Star Wars: Obi-Wan Issue #1

A Storm Approaches…

The following is not really a review. It is more the impressions and observations of a keen reader. Off the bat, let me just say I’ve been really looking forward to reading this first installment of Star Wars: Obi-Wan since I first heard tell of it several weeks ago. I’m getting old, so I can’t recall exactly when. I did a bit of an intro to its upcoming release in a previous blog. Click Here to read it. Since I have to wait till May 27 to watch the first of the new Disney series Obi-Wan, this comic book would be a yummy aperitif. It turned out to be more than that. Much more! In fact, I dare say, more in line with a three course banquet!

I received my copy of Star Wars: Obi-Wan in the mail this week, and upon enthusiastically tearing open the package, I was greeted by this magnificent sight…

Star Wars: Obi-Wan Cover A

Wow! What a magnificent piece of art. Phil Noto has captured the essence of the journey ahead in this series in masterful fashion. At top right we see an aging Obi-Wan staring pensively into the distance. The future, perhaps? His image is almost a watermark, fading, yet maintaining clarity and strength. Dominant in the image is Obi-Wan at the age when his world began to crumble. Betrayed by his student and friend and now an outcast from a galaxy he vowed to protect with his very soul, Obi-Wan still stands strong, determined to fulfill his last mission: to watch over the child, Luke Skywalker. Which draws us down to the ominous presence of Darth Vader, lurking beneath all this. How will Darth feature in this story? I look forward to finding out. And of course this whole scene is set against the backdrop of Tatooine, its twin suns now an icon cherished by fans the world over. This truly visceral cover had me all but yearning to turn to the first page!

The story opens with an aging Obi-Wan pondering the nature of an impending sand storm. “This will be a bad one,” he says, staring into the distance, as if he can sense something. Something “elusive” perhaps! The colourist, Carlos Lopez, uses rich sepia tones here to reflect the hot, barren nature of Tatooine.

Then back in his home, we discover that, yes, Obi-Wan has sensed something. He tells us that he doesn’t chronicle every sandstorm on this barren rock. There’s not enough parchment in the galaxy for such a feat! But this storm…

Star Wars: Obi-Wan, art by A. Anindito & C. Lopez, p. 8.

Suddenly, we are whisked back in time, back when Obi-Wan was still a young Padawan. The colourist, Carlos Lopez, now switches from the warm sepia tones of the desert to a cold palette of blues and black to depict night time in a sprawling city. Obi-Wan wakes with a start in his quarters in the Jedi Temple to discover the bed next to his empty, the bed of fellow Padawan, Gehren Rand. Worried, Ob-Wan goes in search of his friend.

He eventually finds Gehren on the roof of the temple, staring miserably down at the city below. She is being plagued by nightmares of her father. He is terrified and in great pain. She tells Obi-Wan that she cannot stay at the temple. She has to go. Her father needs her help. Shades of Anakin’s dreams about his mother here. But Obi-Wan doesn’t want her to leave…

Star Wars: Obi-Wan, loc. cit., p12.

Nevertheless, Gehren chooses to leave. She leaps down into the “metropolitan abyss” of Coruscant. Obi-Wan, perhaps rashly, decides to leap after her. Into the underbelly of the city, he goes. And almost immediately he is set upon by a gang of ruffians. The confrontation that followed was awesome! Padawan Obi-Wan using the Force to fight them!

Star Wars: Obi-Wan, loc. cit., p16.

But there are too many of them for the young Padawan. Oh no! Poor Obi-Wan! Suddenly, in drops Gehren – literally – to save the day. Then the fighting ceases when the leader of the gang, Nodrus Cay, appears. She looks none-too-happy. But the Padawans strike a deal with her to take them “offworld”. But is this too easy?

Yes! The moment the Padawans turn to get on the ship, Nodrus Cay has them shackled. Betrayed! But then, Gehren reminds Obi-Wan who they are. What they can accomplish together if they focus. The pair, as one, close their eyes and reach out to the Force…

And “KRAAAK!” their shackles shatter, freeing them. They make a leap of faith. A leap to freedom!

Star Wars: Obi-Wan, loc. cit., p18.

Once free, Obi-Wan wants to return to the temple. But Gehren can’t! She still has to leave. And leave alone. So Obi-Wan watches his only friend leave. The one person who has always had his back and watched out for him.

Upon his return to the Jedi Temple, we witness the first appearance of my all-time favourite character. Yoda. Sooo cool! Yoda tells Obi-Wan that the only person who can truly watch out for him is himself! Yoda then gives him a broom and tells him he can ponder this “new wisdom” through the night while sweeping! Classic. Yay for Yoda!

The story ends back on Tatooine, where Obi-Wan reveals that he would never again see Gehren. I was definitely surprised by this. And a bit sad. Gehren really has the makings of a kick-butt character.

To wrap up, I thoroughly enjoyed this first installment of Star Wars: Obi-Wan. It promises an exciting and revealing insight into the life of a much-loved character from the Star Wars universe. Hats off to writer, Christopher Cantwell, for weaving such an engrossing and dynamic storyline. And artist, Ario Anindito, who also drew Star Wars: The High Republic, provided me a visual feast! Not to forget colourist, Carlos Lopez, who set the moods of the barren Tatooine to the multi-textured layers of Coruscant with epic style. Brilliant! 10 out of 10. Can’t wait for Issue #2 in June!

Until next time…

Solving A Sticky Situation!

