After the stunning revelation last issue that the loveable rogue Han Solo is a married man, Star Wars #7 takes a break from the ongoing storyline to tell a flashback story from Obi Wan Kenobi’s journal that Luke Skywalker discovered in issue six. Obi Wan Kenobi is one of the few characters to link both the prequel and original trilogy and has been played by two of the greatest actors of their respective generations. So his comic should be filled with insights into one of the last survivors of the Jedi era, some hooded lightsaber fights, and Sand People?
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Most of the comic is taken up with Obi Wan’s inner monologue, which is predominantly whining until the end when he bumps into a young Luke. Writer Jason Aaron gives him some of the qualities that earned him the title “The Negotiator” in The Clone Wars, such as avoiding direct conflicts when he saves some hapless moisture farmers from Jabba the Hutt’s goons. However, there is little of the wisdom he imparts to Luke in A New Hope until almost the last page of the comic.
For once, the plot also suffers by being just a one issue story. There isn’t much time to go into the real meat of the drought on Tatooine, and the how and why of Jabba the Hutt taking water from simple farmers when as Obi Wan observes in the issue’s only humorous moment: he never takes baths. There are a couple of flashes of brilliance, like Obi Wan using the Force to find a black melon, which Tusken Raiders use for liquid refreshment, but most of the comic is predictable, inner struggle stuff as Obi Wan wrestles with being hidden, helping people, and protecting Luke. And it takes a turn for the worse when Luke pulls an Anakin in Phantom Menace and becomes some kind of a scourge of the Sand People. Even if this scene is poorly executed with artist Simone Bianchi making Obi Wan’s stealth telekinesis hard to follow, Aaron does land a tiny moment of epiphany as Luke’s little act of resistance motivates Obi Wan to have believe again that the Jedi order will survive. It’s the beginning of the “hope” part of A New Hope.
Artist Simone Bianchi (who previously followed John Cassaday on Astonishing X-Men) isn’t the greatest fit for Star Wars #7. His alien designs are suitably grotesque (Occasionally, the Tusken Raiders look like Klingons.), but his Obi Wan gets lost in the folds of his Jedi robes making him look like the giant Volstagg from Thor comics. Figures aside, Bianchi’s storytelling is solid, yet unspectacular. He adds some extra lines on Obi Wan’s face as he meditates on his inability to act and protect the people of Tatooine and captures the toll of using The Force to try find a source of water. But Bianchi’s action transitions are lacking, especially since most of Obi Wan’s battles are stealth based. For example, there is a scene where all of the Hutt enforcers’ blasters explode, but readers only know what through some awkward exposition and not showing the extent of Obi Wan’s power.
For the most part, Star Wars #7 is skippable filler even for hardcore Obi Wan fans. The character does get a bit of an arc, but it is mired down in navel gazing narration and shoddy action set pieces. Colorist Justin Ponsor does nail the fact that Tatooine is the planet farthest from a bright spot in the universe with his light browns and faded whites and yellows with a tinge of red for its beautiful binary sunsets. However, this is just a tiny plus in a book filled with minuses.