wan in your comics, don’t forget about the new Obi-Wan & Anakin miniseries!
Uncle Owen’s rather sound reasoning for disliking Obi-Wan is finally revealed in a fun but heady trip down memory lane from Ben Kenobi’s Journals in Star Wars #15.
+ Owen lets it all out
+ Like father, like son
+ Obi-Wan being cheery again
CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
Old Ben’s Journal: #7 / #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)
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)