The Star Wars franchise has been the biggest gift that mama Disney could bestow upon Marvel Comics. Marvel’s Star Wars titles have been sales beasts that have absolutely destroyed the monthly sales charts each and every month. The Star Wars franchise is a huge reason why Marvel has been beating DC like a rented mule in the monthly sales charts. Axel Alonso is a lucky man. His MarvelNOW titles can continue to post unimpressive niche sales numbers, but he has the Star Wars titles to bolster his overall sales numbers so that they look impressive. I am sure DC wished they had the equivalent of the Star Wars franchise to bolster their sagging New 52 numbers shortly after their reboot.
At any rate, I have been thoroughly enjoying Marvel’s Star Wars titles. I am a lifelong Star Wars fan, but I never got into Darkhorse’s Star Wars titles. Once Disney blessed Marvel Comics with the Star Wars franchise my interest in Star Wars titles immediately perked up. The idea of top-notch Marvel Comics talent working on Star Wars titles appealed to me. And Marvel Comics has not disappointed with the talent they have placed on the Star Wars titles.
I must admit that Jason Aaron seemed like an odd choice for Star Wars. I run hot and cold with Aaron. Aaron is a streaky writer. When he is motivated and on top of his game he can crank out some brilliant stories. Other times? He gives you Original Sin. Also, Aaron has never impressed me with his ability to handle Sci-Fi themed stories. However, Star Wars is much more than just Sci Fi. The fact that Star Wars is a blend of Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Swashbuckler Adventure makes it a franchise that can be pulled in numerous directions. Aaron has exceeded my expectations on Star Wars. So far, Aaron has provided quality reads each and every month on this young title. Does Star Wars #7 continue this trend? Star Wars #7 is a stand alone issue as we get a spotlight story on Obi-Wan Kenobi. Does Star Wars #7 continue the trend of solid reads? Let’s find out!
Words: Jason Aaron
Pencils: Simone Bianchi
Inks: Justin Ponsor
Colors: VC’s Chris Eliopoulos
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with some of Jabba the Hutt’s thugs beating up a moisture farmer in the farmers market in Mos Eisley. The head thug says that the moisture farmer needs to pay even more “water tax” to Jabba. The moisture farmer says that the drought is limiting how much water he can farm. That he barely has enough water to trade for food and supplies in order to support his family. The head thug says he does not care and that he will be back tomorrow to collect more of Jabba’s “tax.”
The head thug hits the farmer with his gun and starts guzzling down some of the farmer’s water. We see Obi-Wan Kenobi walking by the scene. Obi-Wan clenches his hand into a fist. Obi-Wan thinks how with as hard as it was to become a Jedi it has been even harder to stop being a Jedi. Obi Wan then calms himself and walks by the thugs.
Obi-Wan thinks how by the time the Great Drought arrived that it had already been years since he had touched a lightsaber. He was no longer General Obi-Wan Kenobi. He was no longer a Jedi Master. Now he was just Ben. Ben the relic. Crazy old Ben who was a hermit and lived out far out in the Dune Sea where only the Sandpeople and wamprats dared to visit.
We cut to Obi-Wan watching over Luke’s home. Luke is just a little boy. Obi Wan thinks how one day blurred into the next with little to distinguish them from each other. That Owen had refused to let Obi-Wan train Luke. Obi-Wan did not blame Owen. Obi Wan thinks how the last Skywalker he trained was gone. That all of the Jedi were gone. Obi-Wan thinks who maybe he should have gone with them. However, Obi-Wan still had one job to do and he did it the best he could.
Suddenly, Jabba’s thugs arrived at the Luke’s house. The thugs talk about how the Lars family had never paid any “water tax” to Jabba. They wonder how they ever let that happen. Obi-Wan appears before them. Obi-Wan uses his Jedi mind trick to tell them that they have taken enough water for the day and should head back to Jabba’s before the sand storm comes. The head thug repeats Obi-Wan’s words and then the thugs leave.
