Christopher Cantwell is taking readers on a journey with Obi-Wan that spans his entire lifetime. In Obi-Wan #1, we got a rare glimpse of when Obi-Wan was a little boy. As heroic as ever, it also showed an older Obi-Wan still looking after Luke and the wisdom he took from the tale via captions. Out this week is the second issue, which features Obi-Wan as a young padawan of Qui-Gon Jinn.
When reading Star Wars comics there are a few things that turn these from lost tales into all-timers. The biggest thing is taking an established character and adding a layer to them that makes sense and seems natural. Another is an exploration of the galaxy, be it an alien planet or new sci-fi concepts. Elevating the series into the sci-fi genre is a powerful thing, as was seen in the recent Star Wars #20. Obi-Wan #2 clearly has those things and then some.
This issue opens much like the first issue with Obi-Wan jotting down notes stuck inside with his thoughts. As the preview shows, Darth Maul isn’t far off in his thoughts, but this issue isn’t about him. Soon we’re being whisked off to a strange planet where darkness is abnormal. Not even special goggles can peer through it. This is where the sci-fi element comes in, which plays off what we know of the Jedi well. Frankly, it’s a fantastic concept for a done-in-one episode of an Obi-Wan show since it has elements of horror–darkness and an unknown threat–while testing what we know about lightsabers and Jedi powers.
The aspect of this issue that works extremely well is how Cantwell captures Qui-Gon Jinn’s mentorship of Obi-Wan. He’s like the ultimate teacher, always testing Obi-Wan and asking him questions even in the field. His patience is on full display and it’s cool to see these two characters interact. That’s where the character development being layered in works so well.
Art by Luke Ross is good with excellent colors by Nolan Woodard. The lack of light is depicted well with blacks and blues creating a negative sense of space via shadows in the Jedi cloaks or total darkness blanking out aspects of backgrounds. Ross captures Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan expertly as well. They look like they’ve been plucked straight from The Phantom Menace. There’s also an interesting sequence involving some technology that looks right out of Empire Strikes Back that’s quite well rendered.
My only gripe might be the “mystery” Qui-Gon asks Obi-Wan to solve. Through captions, Cantwell gives us Obi-Wan’s future takes through each scene, putting us in his head as he attempts to figure out the big mystery. Ultimately the mystery threat isn’t something he or the reader could have figured out very easily, making some of the more verbose captions feel unnecessary. Like reading a person overthink just because. The connections this mystery has to environmental degradation are compelling and it’s clever how it connects to the enemy they face. Leaning so heavily on solving the mystery ends up feeling like a missed opportunity or an unfinished one.
Star Wars: Obi-Wan #2 is an even better adventure than the first issue. It features prequel-era Obi-Wan in his prime as he’s still learning while throwing in a horror element with cool sci-fi ideas too. It’ll make you wish there was more, but delight in the great characters and sci-fi within.
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