Star Wars #15 (Marvel, 2015)
YES, I know, I’m stuck on the comics at the moment. And YES, that is actually Obi-Wan’s flowing mane that is waving its way over the Star Wars logo above.
I promise I have not run out of things to say about TCW and I DEFINITELY WILL HAVE MANY THINGS TO SAY ABOUT REBELS IN A FEW DAYS because I could practically write an entire entry about the minute-long clip of this weekend’s upcoming episode that I watched earlier today. BUT, in the meantime, I reread this comic recently and then I got distracted feelings ways about it and so now you all get to read the byproducts of that. (I tend to write these recaps in snippets over long periods of time, so I push out whichever entries are the most “done” at any given time.)
With that: why do I do this to myself, dear readers? Why do I seek out Kenobi Pain? There must be some kind of pathology at work here because if someone’s like “hey you should check this out, Obi-Wan is really super sad in it in ways you maybe didn’t even consider yet” my initial reaction is always 1) THAT’S AWFUL my poor baby OMG, followed immediately by 2) WHERE CAN I READ/WATCH IT? I am sorry, Obi-Wan. I feel like I am part of the problem here.
Anyways, welcome to this issue of Marvel’s general Star Wars comic series, Star Wars #15. Before I even get to the actual content, I want us all to take a moment to savor the disclaimer on the inside cover:
This cracks me up whenever I see it in the books, comics, or films for this franchise, only because if there is actually a person out there who is going to read this comic and be like “OH MY GOD they stole my life story!” well, mostly I just feel really sad for them and I hope someone is going to come help them soon.
Anyways, this one requires a bit of setup since the premise is frankly ridiculous (what else is new?) The background here is that Luke Skywalker, seeking knowledge about the Jedi at some point post-Episode-4, somehow has come into possession of journals written by Obi-Wan Kenobi while he lived on Tatooine, and this comic book describes information culled from at least one of those entries. As I often do, I have Questions:
- Why did Obi-Wan keep a journal describing, among other things, his emotional pain and the fact that he was looking after Luke? This really does not seem like an Obi-Wan thing to do. Wouldn’t he have been worried that someone would find it and blow his and Luke’s (poorly-crafted) cover, for one thing? Was this like part of his work with his therapist or something? Was he hoping some student from USC would find it and turn his life story into a movie series?
- How did Luke come to own this journal? For someone who made a bunch of big claims about never coming back to Tatooine, he evidently must have done it more than just the time they went to pick up Han from Jabba’s house. Even then, what did he do to find this journal? Just show up and ransack Obi-Wan’s old house after he died? (Update: As I have since learned as I worked my way back through this series, the answer here is yes: yes, he did just ransack a dead man’s home.)
- I don’t understand why Obi-Wan, having become a ghost who can communicate with Luke, didn’t just tell Luke the story/stories here himself instead of making him read through his old Tales From The Desert livejournal or whatever, but OK.
At any rate, this crazy setup alone means I already love this comic and we haven’t even gotten to the story, so let’s get to it!
I’m a Pilot, You Know
We open on the desert, as Star Wars often does. Here, Little Luke Skywalker, who’s like…I dunno, 9? He’s in that not-quite-tweenage super-gawky phase, and he is flying a skyhopper while his friends all cheer him on, including Biggs, who is razzing him via a walkie-talkie!
Guess who’s creeping on Luke from the shadows? Why, it’s Obi-Wan! And we kick things off right out of the gate with Obi-Wan lamenting that Luke is so very much like his dad…
…and, like everyone in Star Wars, that’s what he’s afraid of.
Luke is SO WHOLESOME and gee-golly-gosh here that I am developing a toothache just reading this. I know I don’t get to talk about the OT characters much on this blog, but know right now that Luke is EASILY one of my favorite characters in the franchise. I’ve got a soft spot for the big-hearted universe-saving Good Guys, and he’s just so incredibly kind and sweet and please send help because Star Wars has eaten my brain. Someday I will force you all to read my thoughts about the Luke/Obi-Wan conversation on Tatooine from A New Hope, which is the scene that I can pinpoint as the one where, upon first viewing, 6-year-old me knew I would love Star Wars forever. And it will not be brief. You’ve been warned.
So anyways, Obi-Wan’s watching Luke fly because he’s trying to assess whether or not Luke has that very special curse known as being Strong in the Force. Luke, almost on cue, pretty much immediately crashes his skyhopper. LOL. Well at least Obi-Wan doesn’t have to have any concerns about Luke’s paternity.
Uncle Owen, Did Not Ask For This Bullshit
Back at the Lars homestead, Luke is getting chewed out by his uncle: the skyhopper’s wrecked, Luke! Luke is all “don’t worry I just need a few parts I can fix anything I can fly anything I’ve been a pilot all my life!”
Luke continues: “well next time I race I can…” and Owen is like UH I DON’T THINK SO. You are grounded for real. GET USED TO WALKING, KID. Please enjoy this fantastic portrait of the Lars family. I DON’T KNOW WHERE LUKE GETS THAT FACE FROM.
