Tag Archives: Obi-Wan Kenobi

Review: “Star Wars: The Last Of His Breed” by Jason Aaron & Simone Bianchi

Title: The Last Of His Breed: From The Journals Of Old Ben Kenobi
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Simone Bianchi
Series: Star Wars #7 (Official Canon)
Rating: *****
Publisher/Copyright: Marvel Comics, 2015

Back to the Marvel ongoings! This is a one-off flashback story featuring Obi-Wan Kenobi as he tries to adjust to his “Old Ben” persona about eleven years before the events of A New Hope. It’s issue #7 of Marvel’s current Star Wars ongoing, and will be collected in Star Wars Vol. II: Showdown On The Smuggler’s Moon.

It’s been seven years since the rise of the Empire, seven years since the death of the Jedi and the Republic. Formerly one of the greatest Jedi of his generation, now Obi-Wan Kenobi lives a life of obscurity on the desert planet of Tatooine. Where once he protected the innocent of the galaxy, now “Old Ben” forces himself to look the other way lest he draw the Empire’s notice as Jabba’s thugs extort water from the locals. All that matters is protecting the boy, Luke Skywalker, on whose unknowing shoulders rest the fate of the galaxy. But there are limits to the patience of even the greatest of Jedi….

This was a good one. The story was solid, and it’s always interesting to see Obi-Wan’s state of mind during his exile. Was this done better in John Jackson Miller’s Kenobi? Yes. That goes without saying, if only because he had more than twenty-four pages to tell his story. At any rate, Kenobi isn’t canon anymore, so we’ll not dwell on it. Simone Bianchi’s art here was stellar, I must say, and his Kenobi managed to blend Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness superbly. I would very much like to see more of these one-off excerpts from Obi-Wan’s journal appear in future issues of the comic.

CONTENT: Mild profanity. Mild violence. No sexual content.

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Review: “Star Wars–Jedi Council: Acts Of War” by Randy Stradley & Davide Fabbri

Title: Jedi Council: Acts Of War
Writer: Randy Stradley
Artist: Davide Fabbri
Series: Star Wars: Jedi Council #1-4 (Legends Canon)
Rating: ****
Publisher/Copyright: Dark Horse Comics, 2001

Shifting gears a bit, this time out we’re visiting a setting a little closer to the events of the films. The Dark Horse Comics miniseries Jedi Council: Acts Of War takes place only a year before the events of Star Wars–Episode I: The Phantom Menace (that’s 33 BBY, if you’re keeping track). This story was published as a standalone collection, and reprinted in Star Wars Omnibus: Rise Of The Sith.

Before the galaxy was engulfed in the Clone Wars, transforming the Jedi into generals, they served to keep peace across the galaxy-spanning Republic. One such threat comes in the form of the Yinchorri, a warlike species newly accepted into galactic society. When the Yinchorri begin trying to carve out a small empire for themselves among the stars, Jedi Master Mace Windu dispatched a pair of Jedi to manage the crisis. Their mutilated bodies were soon delivered to the office of Chancellor Valorum. Now the Council must mount a full-scale expedition to end this threat to peace in the galaxy, as well as seeking to uncover just who is pulling the strings of the Yinchorri….

This was a well-executed story. It can be somewhat difficult to keep an appropriate degree of tension in stories featuring characters you know will survive based on later appearances (Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Mace, Adi, etc.), but the large cast keeps this from being an issue. Each of the characters here is well developed, and some of the new characters introduced in this miniseries would go on to become fan favorites across the franchise. The art is also of high quality, serving the story well. Is the story essential? Not particularly. It’s the first appearance of K’kruhk, though, and Randy Stradley enjoys returning to the character of Micah Giett on occasion in the pages of Tales. Plus, it’s always fun watching Palpatine’s labyrinthine plots to pave the way for his eventual rise….

CONTENT: Moderate violence, occasionally a bit gruesome. No profanity. No sexual content.

