Obi-Wan and Anakin #3: Custody Battle

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Obi-Wan and Anakin #3: (Issue 3 of 5. To start at the first issue, go here.) 

We now return to our brief detour from Animationland, as we continue to make our way through the Obi-Wan and Anakin comic series from Marvel. In today’s issue, Obi-Wan Kenobi unknowingly enters into the custody battle that will shape the entire rest of his life and a good portion of his afterlife — the one between him and Sidious for the custody of Anakin Skywalker’s soul. Unsurprisingly, Anakin’s going to spend a lot of time in this issue Feeling Conflicted Ways About Things and Obi-Wan, a mere 3 years into this mentoring gig, is already going to be lamenting what a terrible failure he is at training Anakin. These two needed family therapy so badly I can’t even deal. I hope their Force Ghosts got to get SUPER drunk together and let it all out at some point.

OK! So the boys are on board that airship they were riding in before with Kolara, Mother Pran, and Grecker, three random violent crazies from this weirdass planet. Obi-Wan thanks Grecker for their assistance in getting him and Anakin to the Secret Source of that Ancient Mystery Distress Signal that brought them there, and tells them that it’s fine if they have to drop them off elsewhere earlier — he and Anakin can make their way on their own.

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Grecker and Mother Pran are like NO NO — we totally want to help you and it’s not for our own gains or anything at all. Obi-Wan is like “well I’m glad you guys are getting along! I’m sure nothing shifty is happening here!”

Why Can’t You Have Nice Things?

Just then, something drops out of the sky in a package, and Grecker races to collect it. So, apparently a common occurrence here is that some kook sends up presents on balloons and kites and they’re things like little artifacts and pretty things.
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Kolara and Anakin are doing some bonding over this — Anakin asks what’s in the package, and Kolara explains that it’s probably something that the adults don’t want her to have. Something like this, she says, pulling a similar one out of her pocket:
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So, thanks a lot, Kolara. Anakin’s already going to be getting his mind poisoned enough in this issue without you piling on with the whole “but The MAN won’t let us possess beautiful things; don’t you think that’s some bullshit?”

Anakin’s reaction here pretty much says it all:

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Oh, great.

Recurring Theme: Bad Guy Date Night
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We flash back now to Anakin’s Big Night Out with his wicked future boss. Palpatine and Anakin, disguised impeccably under their hoods, are sitting at a booth in this trashy bar in the underworld of Coruscant.

You guys. YOU. GUYS. Palpatine here. OK. So, first he tells Anakin he’s so GRATEFUL that Anakin decided to join him for this little bonding time. Now, last I checked Anakin didn’t decide to do anything here: Obi-Wan didn’t want to let him go but neither of them could say no to Palpatine because he’s King of the Universe. It’s not like this was Anakin’s idea. Anyways, he tells him that he knows it must be HARD to get away from the Jedi Temple what with how much WORK he has to do to be a padawan. Then he evilly says that he’s so jealous of Anakin: as a Jedi, Anakin never has to make ANY choices for himself! Gosh that must be so nice! As Chancellor, Palpatine has to make hard choices all the time!

Just to recap here, Palpatine:

A) Pushed the narrative that he is a selfless man devoted to good throughout the galaxy at great personal cost;
B) Planted a farm-sized packet of seeds labeled “The Jedi Take Away All Your Power Over Your Own Life” into Anakin’s fertile brain
C) Fell all over himself flattering the hell out of Anakin and making him feel like this powerful, important person appreciates his company.

I hate Palpatine, but I also love this (and I also love Palpatine anyways because I love absolutely everyone in Star Wars even if they’re evil.) Like, really: consider for a moment that this is THE EMPEROR having this conversation with 12-YEAR-OLD DARTH VADER. I mean, these guys go WAY back. This plan was in motion for so long before any of them even had the slightest INKLING. And he knew alllllll the buttons to press here.

From My Point of View The Jedi Are Losers

Anakin looks stricken by this: oh! I guess the Jedi DO kind of take away my choices! Gosh, as a former slave that sort of seems…uncomfortably close to the life I lived before! Thank goodness someone who cares deeply about me, like this rotten soulless creature in a disguise, was here to put this spin on things for me!

