In Review: Obi-Wan and Anakin #4

It looks better than it reads, which has it being very similar to the prequels.

The covers: Within the helmet of Darth Vader, who is shown in profile from his right side, Anakin and Obi-Wan stand in a misty star field, being looked down upon by a bust shot of Palpatine. This is terrific design work by interior artist Marco Checchetto, showing all the main players of this book, within Anakin’s future persona. The cloud effect the Jedi are standing in is really well done, but the highlight of this cover is the fantastic spitting image of Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine. This is a great cover. Overall grade: A

The story: Anakin has been kidnapped by Kolara and Mother Pran, who have destroyed the dirigible that Obi-Wan and Grecker are on. As the women take off with the Padawan, they fail to notice that the two men have leapt from the craft to the ground below…which is swarming with fearsome insect humanoids. Surrounded, Grecker tells the Jedi Master to kill them, but Obi-Wan instead shaves a piece of rock from a nearby protrusion, causing the creatures to run off without a drop of blood being shed. Alone, Obi-Wan demands Grecker tell him where he believes his student has been taken, and the local tells him they need to travel on foot into the Celadon Sea. They have to wear air filters as they make their way on the streets. Writer Charles Soule then moves the story to the Fortress-Home of the Open, where Anakin, and the reader, learns why he’s been taken. This story isn’t surprising in this setting: one can predict that neither Obi-Wan or Anakin will have an easy time being reunited and that Kolara will have misgivings in assisting with the kidnapping of her new friend, but will stay the course for her people’s movement. What is really strong are the two flashbacks involving Anakin. Watching him alone with Palpatine is like watching the fall of Skywalker. Every word out of the Senator is pure poison and Soule is working magic with every scene involving the secretive Sith. After meeting with the future Emperor, Anakin comes to a life decision that has him confronting Obi-Wan. This, too, is a great scene, showing how he’s beginning to distance himself from the Jedi, even at this young age. This was incredibly fascinating. Where Obi-Wan ends up is just blase, as is the new information he’s received, which any fan could have discerned if they’ve read the previous issues. The past is more interesting than the present in this installment. Overall grade: B-

The art: This is a very lush book, considering it’s set on a world that is quickly becoming uninhabitable. Marco Checchetto is pulling out all the stops to make this a very realistic world in a science fiction universe, though not necessarily the Star Wars universe. The first page is a very Steampunk-ish flight of escape, with the vehicles looking amazing, and the debris in the characters’ wake believable. Obi-Wan takes the perfect hero stance on the top of Page 2, though it is difficult to see whom it is that he’s defending himself from. The first panel on 3, a vertical shot, instantly establishes the scale that the Jedi and the Closed have to travel. A turn of the page shows that Checchetto isn’t done, providing an epic city in ruins. The devices that Anakin has been recruited to rebuild look good, but nothing that’s been seen in the Star Wars universe before; these seem as though they’ve been pulled from the old MechWarrior game — they look incredible, but seem completely out of place in this comic. The flashbacks look amazing, transporting readers to familiar settings from the first two prequels. There’s a moment of silence on Page 9 that speaks volumes because of the way Checchetto has set the page up. The first panel on Page 11 will have fans instantly connecting to the now iconic final shot of Rey from The Force Awakens. I can’t lie, I got chills looking at this image. There is a new alien creature that appears to threaten one of the heroes, but it doesn’t seem as though it’s suited for the environment. Again, it looks great, but it doesn’t fit in with this book. The final page is full page splash that teases a lot of action for next issue, but if one were to show this page to any casual fan and ask them to identity the Star Wars elements, they’d be at a loss: it’s MechWarrior versus Steampunk. Overall grade: B+

The colors: Even with this issue not entirely set in the exteriors of Carnelion IV, colorist Andres Mossa doesn’t play with a more varied palette this issue. The familiar rusts and whites open the book. Blues begin to creep in to enhance the constantly falling snow in this location, until disappearing once at Fortress-Home. Here the colors are more brown than rust, and that’s to show that the tech the Open are using are serviceable. Surprisingly, there are a lot of browns in the Jedi Temple. Yeah, those robes don’t really allow for a lot of options, but I don’t recall any setting in the temple looking this dark. The arrival of the creature injects some nice reptilian greens and blues, which are followed by a very cool, large panel of a hologram. The book returns to the snow covered mountains, though the vehicles change the colors. Overall grade: B

The letters: Joe Caramagna from VC provides scene settings, dialogue, and sounds. The scene settings, because of their coloring, blend in too much with the artwork, ending up lost or blurry often. The sounds are sensational. Lightsaber ignitions are always cool to see and the creature sounds are extremely well done. Overall grade: B+

The final line: It looks better than it reads, which has it being very similar to the prequels. Decent, but nothing to make one race to read it. Fans will enjoy much more than the casual comic reader. 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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