Later, Luke, genetically compelled to do so, looks wistfully out at the horizon as the suns set and he thinks about Owen’s words.
…so, is all of this information for this scene coming from Obi-Wan’s journal? Obi-Wan was such a snoop! Go home, Kenobi! It’s getting dark outside! Damn.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Handsome and Very Depressed Bodyguard
We now cut to Obi-Wan who explains, via a sort of narrator/voiceover thing, that due to an earlier run-in he’d had with the Hutts he’s trying to be less visible than ever before. I have so many feelings about Hermit Kenobi you guys. So many. All of them sad. Someday I’m finally going to get that Kenobi movie I’ve been asking for all day every day for years, and then I’m going to be all Anakin Skywalker “What have I done?“ when I have to see the sadness in action.
But despite Obi-Wan’s need to lay low, he has work to do for reasons that are heart-squeezing and will become apparent later. So, he takes a job helping the Jawas by protecting them from the Tuskens at night in exchange for something he needs.
He’s loitering outside their sandcrawler, standing guard, when he says to Qui-Gon’s force ghost:
Oh sure, I am completely OK. Everything’s cool.
Then Obi-Wan is like “well whatever, Desert Bodyguard Who Cries Himself to Sleep Every Night isn’t the worst job I’ve ever had, because OMG the fucking CLONE WARS. Those were pretty bad and the end result of that gig was FUCKING HORRIBLE.” And then he somehow seems almost WISTFUL for the Clone Wars in spite of everything and JOIN THE CLUB, Kenobi. We all are.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Just Kill Me Already
So Obi-Wan’s fighting off some Tuskens, and musing to himself while doing so that this would be easier with a lightsaber but whatevs, he thinks he could use the exercise. I can’t even believe this guy is upright anymore given the hundreds of electrocutions, injuries, near-death experiences and dramatic jumping-out-of-exploding-things he’s already experienced, but sure, Kenobi: you should probably spend your waning years of physical health beating things with heavy sticks.
He acknowledges that he’s supposed to be laying low, so he shouldn’t even be taking this bodyguard job, but he knows that he’s not Yoda: he won’t live for hundreds of years. And when he dies, Luke’s going to need to be able to survive on his own without a Handsome Fairy Godfather…
OBI-WAN KENOBI, I wish you had a middle name I could use to show you how upset I am at this. STOP BEING THIS WAY. The Skywalkers owe this guy so much. I hope part of Luke’s exile on Planet Ireland involved building a goddamned Kenobi SHRINE. Episode 8 should just be Luke telling Rey that Obi-Wan was the best human person who ever lived for 2 and a half hours.
Obi-Wan Kenobi, Still Desperately In Need of a Spa Day
Obi-Wan, having successfully thwarted the Tuskens, gets kudos from the Jawas, who clearly think he’s a superhero because he is. He heads off into the desert to go back home, lamenting:
Still, he thinks, he enjoyed the chance to be a hero again for a moment. [sobs] He felt like a Jedi again, and he hopes he’s not the only one who’s feeling Force-y…he hopes Luke is, too.
RIP My Heart
So it’s later, and the Jawas are having their usual yard sale ala the one we see Owen and Luke go to when they buy Artoo and Threepio in A New Hope. First, Owen is browsing for something specific:
As you’ll recall, this is a priority of his in Episode 4 as well. Did this man really spend like a decade or more trying to find a droid that speaks Bocce? Wow.
As Luke is getting ready to pay for a couple of droids, one of the Jawas drops a box of parts at his feet and refuses to accept further payment for them. Luke is like “WTF, you’re just leaving these here?” and then he sees what’s in the box and is like OMG OMG: Skyhopper parts! Just what I wanted from Santa!!! Luke makes the presumption that Owen must have bought them for him, and he is elated. LOOK AT LUKE:
And Obi-Wan’s FACE here, everyone. HIS. FACE. This man has been through so much and LOOK HOW HAPPY HE IS TO SEE LUKE SO HAPPY. This is so sweet I am going to just go crawl into this hole over here and cry for a thousand years. Anakin Skywalker, you atrociously stupid idiot, why did you ruin everything. I still love you, because Obi-Wan’s not the only sucker around here, but really: why. WHY.
OK, honest to God: I do not know why the writers of every single thing in the franchise hate me so much. I have given them so much of my money and time and THIS IS HOW THEY REPAY ME? WITH OBI-WAN BEING PAINFULLY SWEET AND KIND AND LUKE BEING ADORABLE?
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Will Attempt To Flirt His Way Out Of Anything Forever Until The End of Time
Not content to rest on their laurels after that last scene, the writers of this comic then bring me the NEXT segment which is somehow even more emotionally damaging. Let this be a lesson to everyone: never, ever, ever underestimate the ability of the people who write for Star Wars to make Obi-Wan sadder. Never. I’m going to be totally honest with you all and say I’m getting NERVOUS about what’s going on in Rebels this season, considering this fact.
