When I first found out that Marvel would be taking over Star Wars comics in the wake of the Lucasfilm purchase, I rejoiced. I’ve always thought that though rendered non-canon, the Star Wars comics that Marvel did in the 1970s were immensely fascinating. Sure, there were some bizarre story arcs -a very strange micronauts crossover comes to mind- but they were always entertaining. The Dark Horse books were generally pretty decent, but they lacked the resources of Marvel, namely, the power to get the very best writers artists and colorists in order to tell the Star Wars stories that the world needs to hear. Before you read on, know that any cinefile, sci-fi lover, or member of society worth their salt has seen the Star Wars movies. If you have not, no judgement. Go watch them, and come back. Nobody has to know.
Obi-Wan and Anakin is a short 5 issue miniseries that chronicles one mission undertaken by the famous master apprentice duo, to a planet they’ve never encountered before. Neither has anyone in the universe. To the best of my knowledge, it has been invented for the sake of his story. Soule, and his artist counterpart Marco Checchetto use this opportunity to incorporate a bit of a steampunk vibe into an otherwise dominantly sci-fi universe. This change of direction is welcome, and it provides some interesting clashes between the Jedi lightsabers, and the guns of the natives, which seem to fire bullets. (Awesome Right!). The complete bafflement of the planet’s natives reminds Star Wars fans of their amazement when they saw lightsabers and the force for the first time.
This is a remarkably contained story, and the only major characters that are featured in any other medium are Obi-Wan and Anakin; but at the same time, the story’s many layers add lots to the tragedy of Skywalker’s fall. We see deeper into Obi-Wan’s motivation – his insecurity, and fear of leading Anakin the wrong way – as well as Anikin’s anger, at the buracracy of the republic, and the powerlessness of the Jedi council because of the government’s hampering of their work. Chancellor Palpatine shares a couple of scenes with the young padawan, in which he begins to plant the seeds of doubt that eventually blossom into a Dark Lord of the Sith we all know and fear.
Most of all, Obi-Wan and Anakin is plain old fun, sheerly entertaining because of its promising premise. It presents a glimpse into a more civilized time; a time when good prevailed, the Jedi dominated, and the Dark Side was scarcely a thought in the galaxy’s mind. Though tragic, because of Skywalker’s downfall, this graphic novel brings comic readers a bombastic, explosive experience about a master and apprentice.