Solid if unremarkable, Star Wars: Age of Republic – Obi-Wan Kenobi continues the trend of Marvel’s anthological series.
When I reviewed Charles Soule’s five-part miniseries Obi-Wan & Anakin, I made a point that setting the story in the relatively unexplored period between Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and Episode II – Attack of the Clones was a bold move. That’s the era we return to in Star Wars: Age of Republic – Obi-Wan Kenobi, the third Jody Houser-penned one-shot in Marvel’s newish anthological series.
It brings me no pleasure to report that this third outing is… about as good as the previous two, to be honest. No worse, certainly; Qui-Gon Jinn’s mushroom trip remains the low point, while this installment makes a decent pairing with the slightly better but still underwhelming mushroom trip of Darth Maul. Obi-Wan doesn’t get high, though, so at least the series is coming up with new ideas.
Or is it? The central question of Star Wars: Age of Republic – Obi-Wan Kenobi is what it means for the bearded Jedi Knight to be a good teacher to a young, typically petulant Anakin Skywalker, who is struggling with learning at a faster pace than his fellow Padawans. And this, I suppose, is relatively new territory for the character; while the films have generally seen him be all-knowing and all-competent, this issue hones in on the earliest, most uncertain days of Anakin’s tutelage.
The plot catalyst for these meditations is a Jedi holocron that has turned up in an archaeological dig on a distant planet, and Obi-Wan is despatched to retrieve it before local pirates do the same. After some prodding by Yoda he’s convinced to take Anakin with him, and thus we have their first official mission together. Honestly, it doesn’t feel all that momentous.
The problems can’t be blamed on the creative team. Jody Houser, as always, has a fine grasp of Star Wars characters (especially Yoda, it seems) and I like the art by Cory Smith, Wilton Santos and colourist Java Tartaglia. The issue, once again, is the one-shot format, but as I’m convinced now that it’s always going to be an issue, I’m going to stop complaining about it. In the meantime, hardcore Star Wars fans will probably lap up what this comic has to offer, and perhaps that’s all that really matters.