obi-wan1The onslaught of new Marvel Comics titles set in the world of Star Wars will now flow unabated, thanks to the grotesque, obscene box office success of the new Star Wars move, The Force Awakens (as of this writing, the movie has grossed over one trillion dollars and been officially inducted into the official liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church)(also, the planet Jupiter has been renamed “Poe Dameron”). And the latest of these is called Obi-Wan & Anakin and features, as that title might suggest, a young Obi-Wan Kenobi and his even-younger padawan apprentice Anakin Skywalker.

Star Wars fans have been given quite a lot of this curiously uninteresting duo. They were featured of course in the three big-budget travesties George Lucas made of his own original trilogy of movies, and they also starred in two excellent Clone Wars TV series. This new comic is set long before most obi-wan2of their adventures; Obi-Wan is a Jedi Master, a serenely powerful, grounded figure, and Anakin is a boy who appears to be on the doorstep of puberty (his height changes from panel to panel in this first issue, so it’s tough to tell), and they’re on a mission to the forbidding, ruined world of Carnelion IV in response to a strange distress call that seems to have come from a Jedi of some kind.

Young Anakin, already chaffing under the constraints of the Jedi Order, looks at the ruins on Carnelion and sharply wonders aloud to his master why the Jedi and the Senate had allowed the people of this world to destroy themselves, and Obi-Wan hands him the party line:

The Jedi Order is under the jurisdiction of the Senate. The same was true when this planet was destroyed. And even if we weren’t, there are only ten thousand of us to keep the light of peace alive in the galaxy. The Jedi can guide. We can teach. We can help people help themselves. But we are not an army. If a people are truly determined to write themselves out of existence, there is little we can do.

obi-wan3Naturally, the two immediately encounter adventures on Carnelion IV, and going into it, I was certain it would disappoint me, that it would feel derivative, and most of all that it would steadfastly avoid the mess of the whole subject of the master-padawan relationship in the Star Wars universe – what it is, why it so often goes so badly wrong (half the padawans mentioned in the movies turn evil and do so while their allegedly Force-sensitive masters sail blithely on, caught totally unawares)(and even this first issue features the ridiculous Lucas character Chancellor Palpatine, the Most Evil Person in the Universe who’s nonetheless somehow able to rub shoulders with dozens of Jedi Masters all day long without any of them suspecting a thing, when in every single such scene, a non-Jedi bus driver could easily see that this guy was curdled milk). And while that relationship gets no real attention in this first issue, boy oh boy it didn’t disappoint me! The writing by Charles Soule and the artwork by Marco Checchetto (with lovely coloring by Andres Mossa) combined to make a terrific first issue, my favorite of all Marvel’s new Star Wars comics so far.

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