Anyways, looking like he’s all but fighting back tears, Anakin unconvincingly says that he loves being a Jedi:
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Palpatine is like “by the way, everyone in this bar is a scumbag who supports or even actively engages in slavery — oops! Surely I shouldn’t have brought THAT up. What with all of your childhood slavery-related trauma and all! MY BAD.”

Anakin tries to play it off and says that he totally doesn’t even think about being a slave anymore, which is hilarious only because he’s only been a Jedi for three measly years and BEING A SLAVE, and leaving your own mother behind in slavery, doesn’t seem like the kind of thing you’d be “over” in a few years.
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Palpatine practically laughs in his face and is like “yeah no one is buying that, Skywalker.” Well, no argument here on that one, Palps.

From My Point of View Also The Senate Are Losers

Oh hey! Don’t forget that we also need to make sure Anakin has little trust for Senators, in addition to the Jedi! This will come in handy when his two best friends, a Senator and a Jedi, attempt to talk some sense into his thick, rage-filled skull.

So Anakin is like “OK, well if this place is full of people who support slavery, why the hell doesn’t the Senate do something about it?” and Palpatine is like “HA! Kid, half the people here are SENATORS!”

Testing the Evil Waters

He points out one specific Senator who is gambling with a group of people. He laments that this guy is so crooked and corrupt and I heard that he used a private email server and stuff that was totally horrible and bad and so much worse than anything Palpatine would ever do. Oh! If only the Senator’s luck would run out, and his chance cubes give him an unfavorable result!
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Anakin concentrates as he listens to Palpatine wax on and on about how if this guy would just start losing money, he’d lose all his powahhh.

This First-Round Interview Went Well

Then — who could have guessed? — something peculiar happens. Why, the chance cubes do not land in this guy’s favor! WEIRD.

Palpatine is SO FUCKING EXCITED ABOUT THIS. Like, this is a man who went home later that night and literally danced around his room because he’s clearly like “OH THIS IS GONNA BE FUN!”

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Yeah this guy really kept his Evil on the down-low. I can totally see how everyone missed it.

His insane, megalomaniacal cackling earns them some looks and after a brief confrontation where he explains his laughing away as the result of “his son” having told him a joke, the two leave.

As they’re walking down the street away from the bar, Palpatine now decides to show his hand a little by asking Anakin if being a Jedi allows someone to, oh, I dunno…move objects with the Force?
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He asks Anakin if such an ability might be used to, say, move a chance cube? Anakin says nothing in reply. Palpatine smirks. I shake my fist angrily. The scene ends.

Oh Why Star Wars

Back on the airship, Obi-Wan is chatting with Grecker some more. Grecker ties back this conversation to the one we just saw by asking Obi-Wan if Anakin is his son and I clutch my chest and gird myself for pain.

Now, OK: one thing I feel compelled to point out here is that Obi-Wan is, what? 28 here? And Anakin is 12? I mean, I suppose he could technically have been Anakin’s dad, of course, but he’d have been pretty young, and let’s be honest here: Ewan McGregor is a total babyface who STILL looks ten years younger than he is. It seems like a leap to just assume that Obi-Wan’s his actual dad. But I dunno, maybe that’s commonplace in the GFFA. I mean, there are also people here who live to be 900+ years old and “Space Monk/Wizard” is an actual thing Obi-Wan writes in as his occupation on his W-2 every year, so I believe that someone being a single teen dad who accompanies his young son to a post-Armageddon planet for fun is not even remotely noteworthy here.
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In any case, Obi-Wan sets Grecker straight: no, he’s not my son, he’s something between a student and an apprentice and a gigantic pain in my ass.

Meanwhile, Kolara is doing some low-key middle school flirting with Anakin, and I’m no longer a 12-year-old girl but having been one at one point, I’m not going to fault her for this. He’s fixing his lightsaber when she inquires about what he’s doing:
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She follows this up with just sort of randomly shitting on the motivations of the Jedi for no real reason:
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Again: thanks, Kolara. We don’t really need anymore people doing this to Anakin, but OK. I guess this won’t be the last time some girl makes Anakin question his entire life, so, whatever.

Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Unwilling Parent

Obi-Wan is now going on to explain to Grecker that he took in Anakin as a promise to his dying mentor, and that Anakin is a Special Situation that requires a shitton of hands-on parenting and that he’s totally fine with how this pretty much upended everything for him. Doesn’t he LOOK at ease with everything?
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Grecker, amusingly, is like “uhhh you sound kinda bummed about this whole Jedi Dad thing.”

Kolara, now having discovered that Anakin Can Fix (and Break) Anything, calls over Mother Pran: this kid might be of some use to us!

I Have Suffered Enough, Star Wars

Obi-Wan tells Grecker that it’s not like he doesn’t want to take good care of Anakin…he’s just being a normal kid and asking questions and challenging authority just like this parenting book about tweens that he bought for his Kindle says he should. It’s just that…well…Obi-Wan’s not sure he’s up to the task of being a good enough Space Dad for Anakin.
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Well. Thanks for this, Star Wars. I really needed this in my life. Have I not suffered enough? As usual, your answer to this question is evidently: nope.

Grecker, wanting to make this hurt a little more for us all by speaking the truth, is like “but haven’t you been reading ANY of this comic so far, Kenobi? That kid basically gets heart-eyes when he sees you. You are his idol! He wants to be you when he grows up.” Please keep in mind, as you let this sink in, that Grecker has known Obi-Wan and Anakin for all of maybe 15 minutes at this point, and EVEN THIS GUY knows that Anakin loves Obi-Wan.
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Obi-Wan, again unable to take this with all of the “he loves you” implications that it includes because Obi-wan is afraid of love and also part of him doesn’t feel worthy of it and I hate everything ever in perpetuity throughout the universe right now, brushes it off as “well Anakin might respect me [LOL OK Kenobi] but he thinks the Jedi Order is for suckers and he wants to leave so I’m the actual worst Jedi ever and I wish I’d been killed by bounty hunters or had accidentally knocked up the Duchess of Mandalore so I wouldn’t have to be here right now.”

Grecker wonders: will you let him go? What will happen to him if you do?

Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Eternal Bad-Day-Haver

Obi-Wan, grimly, explains that very few people ever leave the Jedi Order. It’s like trying to get out of a wireless carrier contract, or a doomsday cult: it happens, but it’s rare, and when it does happen, it’s messy and there’s a lot of crying involved. Things will get…
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Anakin Skywalker, Used By Everyone

Anakin is continuing to show off his mechanic/handyman skills to Kolara and Mother Pran. Pran takes Kolara aside and is like “YES! This kid will be PERFECT for our schemes!” Kolara agrees, but feels hesitation: Anakin seems really nice and she was kinda hoping he’d ask her to the 8th grade dance this weekend…but if we have to…I guess we’ll kidnap him.

Man: life really sucks when you’re an all-powerful hero. Everyone wants a piece of the action.

Suddenly, the ship is rocked by an attack from what Grecker calls “fishers” — those creeptastic skeleton-type creatures from the preview image for this issue. Yeesh! This planet is bringing it in the monster department.

Obi-Wan calls to Anakin to help him secure the ship and get away from the baddies. Anakin goes all “I’ll save you m’lady” to Kolara, but she swipes his lightsaber instead — tossing it out the window to Anakin’s dismay.
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Immediately after this, Mother Pran knocks Anakin out cold and the girls haul him away. Obi-Wan catches this just as they make their getaway and is distraught:
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As Mother Pran, Kolara, and an unconscious Anakin fly off, Mother Pran turns around and takes aim at the airship that Obi-Wan and Grecker are still on. Kolara protests: no! Don’t kill them! One of them is the handsomest Jedi ever!

Pran is unmoved: it has to be done. She aims, fires, and as this issue ends, the ship is blown to smithereens.

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Gotta love comic book sound effects. 

…and that’s where this issue leaves us! Will Anakin give it all up to become the Mr. Fix-It of the Thunderdome? Will Obi-Wan ever stop blaming himself for Anakin’s problems (let’s just go ahead and admit that the answer to that one is a resounding “no”)? Can Palpatine possibly get any creepier? Only time will tell! Until next time — thanks for reading!