Today I’m marking the one-year anniversary of the Biweekly Book Review and…well…safe to say I didn’t think this would last a year.
This is partially because of my inability in the Before Times to consistently stick to writing a blog. I would post once, maybe twice, then abandon the whole thing. But then maybe that’s the key isn’t it? That was before I was stuck at home, looking for something to replace my now-vanished social life.
So the Biweekly Book Review was born. I’ve said before that my initial plan was to just start the book review with Star Wars, and then eventually move on to other stuff, only revisiting the GFFA when there was a new release. I actually remember planning to move on to the Series of Unfortunate Events books once I was done.
I also remember that the reviews started out very backwards looking, since most were rereads. But going from one to the other, in chronological order, and back to back without a large break in between, patterns and common threads started to emerge. Characters that I dismissed as a one-off were suddenly reemerging all over the place. Names, places, etc.
Well, it’s officially been 365 days and I have yet to run out of material, and the connections only keep…um…connecting. I mean, we even got an entire publishing initiative since I started! I think it’s safe to say this project will continue for a while yet.
Because I wanted to do something special for the anniversary, I took a poll on Twitter asking what I should do for today. “Comic books” came out on top, so comics it is.
My initial thought had been to take a look at trade paperbacks for my three favourite characters: Rey, Ben Solo and Obi-Wan Kenobi. But because Rey doesn’t have a comic all her own…*saves bitterness for another day*…I decided to just focus on Obi-Wan. He was my first love and his show starts filming later this month, so I thought it might be fun to look at two of his comics and speculate on how the angst (because there’s always angst) might feed into the series!
With that, lets dive into Obi-Wan & Anakin by Charles Soule and From The Journals of Obi-Wan Kenobi by Jason Aaron.
The thing about Obi-Wan Kenobi is that unless you’re telling a pre-Phantom Menace story, it’s going to be tinged in some way with tragedy. Because the man just has such a sad life. Even if you tell a pre-TPM story, a la Master & Apprentice, the emotional core of it is the relationship between him and Qui-Gon, and neither of them feeling like they are the student or teacher that the other one deserves.
Basically, I like to cry, I guess. It’s part and parcel of being an Obi-Wan fan.
I think the two comics (comic series? I don’t talk about comic books usually, can you tell?) make a nice pairing, because the first, Obi-Wan & Anakin is about his life prior to Attack of the Clones, and then the Journals are about life post-Revenge of the Sith.
So, let’s take them one at a time, and look at the plot, my impressions, and whether or not I think it’ll tie in to the Obi-Wan Kenobi series at all!
Obi-Wan & Anakin
This is a five-issue run that tells the story of our two titular characters on a mission sometime during Anakin’s apprenticeship prior to Attack of the Clones. But unlike any of the other mission they’ve presumably gone on together, this one has an air of finality. Anakin has expressed to Obi-Wan a desire to leave the Jedi order and see what else the galaxy holds for him. After all, he was brought in to train without a ton of say in the matter. Obi-Wan accepts this, knowing that if Anakin does decide to go, he’ll have to leave the order as well. But he doesn’t tell Anakin this. We don’t actually find out until the end. Why he also has to leave is not entirely clear to me. It’s not like Yoda left the order once Dooku did. Is it because Obi-Wan still wants to teach Anakin? Unclear.
Anyway! I actually really liked this comic for everything but the adventure they were on. I understand why it was intstrumental in Anakin’s decision to stay, but I was far more interested in the Jedi temple dynamics, and in the scenes of Anakin and Palpatine, where we see the ways the Chancellor is already starting to interfere in the boy’s life and groom him to be his new apprentice.
Do I think we’ll get anything like this in the series though, specifically with regards to the flashbacks? Obviously not from this era, their ages are all wrong, and I for one have no desire to see 39-year-old Hayden Christiansen play a 14 year old. BUT I do wonder if we’ll get some kind of Clone Wars-era flashback where they deal with a similar conflict, duty to the order/galaxy vs. duty to their partnership? Also I know Palpatine is important, particularly at this point in the story, but no more. I don’t want to see him anymore. Society and fandom has surpassed the need for Palpatine.
Lots of good potential in this comic though, overall.
But not as much potential as…
From The Journals of Obi-Wan Kenobi
This one wasn’t conceived as a standalone series. Rather, the book is a composite of several issues from the 2015 run of main Star Wars comics, wherein Luke finds a journal that Obi-Wan kept during his years on Tatooine. The first couple of issues are about a drought on Tatooine when Luke was rather young, the middle of the book is a very strange adventure involving Yoda, a tribe of Force-sensitive children and some glowing blue rocks, and the last issue is an account of Obi-Wan as told by the Tuskens.
So putting aside that bizarre adventure in the middle, lets focus on the beginning and end. The issues concerning the drought are nominally about that, but are more about the tension between Obi-Wan and Owen Lars, as the latter is worried the old Jedi will turn Luke’s head and get him killed the way he did Anakin.
Though Owen does get less antagonistic by the end of the arc, it’s clear Obi-Wan will still have to be content to watch from a distance. All totally fine, except we now know that both Owen and Beru will be appearing in the upcoming series, so I wonder if there will be any references to the specific incident both men find themselves in in this arc? I’m deeply opposed to anything from written canon getting a direct onscreen adaptation, since it’s all part of the same overall tapestry, but maybe something similar will unfold? Or maybe it’s just a cameo, who knows.
But my second, and perhaps larger, point of interest is the final comic in the book, an account of Obi-Wan Kenobi from the perspective of the Tuskens. We see in one of the earlier stories, that shortly after his arrival on Tatooine, when he’s protecting the Lars homestead, he is attacking and killing any Tuskens that get too close. But by this last story, he finds a young, lost Tusken who is being given a hard time by the settlers and sees them safely home.
Know what that is? That’s growth.
I’m all for the Tuskens being more than the howling savages they seem to be in early content. We’ve already started down that line with The Mandalorian and here’s hoping we’ll really go there with Obi-Wan Kenobi, especially if we’re spending so much time on Tatooine (please no off world road trips, thanks)
On that note, I think that about sums up my anniversary post. I know I don’t talk about comic books much (or ever), so thank you for humouring me.
If you’ve been here since the early days, or if you’ve just found me now, thank you for reading. You have no idea how much it means!
We’ll be kicking off year 2 with another Shakespeare Star Wars adaptation, then Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good after that, so a lot to look forward to!
Until then, MTFBWY.