In yesterday’s Chewbacca review, I did my best to sum up the recent transition of the Star Wars comic book rights from Dark Horse to Marvel:
Star Wars fans were nervous when Marvel/Disney took over Star Wars comics from Dark Horse. For years, DH had told some amazing stories in the Star Wars universe through the medium of comics. It was unclear whether Marvel would live up to Dark Horse’s standards, or if it would just publish tie-in garbage. While I am only a casual Star Wars fan, I am a true comic book nerd. I am happy to report that Marvel is doing great with Star Wars. They aren’t just telling fun Star Wars stories; they’re telling good stories using Star Wars a backdrop for exploring some interesting themes. Lando was a caper about friendship and loyalty. Chewbacca was about quiet heroism.
Obi-Wan and Anakin is a surprisingly somber meditation on war and the burdens we pass on to future generations. As much as I loved the courtroom drama of She-Hulk and the politics of Letter 44, attorney/comic book writer Charles Soule does some of his best work to date in this series. He masterfully weaves together our knowledge of the doomed relationship of Obi-Wan and Anakin, a suspenseful original story, and an examination of the curses and blessings we pass along. Who better to use as avatars than Ben and Anakin?
On the surface level, this story takes place sometime between Episodes 1 and 3 of the Star Wars movies. I think it’s between 1 and 2. The dynamic duo are called upon by the Jedi to investigate a distress beacon on an isolated planet. They discover a planetary civil war between two groups of humans. It’s unclear why the factions are fighting, but it is clear that enmity is strong. As Obi-Wan is prone to do, he finds himself stuck in the middle of a mess. He and Anakin struggle to make the best of what seems to be a hopeless situation. Interspersed between the action are flashbacks of younger Anakin’s training.
Checchetto’s illustrations and the colorist’s color choices serve the story well. While I generally favor cleaner art in comics, Checchetto’s intricate style fits the nuance of the book. The muted colors remind me of Band of Brothers, or Saving Private Ryan.