The heroic Jedi Knights lead the clone armies of the Republic against the endless droid legions of the rebellious Separatists.
The powerful young Jedi prodigy, Anakin Skywalker, may be the Republic’s best hope to end the conflict.
But as the fires of war engulf more and more of the galaxy with each passing day, Anakin faces challenges his training never prepared him for….
Written by:Jody Houser
Art by: Wilton Santos, Cory Smith
Cover by: Paolo Rivera
Page Count: 25 Pages
Release Date: February 6 2019
Following on from the previous Age of Republic entries which focused on Qui-Gon Jinn, Darth Maul. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jango Fett, Age of Republic: Anakin is a largely superfluous entry into the current canon that adds little, giving scant depth and detail to events by way of placement in the chronology or location and offering a perfunctory adventure story that feels tonally out of place. In short, it’s a disappointment.
Focusing on Anakin Skywalker, now beyond the teachings of Obi-Wan and a great Jedi Knight in his own right, we watch as he is given a difficult mission by Admiral Yularen. He is tasked with not only destroying a droid foundry, but also the indigenous people inside. It’s a moral quandary – the needs of the Republic outweigh the lives of these workers – and one the young Jedi struggles with. In classic Anakin style he seeks to find another way – as any hero with a conscience would – but the pathway to his solution is disappointingly chronicled, giving us an issue that teaches us nothing new about these multifaceted characters.
Writer Jody Houser had an opportunity here to give us something new, in the 20th anniversary year of The Phantom Menace. A throwback to previous characters perhaps, or a revelatory moment as Anakin searches his feelings for a solution. Instead, that solution is sparked by anger at finding slaves, something that by this point Anakin would encounter on a regular basis. That his anger at such treachery by the Separatists is eminently understandable, but the manner in which it is portrayed is too obvious.
The art by Cory Smith and Wilton Santos is passable, the colouring by Java Tartagli largely saving the proceedings. The layouts are fine, but the whole issue feels like it was rushed to completion and as such only adds to the by-the-numbers feel of the issue. The cover by Paulo Rivera is striking, promising everything the inner pages fail to deliver.
All in all a disappointing entry in an as yet average series of standalone issues. Step back a few years to the Dark Horse era and the Vector crossover series to see how this kind of series should be done. Intelligent writing with illuminating stories that weren’t afraid to push the envelope and engaging artwork was the norm back then. Right now, with canon seemingly too much of a burden to cope with, Marvel and the story group are struggling to provide anything of consequence, and unless things begin to turn around soon brand loyalty will be the only thing to keep readers coming back every Wednesday.