Written by: Charles Soule
Art by: Marco Checchetto
Published by: Marvel
So far, Marvel’s Star Wars comics have done a fantastic job filling a hole I didn’t realize I had in my life. They’ve been taking great strides to rebuilding the EU while still making it accessible to fans. So far, Obi-Wan and Anakin has done the particularly difficult task of showing the potential available in the prequel trilogy, by crafting a story that does everything right that the prequels did wrong.
The story follows Obi-Wan and an Anakin much younger than we see in Attack of the Clones (thankfully not Jake Lloyd levels) as they intercept a distress call on a distance planet. Unfortunately, a war is going on, and the combatants have never heard of the Jedi order, leading the two to get entangled in the war’s affairs. Meanwhile, Anakin begins his training with Senator Palpatine on Courascant. As I said, there’s a lot this series does to right the wrongs of the prequel; the relationship between Anakin and his master is a lot closer to how you’d imagine, rather than the constant bickering in the movies. Anakin is still learning, being only 12, and clearly depends on his master for instruction and guidance, yet he also demonstrates a lot of the anger that will eventually lead him to the dark side. It’s an infusion of character the movies definitely missed and the comic benefits tenfold because of it.
The comic shifts the flashback sections from last issue to the back this time, allowing the present storyline to develop further and is much more enjoyable as a result. It also offers the potential for some fun action scenes, with Obi-Wan Kenobi displaying both his wise guidance, as well as his mastery of the force. It’s very enjoyable and much easier to get into given the characters are actually likeable. The overall conflict and the war storyline do seem a bit predictable however, yet it’s made up for by the interesting character work and parallels that it draws from such.
What really struck me while reading was Checchetto’s artwork, his style definitely captures the look of the prequel films (something that often doesn’t get credit because of the heavy use of CGI). He litters the background with tons of creatures from both ends of the franchise, which give me a fun nostalgic kick and a seal of authenticity. What was most impressive however, is his inclusion of other environments that the prequels were devoid of. When Palpatine takes Anakin to the lower level slums of Couroscant, it lacks the clean plastic sheen of the upper world, it’s gritty, grimey and looks very much like something from the later films, yet fits naturally into the time period set here. It offers some nice variety and shows that the prequel world is one definitely lived in. It removes some of the hollow feeling from them and shows a different side to the world. The Palpatine and Anakin scenes also continue to be my favourite, and the highlight of the comic for me. It’s incredibly interesting to me to see Palpatine well written in his slimey plotting, and shows how deep his hands were in events leading up to Revenge of the Sith.
Overall, Obi-Wan and Anakin proves there’s life in the franchise outside of the original trilogy. It does a lot to course correct the prequel franchise, and I hope the level of quality here encourages Marvel to do more comics set in this time frame. As someone who had to grow up with the prequels, I’d much rather see their potential fixed rather than just ignored in favour of another generation’s nostalgia.