Saturday, 13 January 2018

Star Wars #15 - Marvel Comics

STAR WARS No. 15, March 2016
Focusing purely upon the exploits of “old Ben Kenobi”, as recorded in the elderly Jedi Knight’s journals, Jason Aaron’s script for Issue Fifteen of “Star Wars” arguably must have supplied this comic’s 107,858-strong audience with more a sense of nostalgic fun than actual tension upon its release in January 2016. For although the twenty-page periodical does depict Obi-Wan single-handedly battling an entire Sand People raiding party without his light-sabre, the extensive night-time fight is definitely executed to put a smile on the reader’s face rather than project a genuine sense of peril or endangerment; “Hngh. Why couldn’t we have hidden the boy… on a nice quiet world of natural hot springs? Oh, my back.” 

In fact, the vast majority of this tale is seemingly about giving little nods to the early lore behind George Lucas’ vision, such as a young Luke flying the very T-16 skyhopper he would be shown ‘toying with’ in the motion picture “Star Wars: A New Hope”, or Lars Owen ruthlessly scouring a line of astromech droids, and asking “Do you have anything that speaks Bocce?” There’s even a moment where it dawns upon Qui-Gon Jinn’s former Padawan learner that he might want “to devise an easier way to frighten” off the Tusken Raiders, just as the Clone Wars general is passing the skeletal remains of a Krayt Dragon. 

Fortunately however, the Inkpot Award-winner’s storyline isn’t simply about laughs, and towards the end of the book, things do take a decidedly darker turn for the worst for Kenobi. The Jedi Knight’s confrontation with an enraged Owen, who is positively spitting feathers over Ben’s efforts to provide young Skywalker with the parts needed in order to repair his crashed speeder, is quite emotional, and certainly helps better understand the moisture farmer’s desire to expel Obi-Wan from Luke’s life at the start of the movie trilogy. Whilst Jabba the Hutt’s hiring of an enraged Black Krrsantan to find the man who ambushed his water tax collectors during the Great Drought doesn’t bode well for the exiled Jedi either…

Any minor quibbles regarding this magazine’s pacing and plot though, should be immediately shelved as a result of Mike Mayhew’s stupendous pencilling. The American comic book artist’s illustrations not only manage to capture the likenesses of actors such as Ewan McGregor and Joel Edgerton, but also somehow imbues the "best bush pilot my age on Tatooine" with Mark Hamill’s feisty facial features as well.
The regular cover art of "STAR WARS" No. 15 by Mike Mayhew

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