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Star Wars: Age Of Republic – Obi-Wan Kenobi #1

Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi made a promise to his dying master to train Anakin Skywalker, thought to be the Chosen One of legend long prophesied to bring balance between the light and dark sides of the Force. But both Obi-Wan and Anakin are still adjusting to their roles as teacher and student….

Writer: Jody Houser
Penciller: Wilton Santos, Cory Smith
Inker: Walden Wong
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Colorist: Java Tartaglia
Cover artist: Paolo Rivera
Publication date: January 2, 2019
Pages: 23

The training of Anakin Skywalker by Obi-Wan Kenobi was always a fascinating thread to follow through the prequel era. Foisted on the freshly-minted young Jedi Knight following the death of Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan never appeared to be ready to train Anakin. Similarly, Anakin always appeared to take time to warm to Obi-Wan. The loss of Qui-Gon was felt by far more than those immediately surrounding him – even Count Dooku wished for the wise counsel of his former padawan – and arguably the fate of the galaxy would have taken a very different route had Qui-Gon been around to steer Anakin down the path of the Jedi.

Star Wars: Age Of Republic – Obi-Wan Kenobi #1, part of the larger Age of  series, does an admirable job of revealing the moment that Obi-Wan reaches the point of feeling a worthy successor to Qui-Gon in the role of teacher. The Phantom Menace showed his determination to carry out the final wishes of Qui-Gon, but Anakin and Obi-Wan knew that their relationship was created following the death of their mutual master. Writer Jody Houser does a great job of crafting what is on the face of it a simple tale of a mission to the Mid Rim, but layers it with history, flashbacks and quiet moments of contemplation that nail the prequel era feel and deliver a worthy entry into the canon.

You can feel equally for Obi-Wan as you can for Anakin. Anakin was born a slave and then sent to a new world far from home, surrounded by young padawans that he believes he has surpassed already. Obi-Wan feels his young padawan isn’t ready to progress, not heeding his words of encouragement or instruction. A cockpit scene on the way to Dallenor in the Mid Rim illustrates perfectly the disconnect between the two. Obi-Wan trying to coolly explain his feelings, Anakin taking offense where none was intended.

That Anakin solves their issues with the Krypder Riders, a local gang of pirates who try to steal Kenobi’s lightsaber from him, using skills taught to him by Kenobi brings the two closer. Obi-Wan explains that Anakin has been ready for a long time and it was his own insecurities that held him back. As Master Yoda had said back on Coruscant, “If train him you must, young Kenobi, train him well.”

The artwork by pencillers Wilton Santos and Cory Smith and inking by Walden Wong is first class, aided by evocative colouring by Java Tartaglia. While there is no indication of when the story sits in the chronology other than at some point between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, by the age of Anakin I would estimate this to be pretty much plum between the two, about 27 BBY. As opposed to other entries in the series this feels like proper care and attention has been poured over it, the feel of the era bouncing off the page and the voices of the characters very much on point. Houser and the art team have done a first-class job on this issue, and while only being 23 pages long it succeeds in adding depth and dimension to two characters who’s action helped shape the fate of the galaxy.