Written by: Charles Soule
Art by: Marco Checchetto
Chronology Placement: Set three years after “The Phantom Menace”
This graphic novel collects the following stories:
- Star Wars: Obi-Wan & Anakin (2016) # 1 – 5
While the relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin is one of the main focal points of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, there is a whole ten-year gap between “The Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones” that has largely been left unexplored, with most expanded universe adventures featuring the pair taking place during the Clone Wars. This five-issue miniseries from Marvel Comics takes place three years after the events of “The Phantom Menace” and deals with Obi-Wan’s doubts at taking on a padawan, and Anakin’s own frustrations with the Jedi Order.
The Anakin we see in this adventure is a hybrid of the Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen versions of the character – blending Lloyd’s wide-eyed innocence with Christensen’s infuriating stubbornness. Writer Charles Soule does an amazing job at capturing the essence of both actors onto the page, demonstrating Anakin’s journey through adolescence as he struggles to define his own destiny. His relationship with Obi-Wan is also well-defined, taking shape as they begin to form the master-apprentice bond that was visible in “Attack of the Clones”.
The adventure sees Obi-Wan and Anakin stranded on the planet Carnelion IV where two warring clans, the Open and the Closed, fight for dominance. Soule uses these opposing factions as a parallel for the Jedi and the Sith throughout the tale, and there is a nice twist at the end as to why the two Jedi have been summoned to this war-torn planet in the first place, which serves to demonstrate the difference between Jedi and Sith. Marco Checchetto’s artwork is simply stunning and he does a brilliant job at illustrating the poison skies of Carnelion IV. His artwork really suits the tone of the Star Wars universe, and he is able to perfectly capture the likenesses of all the familiar characters, particularly Chancellor Palpatine.
As much as this is a story that delves into the relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin, it also explores the beginnings of Anakin’s descent into darkness with Chancellor Palpatine. Watching the boy struggling with his anger, Palpatine clearly sees the potential to turn the boy towards his will and begins testing his pliability with an unexpected excursion into the Coruscant underbelly. It’s a great scene that is rife with foreshadowing and demonstrates just how Palpatine was able to earn Skywalker’s trust enough to influence him to turn his back on his former masters in “Revenge of the Sith”. There’s a panel where Palpatine smiles to himself, knowing he has put his plans into motion, and you could imagine Ian McDiarmid on-screen performing the same scene.
Soule plays about with his narrative, blending flashbacks in with the current events, which helps underscore Anakin’s doubts of his place in the Jedi Order. While his fate is preordained from the reader’s point-of-view, it is interesting to actually see the character’s teething problems inbetween movies, and how he developed into the cocky young man we see in “Attack of the Clones”. While Obi-Wan is a co-lead of this adventure, we get little insight into his own feelings and motivations aside from a few flashback scenes – it is definitely more skewed towards Anakin, although arguably he is the more interesting character of the two at this period in the saga.
Between “Attack of the Clones”, “Revenge of the Sith” and the Clone Wars animated series, fans may feel that there is nothing left to discover about the relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin, but this mini-series provides a whole new perspective on the dynamic, visiting them early in their friendship. Charles Soule provides himself to be a consummate Star Wars fan, effortlessly weaving his tale into the wider tapestry of the franchise whilst Marco Checchetto conjures up a breath-taking vista onto the page, adding another evocative planet landscape into the pantheon of iconic Star Wars locations, such as Cloud City, Dagobah and Tattootine.
“Obi-Wan and Anakin” is a must-read addition to Star Wars continuity, exploring one of the series’ most important relationships in a whole new way.