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a near complete run of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. The below pic was all I had to go on…

Photo of Collection

The first thing that drew my eye was the top two issues in the pic. They were news-stand editions. Awesome! The instant question in my head: are these all news-stand? At this point I had no idea, and I was reluctant to ask the seller in case he didn’t know what he had and upon finding out would hike up the price (happened to me before) or simply remove the lot from sale. Not that I wanted to cheat the seller or anything (I ain’t that guy!), but he was already asking a fair bit of dosh. I wanted them, but they also came with issues.

Which leads us into the main plotline of this story. Three of the four books pictured had the dreaded price stickers on the covers. And they’d been attached for a long time! Since 2006, to be exact. Consequently, removal of said annoyances would not be easy. Unfortunately the seller confirmed in a quick correspondence that 98% of them had price stickers. Bummer! But I still went for it … after haggling a bit of a deal.

Skip forward a week. The collection arrived, and after a quick perusal, my fears regarding the stickers were confirmed. Stuck fast is an understatement. But on the plus side every single issue was news-stand. Woohoo!

I must admit I’ve never attempted to remove really old stickers. Doing so is fraught with danger. Many, many things could go wrong. I was so nervous about bolloxing the whole affair that I considered just leaving them be. But I couldn’t. Every time I tried to admire the cover art my eye immediately went to that gross square of ugliness in the top corner. Why do newsagents insist on subjecting our poor comic books to this barbaric practice?

No. The stickers had to go.

But how to do it safely? To the internet! After some searching, I was quite shocked to discover there wasn’t really a lot of info out there. Did this mean that most just didn’t do it? That stickers were generally just left in place? This possibility made me even more nervous! But my mind was made up. I had to push through the fear. Those blasted stickers were on borrowed time. They had to go. No backsies!!

The consensus of opinion of those who did remove stickers was to use a hairdryer. Sure. I could do that. I watched a couple of YouTube videos illustrating the technique. Simple enough. With the hairdryer on low, place it really close to the offending sticker, and blast away for about three minutes. With nervous anticipation, I grabbed the hairdryer and the guineapig comic, which happened to have a damaged cover, anyway, so all wouldn’t be lost if I messed it up.

Thank goodness the cover was already rooted, because mess it up I did! Royally! As you can see below, a chunk of the cover came away with the sticker.

The screw up!

What caused this? The best I could figure is while I held the hairdryer to the cover it was getting ridiculously hot and was starting to wrinkle. I felt that I was holding the hairdryer way too close. I don’t know if the hairdryers in the tutorials were weaker on the low setting than mine, but whatever the case, I needed to adjust how I executed the task. Problem was, I had no more damaged covers with which to practice! I needed to just go for it! I grabbed the next comic, and fired up the hairdryer. But this time I held the hairdryer about 30cm above the sticker. I also moved the hairdryer around in mini-figure-8s. The moment of truth.

I started peeling …

… and

… success!

It actually worked! No sticky residue. Emboldened, I did another. And another. Pretty soon (well, a after a few hours) I had the majority of thee stickers off. All were a success, but some I did have to put a little extra work into to remove a bit of glue residue. I did this by reheating the glue for about 30 seconds, then, with the side of my thumb, I gently massaged away the small areas of glue.

As you may know, this comic series has two major keys. Issue #9 and Issue #42. I left these till last. Even though I had done over 40 comics successfully, I was still “shaking in my boots!” I grabbed Issue #9, first appearance of Revan. A stunning cover. Apologies for the blurry pic! I didn’t realize this till after I’d removed the sticker.

Issue #9 with sticker

Seeing this beautiful cover in front of me made me even more anxious. I was literally shaking (could’ve been the Red Bull I’d just chugged, I guess!). Taking a deep breath, I had at it.

It worked!

Sticker removed

And boy does the cover look sooo much better! Epic!

Next I grabbed Issue #42, first appearance of Malak. Another sweet cover. I don’t have a before shot of this cover, but suffice to say, it looked ugly. And now it doesn’t!

Issue #42

To conclude this rather long-winded story (apologies), always test whatever you see on YouTube first. Never assume that your results will be the same. We live in a chaotic world, guys. There are so many variables. We must, if we hope to succeed, devise our own methods through trial and error. But all in all, I have to say I really enjoyed this process, and I’ve learned a new skill. Cool! Comment below if you’ve tried doing this. Did it work or flop? Or do you just leave price stickers on cover?

Until next time, guys …

Star Wars Day!

Happy Star Wars Day everyone! Time to pull out the Star Wars saga, grab some popcorn, and shout “May the Fourth be with you!”

This year Star Wars Day heralds the beginning of an awesome month of treats for fans. On 27 May the long-awaited and highly anticipated (for me, at least), TV series Obi-Wan premieres on Disney+. Ewan McGregor reprises his role of Kenobi, which will be epic to say the least. The show was originally scheduled for release on 25 May to coincide with the release date of the original Star Wars: A New Hope way back in 1977, but the date was pushed back a couple of days. Bit of a bummer. Would’ve been a nice homage to the original. If that’s not exciting enough, though, apparently we get a double dose on 27 May with the first two episodes being made available to stream!

But hold onto your seats! Before all that yummy screen goodness drops, we have the release of the new comic series Obi-Wan in just three days! That’s right! On the 7 May we get to the first in a series of Kenobi adventures in comic book form (in Australia, anyway)!

Standard Cover

From what I’ve heard, these stories are narrated by an aging Obi-Wan (probably not long before the events of A New Hope). We follow Obi-Wan as he reflects on his past adventures, some even going right back to his childhood. I’m beyond pumped to see how his story plays out!

Gist Variant Cover

As one would expect, Issue #1 will be released with several different covers. So far I’ve found four. I’m sure there’s probably more! As for my humble self, I’m sticking with just the two covers shown above. That’ll do me! Variant covers can get quite overwhelming to try to collect!

May the fourth be with you, guys!!