In Review: Star Wars #7

Strong story and visuals make this a stand out for Obi-Wan on Tatooine.

The cover: Well, this is a change of pace! Obi-Wan Kenobi is on the cover of this issue wearing his Tatooine cloak with hood up. He holds his lightsaber ready to defend himself. Behind him are the twin suns of the desert world, though some rare clouds look to be gathering. Below him are six characters that look like bounty hunters due to their grungy appearances and weapons. The art for this piece is by John Cassaday with colors by Laura Martin. Ben looks more like Alec Guinness than Ewan McGregor which I liked, since the desert world should be aging him into his older persona. I also like the motley group below him, though they’re a little too hidden by shadows. The colors are good, with the suns behind the Jedi Master excellent. Overall grade: A-

The story: This is a standalone story focusing on the “Journals of Old Ben Kenobi: The Last of his Breed.” I’m all for an issue (or more) focusing on what Obi-Wan did on Tatooine, though I doubt he would commit any of it to writing for fear of the Empire finding it and getting to Luke. Jason Aaron’s story begins with a group of Jabba the Hutt’s thugs shaking down a moisture farmer for his water tax. The poor farmer says he can’t pay because of the drought and this causes him to be beaten. Obi-Wan witnesses this, but walks past this disturbance. He thinks, ‘As hard as it was to become a Jedi…it was even harder to stop being one.’ He has taken on his “forgotten hermit” identity, but keeps a close watch on young Luke, who looks to be eight during this story. The master is having difficulty adapting to his new self, as one would expect, since he cannot interfere with the locals being shaken down by Jabba’s thugs, nor instruct Luke. The young hero does something unexpected which causes the Jedi to intervene and it’s very cool! I really loved this story and would be more than welcome in seeing more from Ben’s past — and that penultimate page had me cheering! The final page seemed forced and was unnecessary for the story, but I loved this so much, it’s only a minor nit. Overall grade: A

The art: This issue features beautiful artwork by Simone Bianchi. The first panel on the first page establishes Tatooine with its barren surface, alien buildings, and distant flyers and suns. The remaining panels focus on the beat down of the farmer, who has a fantastic, sympathetic face, while his attackers are the perfect looking scum one would expect to be in the employ of a Hutt. The action is very strong as he’s taken down, which contrasts nicely with the stoic Ben as he walks by. Page 3 has a fantastic large panel revealing Ben’s face and he looks magnificent. As he makes his way to his dwelling he’s looking incredibly sharp. The intensity on the Jedi’s face at the bottom of Page 5 is stunning. Page 8 is a showcase for Bianchi to do some visual storytelling. The text on the page by Aaron is good, but the artwork really sells what’s transpiring. Page 11 has a super three panel sequence where Ben is at his lowest and his highest points in this issue. The issue’s big confrontation sequence is excellent, with one thug being particularly strong and absolutely evil in his stance. Pages 18 and 19 are superb, with that final one being applause worthy. Bianchi can draw Star Wars anytime he wants, as far as I’m concerned. Overall grade: A+

The colors: A desert world should confine a colorist to a limited palette, but Justin Ponsor works his way through every possible color to be found on Tatooine and makes every panel a superior visual experience. The first three pages as the farmer encounters woes and Ben shows his face are magnificent. One can feel the heat from the suns and the sadness in Ben’s heart as he has to avoid trouble. The final two panels on Page 4 are terrific for their darkness, which matches the Jedi’s mood. The sky slowly turns a watery blue as the story progresses, making the drought on the planet’s surface seem like a sarcastic gesture. Pages 14 – 17 are my favorites of the issue by Ponsor. These pages are set at night, but he makes every bit of the art stand out and they are glorious. Overall grade: A+ 

The letters: Dialogue, sounds, and narration are done by VC’s Chris Eliopoulos. I’m not liking the thin line work on the dialogue and was disappointed to see that one character’s dialogue was exactly the same as Ben’s narration — only the shape of the dialogue balloons was different. This is the mark of someone not giving their all. I’m continual saddened by the lettering work on all the Star Wars books. Overall grade: C

The final line: I can’t slam a book a full grade for lettering, but my review would be stronger if it were different. Strong story and visuals make this a stand out for Obi-Wan on Tatooine. Overall grade: A-

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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