In Review: Obi-Wan & Anakin #2

I'm looking forward to seeing where this is going, but am not thrilled by it.

The cover: Master Obi-Wan Kenobi looks to be making short work of some Closed airships on Carnelion IV. Rather than guiding his lightsaber with the Force to do damage to the ship, Obi-Wan has decided to go up close and personal to bring them down. This is an incredibly detailed cover by interior artist Marco Checchetto, but it’s also incredibly difficult to find the focus on this cover. The coloring is too similar between the Jedi’s robes and the skin covering the ships. Additionally, the metal and mountains in this image are muted, making them blend as well. Even the title is colored too darkly, with the “Star Wars” portion lost in the image. This illustration should have been pulled in more tightly to Obi-Wan so that the reader can find a focus and the colors not blend as much. This is, sadly, a blob of a cover. Overall grade: C

The story: Obi-Wan and Anakin are staring down the guns of Mother Pran. Both she and her companion, young Kolara, don’t know what Jedi are, so the Master tries to use the Force to influence her to lower her weapons. It’s at this moment when another airship arrives, guns blazing down on all four characters. Pran identifies the ship as belonging to the Closed, who kill everything. Obi-Wan wants to check that out for himself and leaps, as only a Jedi can, skyward. On a cliff, he guides his lightsaber to hit a key point in the ship, downing it, but not before saving its sole occupant, Grecker. Writer Charles Soule introduces the two factions at war on Carnelion IV and hints at why they’re warring, though nothing is explicitly stated; though there is a hint that both fighting adults have a clue about something that called the Jedi and his apprentice to their world. Interrupting this tale in the cold is a flashback to young Anakin trying to gain a necessary Jedi skill. It doesn’t come to him easily, nor in this issue, but its importance is noted, as he needs in the present. The highlight of the issue was, as with last issue, the appearance of Chancellor Palpatine, who asks that the padawan accompany him. Where they go and what’s said is much more riveting than what’s occurring in the present, but that’s because I’m really interested in seeing how Palpatine warped Anakin’s perspective. The final page of the book promises a lot of action to open next month’s installment, and I’m very interested to see how Anakin will act. Overall grade: B+

The art: The visuals by Marco Checchetto are good. I really like the design of the characters and their weapons and vehicles on Carnelion IV. Mother Pran is my favorite of the three new characters. She looks really strong, and has an excellent introduction panel on Page 1, which shows her in her entirety. The airships are very impressive vehicles, be they flying or falling to the ground. They’ve got definite Steampunk qualities which is a visual genre I’ve not encountered in a Star Wars comic before. The mountains of this world though are a slight ding for me: they’re are not outlined as the characters and vehicles are, making them seem as though they don’t fit in with the image — they’re too soft for the characters that inhabit them. There’s a new group of creatures that make a brief appearance, and they look great. I’ll take more of them, to be sure. The scenes on Coruscant look great, with the Emperor and the streets of one of the lowest levels of the world amazing. I would love to see Checchetto do an entire story/book/series set in this environment. However, the setting again becomes a minor issue; when Palpatine and Skywalker enter a location the top half of the image is an absolute waste of space — it neither adds to the story or the environment. The populating of the room is also dicey; their are several excellently rendered characters in the foreground, and there are several characters in the far distance, but there’s a noticeable lack of characters in between. What happened? I see no visual justification why this was a full paged splash. With exception to these settings, the rest of the book is strong. Better backgrounds, though, would have created a better visual experience. Overall grade: B

The colors: As with the art, the characters and their machines are colored boldly, but the backgrounds are washed out. Andres Mossa seems to have chosen this for stylistic purposes to make the mountains look much colder, but this sometimes causes a lack of focus for the reader: Page 2’s first panel has the mountains and skies blending too much, coming off like a blob; first panel on Page 10, the individual atop the peak is difficult to make out against that background; the colors in the first panel on 11 create another blob of color, and finding that airship is akin to playing Where’s Waldo. Just as I think that Mossa might be wrong for this book, the pages set on Coruscant look tremendous. Mossa is extremely capable of using coloring to set a mood, but for the cold mountains of Carnelion IV they’re a misfire. Overall grade: C+

The letters: Sounds, screams, dialogue, and scene settings come from VC’s Joe Caramagna. The font used for the dialogue is too thin to pack any punch; take a look at the first spoken words on Page 8 — they have no power to match what the text is trying to convey. The sounds, however, are exceptional on this book, with several explosions and — my favorite — a lightsaber ignition, bringing some oomph before an action sequence. Overall grade: B+

The final line: I’m looking forward to seeing where this is going, but am not thrilled by it. It’s still early in the series, so anything can happen, and I hope it does. Overall grade: B

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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