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Review: “Star Wars: War On The Jundland Wastes” by Mike W. Barr & Bob Molesworth

Title: War On The Jundland Wastes
Writer: Mike W. Barr
Artist: Bob Molesworth
Series: Star Wars (Legends Canon)
Rating: ****
Publisher/Copyright: Titan Magazines, 2014

I had no idea comics were so regionally restricted. Apparently the only way for our cousins over in Britain to get their hands on the various Dark Horse releases of yesteryear was a reprint magazine published by Titan Magazines, creatively titled Star Wars Comic UK. When The Clone Wars started airing, they switched over to printing short original works along with kid-friendly bonus material and activities. When the show was canceled, they tried to keep the magazine going by alternating Clone Wars content with stuff from the original trilogy. Since these comics were packaged alongside such juvenile content, they were very easy to overlook. So, after an extensive scouring of the internet, here’s the first of those original trilogy stories! This tale was originally published in Star Wars Comic UK #7.1, then reprinted in the US in Star Wars Comic #1. What’s that you say? You want to read this too? Good luck. It’s never been collected, so only exists in the magazine versions listed above. The only advice I can offer? Google is your friend.

War On The Jundland Wastes is set during Luke and Ben’s trip to Mos Eisley, smack dab in the middle of A New Hope’s first act. While en route, our heroes encounter an unusual battle between the local Tusken Raiders and Jawas, tribes that usually leave each other in peace. What could cause such unusual behavior? And can Ben set matters aright?

On the whole, this was a fun little story. It doesn’t really add anything to the larger mythos other than showing us more of the off-screen interaction between Ben and Luke, helping to form Luke’s scant knowledge of the Jedi Order moving forward, but that’s enough in itself to justify its existence. The art was decent, stylized without being annoying, and certainly worked well enough for the story being told. If you can track down this gem, I would recommend doing so.

CONTENT: Mild violence, with nobody even injured to my recollection. Maybe a Tusken or Jawa lying injured in the margins of the panel depicting their battle, but if so I missed it. No profanity, no sexual content.

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Review: “Star Wars–The Clone Wars: The Wind Raiders Of Taloraan” by John Ostrander & The Fillbach Brothers

Title: The Wind Raiders Of Taloraan
Writer: John Ostrander
Artists: The Fillbach Brothers
Series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Officially Legends, but tied to the TV series)
Rating: ****
Publisher/Copyright: Dark Horse Comics, 2009

And so continues my foray into the Expanded Universe material related to The Clone Wars! This time, the third digest-size novella The Wind Raiders Of Taloraan….

After accidentally derailing a delicate diplomatic meeting with the Bothans, Ahsoka is assigned to accompany Obi-Wan and Anakin to observe negotiations with the Denfrandi, rulers of the planet Taloraan. The Republic needs Taloraan’s Tibanna gas supplies for the war effort, but with the Defrandi already secretly in league with the Separatists and the primitive Wind Raiders simply hostile to anyone and everyone, this mission may be simply impossible for our heroes!

As with the previous entries, the story here is pretty decent. Its a little formulaic, with Ahsoka messing up and then learning her lesson by the end, but this is primarily aimed at the younger set, so we can’t complain  too much. Plus, John Ostrander is always a pleasure. I’d have liked to see his longtime collaborator Jan Duursema come along for the ride though, and give us a break from the stylized art of the Fillbach Brothers. It’s not bad, I suppose, I’m just not really a fan. Again, if you like the show, you’ll like this. If you’re not familiar, it won’t do as much for you.

CONTENT: No profanity. Mild violence. No sexual content.

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Review: “Star Wars–The Clone Wars: Shipyards Of Doom” by Henry Gilroy & The Fillbach Brothers

Title: Shipyards Of Doom
Writer: Henry Gilroy
Artists: The Fillbach Brothers
Series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Officially Legends, but tied to the TV series)
Rating: ****
Publisher/Copyright: Dark Horse, 2008

So, I’ve been going back and looking at a lot of the early Clone Wars stuff in an attempt to work out the proper sequence of certain events. As such, here’s the first in Dark Horse’s line of digest-size Clone Wars comics!

