Star Wars #7 Review
"Ben Kenobi - The Lost Years"
When the movie Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope
begins and we learn about old Ben Kenobi’s past as a Jedi, it’s a surprise because he seems like a hermit. The three prequel movies filled in some of Ben Kenobi’s origin as a Jedi, but what happened in between, after the Jedi massacre in Episode III – The Revenge of the Sith
and A New Hope?
Namely, what happened all those years once Ben went into hiding? Marvel Comics’ Star Wars
#7 aims to answer some of those questions, and it presents us with a compelling and conflicted version of Ben Kenobi.
The main storyline of the new Star Wars
comic series is set after A New Hope
, but Star Wars
#7 is a flashback as Luke Skywalker has now found a journal that belonged to Ben Kenobi. The issue is told in the present of that flashback, so it functions well as a standalone issue. Writer Jason Aaron and guest artist Simone Bianchi do a great job encapsulating Ben’s story while hinting at what happened outside of it. It sheds new light on Ben Kenobi, the middle-aged former Jedi, and consequently on old Obi-Wan who we see in A New Hope.
The plot of Star Wars
#7 is relatively simple. As possibly the last Jedi alive, Ben Kenobi goes into hiding on Tatooine. However, this isn’t so simple because the planet is frequently raided by Jabba the Hut’s henchman, who take much of the “crops” of moisture farmers. Ben knows he has to remain out of the conflict, but he struggles as he has spent years protecting people and he knows that many residents of Tatooine will die if he does nothing. Yet if Ben brings attention to himself, the Empire will find him. Ben is also trying to discreetly look after young Luke, who Ben knows is important. When Luke takes a stand against Jabba’s troops, Ben is forced to secretly use the Force to protect Luke and defeat the raiders.
In the movies, we saw different versions of Ben – Alec Guinness’ old, wise man and Ewan McGregor’s brash but talented young Kenobi. The version of Ben that Aaron and Bianchi show us is neither. This Ben is afraid and ashamed, knowing he’s the last of his kind and that he’s letting people down by hiding. So he does what he can, but that is frustratingly little. By the end, Luke has given Ben renewed conviction and vigor for the future. This enriches the relationship between Obi-Wan and Luke that we see in A New Hope
Through the plot about a drought on Tatooine and moisture farmers, Aaron also neatly addresses a topical story that connects to climate change and the severe drought presently occurring in California. It’s not heavy handed, but it’s clearly related in a subtle and interesting way. The art of Simone Bianchi, on his first issue after John Cassaday drew the first six, is a nice change of pace. His art is more dynamic than Cassaday’s and while it’s a rough pencil line, Bianche’s brings a lot of emotion and feeling to Ben’s expression in a comic that really needs strong facial illustrations.
As I have mentioned in earlier reviews, I felt that the first arc of Marvel’s new Star Wars
comic was a little inconsistent and underwhelming, but it’s lately gotten in the groove. Coming off issue #6
, which I felt was the strongest issue of the series so far, Star Wars
#7 is a great follow up, perhaps even better than issue #6. It functions nicely as a break in the overall arc and an excellent standalone issue. It would be nice if Aaron finds a way to give us more of Ben Kenobi in upcoming issues, even though he’s dead in the current storyline. It's clear his presence is very important to Luke and to the series as a whole.