Obi-Wan thinks how he could not train Luke, but he could at least protect Luke. Obi-Wan hoped that a day would come when Luke would realize that he was so much more than just a mere farmer.
We shift back to Obi-Wan’s home. Obi-Wan is meditating and levitating several fossils around him. Obi-Wan thinks about how the Great Drought was hurting the farmers and how Jabba’s water tax was making matters even worse. That people were dying and that Obi-Wan was letting all of this happen. Obi-Wan loses concentration and the fossils collapse around him. Obi-Wan says “You never trained me for this, Master Qui-Gon. You never taught me how to fade away.”
We shift to the market in Mos Eisley. Obi-Wan is trying to get the market merchants to sell Black Melons to the locals. That they can be cracked open and people can drink the milk inside. That it tastes bad but it is safe for drinking. We then see Jabba’s thugs enter the market. Some of the moisture farmers start yelling at the thugs for taking all of their water. The head thug tells the other thugs to take the moisture farmers down. Suddenly, the thugs’ guns all misfire at the same time. The thugs are confused and quickly exit the scene before the framers can attack them.
Obi-Wan thinks how he should not have interfered and misfired all of the guns. That is was too much of a risk. Obi-Wan thinks how he can no longer go into town anymore.
We shift to Obi-Wan at his home. He thinks how Qui-Gon would have said that there was nobility in restraint. But, Obi-Wan finds nothing noble about what he is doing. That people are dying and there is nothing he can do. Obi-Wan says that he cannot fight as a Jedi and he cannot train Luke. Obi-Wan cries out that he is lost. Suddenly, Obi-Wan senses something in the Force.
We cut to Owen and Beru searching for Luke. Luke has run away and the suns have set and night has begun. Obi-Wan narrates how he had just one job left and now he has failed at that. We zip over to Luke being caught by Jabba’s thugs who have been collecting the water tax. Luke had snuck in and was trying to steal back some of the water. Luke tells the thugs that he is not afraid of them. The head thug says for them to take Luke captive and sell him into slavery.
Suddenly, all of the lights blow up and the thugs are in total darkness. One the thugs shoves Luke. Luke gets knocked out. One thug then gets thrown into the air and crashes back to the ground. The thugs’ guns then fly out of their hands. Two boulders then smash two of the thugs. Only the head thug is left standing. The head thug is then pushed back toward his land speeder. The hood of the land speeder then smashes over him.
Obi-Wan then picks up Luke and takes him back to the Lars’ house. In the morning, Owen and Beru find Luke back at the house safe and sound.
We zip over to Obi-Wan at his house. Obi-Wan thinks how the water farmers go their water back so they could survive. That about a week later the drought ended and the moisture farmers were back in full production. Jabba was enraged and vowed to find the mysterious thief who attacked his thugs. But, nobody every found out who the thief was. No one knew what the thief looked like or what his name was.
We see Obi-Wan take out his lightsaber and turn it on. Obi Wan says that his name is Obi-Wan Kenobi. The last of his order. But, this is not the end of the Jedi. All it took was one young boy;s courage to assure Ob-Wan of that fact. Obi-Wan hopes that some day soon he will be able to tell that boy this story.
We zip forward to Luke Skywalker in his X-wing fighter. Luke is reading Obi-Wan’s journal. Luke asks R2-D2 to keep driving for a bit longer. Luke says “I don’t know where we are headed, buddy…but I’m working on it.” End of issue.
The Good: Star Wars #7 was an excellent read. This issue is a simple story. And this is exactly where Aaron shines. Aaron’s greatest strength is when he delivers stories that are paired down to the raw and essential themes and devoid of multiple complex plot lines. This is where Aaron feels most comfortable. I usually enjoy spotlight issues. They often offer up a chance for the writer to deliver a strong character piece. That is certainly the case with Star Wars #7.