It’s the early days of the Clone Wars, and the Separatist Navy is producing ships at a rate that far outpaces the production abilities of the Republic. If the Republic can’t slow Separatist production, the war is going to end quickly…and not in their favor. In an attempt to even the playing field, Obi-Wan, Anakin and his new padawan Ahsoka Tano take a strike team of clone troopers to the Banking Clan’s automated shipyards as a scouting force for the incoming Republic bombing raid. Unfortunately, the automated shipyards are less automated than advertised, forcing the Jedi to find a way to evacuate the slave workforce before the bombers arrive.

On the whole, this was a fun little side adventure. The writing is solid, as you would expect from one of the writers for the television show this ties into. The art is more stylized, lower on detail than I would usually prefer, but it works well enough. The ties to the show are solid, and this easily slides into the niche between the Clone Wars film and the next onscreen appearance by these characters as Anakin deals with the fact that he almost got his padawan killed on her first mission, overprotecting her and making her feel like he doesn’t trust her in battle. Ahsoka is a bit whiny, fitting in with her character at this point in the show, but somehow that was less annoying this time through. Maybe I’ve softened towards her due to her later awesomeness? Who knows. There are slight continuity issues, given that they recycled certain elements of this story for the episode The Citadel, infiltrating the planet frozen in carbonite like they do here. Wouldn’t be a problem, except Anakin comments about never having done it before, thus conflicting this comic. Anyway, if you liked the show, you’ll enjoy this. If you’re not familiar with the show, it won’t do as much for you.

CONTENT: Mild to no profanity. Mild violence, usually against battle droids or occurring between panels. No sexual content.

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Review: ” Star Wars: Dark Disciple” by Christie Golden

Title: Dark Disciple
Author: Christie Golden (Novel); Katie Lucas, Matt Michnovetz, & Dave Filoni (Original scripts)
Series: Star Wars (Official Canon, The Clone Wars)
Rating: *****
Publisher/Copyright: Del Rey, 2015

New Star Wars! Dark Disciple is based on a collection of scripts from the canceled Clone Wars animated series on Cartoon Network which serve to tie up the story arc featuring Asajj Ventress, Count Dooku’s former apprentice.

The galaxy-wide Clone Wars have raged for almost three years, but an end is nowhere in sight. Every Republic victory is matched by a corresponding setback, almost as if both sides were being played by a single entity bent on preserving the stalemate. The Separatist forces led by Count Dooku grow only more ruthless as the war drags on, committing atrocities that haunt the Jedi with their inability to prevent innocent bloodshed until even the Jedi council is ready to consider the unthinkable: assassination. This dangerous mission will forge strange alliances, forcing unorthodox Jedi Master Quinlan Vos to ally with Dooku’s former apprentice Asajj Ventress, a deadly assassin holding a grudge against Dooku for betraying her and slaughtering her entire people. Together, Vos and Ventress could just be powerful enough to take out Dooku…if they don’t kill each other first.

I have to say, I really enjoyed this one. Towards the end of the animated series Ventress was becoming one of the standout characters, gaining some real depth as she dealt with the consequences of Dooku’s betrayal and her private war for revenge. Add Quinlan Vos, one of my favorite characters from the Legends version of the Clone Wars, into the mix and you’ve got a winning proposition. If you followed the animated series, you owe it to yourself to check this out. If you’re a newcomer, you’ll probably be fine as well, though most of the references to past events will likely be lost on you. If you’re a veteran of the pre-Cartoon Network Clone Wars though…you’ll have to come at this with a clean slate. A lot of this, especially Vos’s storyline, is territory we’ve seen before, albeit through the looking glass. I’ll refrain from saying more in the interest of spoilers, but those who were reading Star Wars: Republic in the run-up to Revenge Of The Sith should know what I mean.

CONTENT: Some disturbing violence and torture. Mild profanity. Mild flirting/sexual innuendo, but nothing explicit.

This is a longer version of a review I did for the Manhattan Book Review. You can find that here.

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Review: “Star Wars: Heir To The Jedi” by Kevin Hearne

Title: Heir To The Jedi
Author: Kevin Hearne
Series: Star Wars (Rebooted canon, though it would fit equally well with the Legends stuff)
Rating: *****
Publisher/Copyright: Del Rey, 2015

Who’s up for more adventures in that Galaxy Far, Far Away? I know I always am! Heir To The Jedi has the honor of being the first novel in the newly rebooted canon to feature one of the “main three” characters from the films, as Tarkin was focused on that stellar baddie and A New Dawn was busy setting up the Star Wars: Rebels television series. The funny thing is, this still fits perfectly well with the older canon, which isn’t surprising since it was ordered before the cut. In fact, it was originally supposed to close out the Empire And Rebellion so-called trilogy, now a duology with the omission of this volume. The series isn’t really hurt by this though–the stories bore no relation to each other, and were a trilogy only by virtue of theme: first-person narratives, each focusing on one of the “big three” characters. As far as I’m concerned, this can “count” for both universes, both the official one overseen by the Lucasfilm Story Group and the more tumultuous “Legends” canon that came before.

The Death Star has been destroyed, but the Empire lives on. Though they’ve bloodied the Empire’s nose, the Rebel Alliance finds itself in an extremely tenuous situation, on the run and strapped for cash. The Empire has them outnumbered and outgunned in nearly every way, leaving the Alliance desperate for any advantage they can muster. So when word comes that a brilliant cryptographer under Imperial “protection” would like to defect, they have little room to refuse. Luke hasn’t had much time to train with the Force–in fact, without Ben around to train him, he has absolutely no idea what he’s doing–but he’s still one of the best pilots in the Rebellion. Alongside Nakari Kelen, newly-recruited Rebel and a crack shot with her slugthrower, Luke is dispatched to an alien world to stage a rescue under the very nose of the Empire….

There are a lot of terms I could use to describe this particular adventure, but I think the best one to pick would be “fun.” Remember the sense of unadulterated adventure you felt watching the original films for the first time? That’s what you get with this book, minus the whining Luke does through most of the first movie. That callow youth who yearned for something, anything to take him away from the sun-scorched sands of Tatooine is gone, sobered by the loss of friends both new and old. In his place stands an awkward young man just beginning to understand his place in the galaxy, conscious of his connection to the mystical Force but unsure how to proceed with learning to tap into it. No longer the boy he was, not yet the man he will become, this is Luke Skywalker at a crossroads, and anything can happen next….Or, you know, not. Because while this is all new territory, it was conceived before the reboot came down. Even leaving that aside, we know what the status quo is at the beginning of Empire. The game isn’t going to be changed by this book. But that’s okay. There are still things to be learned here. We can watch Luke take his first solo steps towards realizing his fate as a Jedi, cringe at his awkwardness with the entire field of romance, and cry with him when that romance proves doomed.* For the first time, we can really get inside Luke’s head as he narrates the entire adventure in the first-person POV. And who knew? His internal dialogue is remarkably entertaining! Bottom line, this is Star Wars at its best, as you remember it. I heartily recommend picking this one up.

As for when this happens, the closest I can nail it down is “shortly after” Star Wars IV: A New Hope. I’d say at least a couple months later, probably not more than a year. It’s pretty vague.

CONTENT: Mild profanity, mostly fictional. I don’t actually recall any whatsoever, but there’s usually a little bit. Some violence, usually not too disturbing. Some flirting, but no real sexual content.

*That’s not a spoiler–Luke is single at the beginning of Empire, so any romance set before that is doomed….

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