I have always like Obi-Wan’s character. And the concept of Obi-Wan as a Ronin who is the last of his kind forced to live in hiding fascinates me. It lends to moments of great introspection. Aaron uses this spotlight issue to delve deeply into this concept and expand upon Obi-Wan’s struggles while living in hiding on Tatooine.
First and foremost, the greatest strength of Star Wars #7 is Aaron’s exceptional character work on Obi-Wan’s character. Aaron fleshes out the internal struggle of Obi-Wan and, in the process, captivates the reader’s attention. The reader is able to feel Obi-Wan’s anguish over being the last Jedi. The feelings of guilt that often rack the minds of sole survivors of a traumatic event.
I liked that Aaron had Obi-Wan turn to his master, Qui-Gon, in this moment of distress. It is important to show that even accomplished masters like Obi-Wan still turn to their masters at moments of need. This reinforces the concept that no matter how old we grow or how much we learn that people still need someone to turn to for inspiration and answers. It was a cool moment for this highly accomplished Jedi Master to revert back to being the student and seeking out the inspiration of his master at this moment of need.
However, Aaron makes sure to stress how even in this moment of turmoil and anguish that Obi-Wan is still a Jedi Knight and a hero to his core. Obi-Wan is still the embodiment of the Jedi Order. And Obi-Wan is still a man of action. This is an important moment because it reminds readers that Obi-Wan was always one of the more impulsive Jedi’s. This impulsiveness and aggressive nature often got him in trouble. That made Obi-Wan having to restrain from fighting in the beginning of this issue that much more frustrating for his character. Aaron perfectly captured how the fact that Obi-Wan is not being able to help the innocent people who are suffering around him eats away at his soul.
Aaron compliments his strong character work by weaving plenty of good dialogue and some truly excellent narration by Obi-Wan. This is definitely a case of less is more. Obi-Wan’s narration is delivered in a raw and succinct fashion. This is another moment where Aaron shines. Obi-Wan is not like Qui-Gon. Obi-Wan is not a loquacious speaker who uses unnecessary and ornate language. Obi-Wan is a man of action who speaks bluntly and directly. Obi-Wan is more at home with the type of dialogue that Hemingway would admire. Obi-Wan’s narration is simple yet eloquent. The narration is powerful and offers an enjoyable view into his soul. This narration also forms a convenient spine for Star Wars #7 in which Aaron uses to support the rest of the story.
Star Wars #7 is well paced and plotted. Aaron eases the story forward with a clear purpose in mind but does so in a measured pace. The controlled pacing of the story matches perfectly with the rising tension as the reader gets more and more anxious over Obi-Wan restraining himself from getting involved in the battle between Jabba’s thugs and the farmers.
The strong character work on Obi-Wan, the excellent narration by Obi-Wan, and the pacing all come together and lead perfectly into the main action scene at the end of Star Wars #7. This is some brilliant writing by Aaron. It is wonderful when writers are able to use action scenes to further character growth and to advance a story theme. Action scenes do not have to be just mindless entertainment. Finally seeing Obi-Wan spring to action and cut loose on Jabba’s thugs breaks the tension and has the reader sighing in relief. This action scene was a satisfying climax to the story.
As far as the artwork, I enjoyed the colors in this issue.Eliopoulos’ colors match the bleak setting of Tatooine.
The Bad: I am not a fan of Simone Bianchi and Justin Ponsor’s art in this issue. I found the art to be too rough and sketchy. Many of the panels lacked any detail and looked rushed. Several of the panels were muddy looking and a bit dull. The artwork was nothing more than average and did not add anything to Aaron’s strong story.
Overall: Star Wars #7 was another excellent read. Star Wars continues to be a must read title. This comic is well worth the price of admission. If you still have not given one of Marvel’s Star Wars titles a chance then I would recommend giving it a try. This title is a fun combination of action, adventure and drama.