We’re now in Obi-Wan’s depressingly sad and empty and grief-filled house, where he’s lamenting to Qui-Gon’s force ghost and/or just talking to himself about how bad the food is out here as he attempts to eat snake stew of some sort without barfing.
Just then, there’s a knock on his door, and he’s like “huh? Who would ever want to talk to me?”
Oh! It’s Uncle Owen. And he has the box of skyhopper parts with him, and he is PISSED.
Obi-Wan immediately defaults to his usual tactic that he employs when someone is hostile towards him: make a witty remark and try to look handsome and hope they get too dazzled to stay mad! (Hey, it’d work on me!)
Remarkably, Uncle Owen seems immune to his charms. Wow. Is this the first time anyone’s been able to resist the Kenobi Flirt Ray? Owen, I think you may possess important knowledge for the universe at large because usually by now anyone in his direct line of sight has either agreed with him, tried to kiss him, or at least done something stupid out of distraction and fallen to their deaths.
Uncle Owen, Loves His Family But Is Being Kind of a Tool
So Owen is like: look here, Kenobi. If you think I’m some moron who doesn’t know why Jawas are giving us free parts and why our house is the ONLY one that hasn’t been attacked by Tuskens or whatever since you got here, you are as dumb as you are handsome.
Obi-Wan continues to play innocent: sounds like you guys are just really really lucky! Well, the Force works in mysterious ways! Good for you guys! Ha!
Owen is like NAH the FORCE does not work in mysterious ways…
Owen is like LOOK HERE, you ASKED me to watch over this kid. And that is what I’m doing. But ALSO in order for me to do that, I have to keep him the hell away from you. He accentuates his anger here by dumping out all the skyhopper parts at Obi-Wan’s feet and my heart snaps in half.
I’ve Said It Before But I’ve Never Meant It This Much: Oh Why Star Wars
Owen goes wide: Obi-Wan’s a dangerous man and Owen needs to keep Luke from getting mixed up in this Jedi craziness because otherwise Luke’s going to end up just like his dad: DEAD because OBI-WAN GOT HIM KILLED.
For real: Owen and Beru were evidently told some version of the “Anakin is dead” story, but believe that he and Obi-Wan somehow ended up in a situation that got Anakin killed and it may or may not have been Obi-Wan’s fault and I’m just now realizing that maybe OBI-WAN ACTUALLY TOLD THEM IT WAS HIS FAULT because that does seem like the sort of thing he’d do.
Obi-Wan stammers out that he wasn’t trying to interfere, and he’s not trying to train Luke or anything — mentioning that Owen has apparently already put the kibosh on that idea.
Then Owen takes out a knife and aims directly for my heart, asking Obi-Wan a question that makes Obi-Wan look somehow sadder than almost any other time in any part of the canon:
WHAT. THE FUCK. STAR WARS. I have never wanted to slap Anakin in the face more than I do right this minute. Sidious too, but one thing at a time here. THIS RIGHT HERE? IS SOME BULLSHIT. That little weasel is out there killing rebels and yelling about things and Force-choking random Imperials and probably FEELING SORRY FOR HIMSELF SOMEHOW because blahblahblah The Jedi Are Evil and Oh Padme and wah wah wah, and here Obi-Wan is living in the fucking wastelands having to listen to this garbage and the very worst part is that HE BELIEVES IT. LOOK AT HIM: he definitely agrees with Owen. He does feel like he had a hand in Anakin’s “death”. Anakin Middlename Skywalker: I swear to GOD, you had better have kissed that man full on the mouth once you Force-Ghosted it because HE PUT UP WITH SO MUCH CRAP BECAUSE OF YOU. He deserved none of this. NONE.
Obi-Wan Kenobi, Just Wanted To Help
Owen says that he and Obi-Wan both know that if Luke leaves Tatooine, he’s not coming back alive. He’s trying to keep Luke from harm, just like Obi-Wan wants him to. Obi-Wan, STILL LOOKING AT THE FLOOR BECAUSE HE IS EMOTIONALLY DESTROYED, says:
Owen repeats: we don’t want your help, OK? Then he really rubs some salt in the wounds (as if we needed more,) by telling Obi-Wan that he’s dangerous and bad and always makes things worse. Obi-Wan absolutely did not already feel this way about himself to begin with, Owen, so really: thanks for telling him this.
Owen leaves, and Obi-Wan closes the door.
Obi-Wan Kenobi, Knows His Strengths Sort Of
As he reflects on what just happened, Obi-Wan is like “you know what? Owen is right! MY WHOLE LIFE BLOWS AND BAD SHIT HAPPENS TO ME ALL THE TIME. But you know what I AM good at? Protecting Luke, which I’ll do as long as I’m living, and also I am good at Not Dying. It was my practically my major back in Jedi School”:
I’m not even in a good place to start unpacking the whole Maul thing here for SO MANY REASONS, so I’m just leaving this snippet here without comment, except to say look how pretty he is even when he’s a sand-caked emotional wreck, and it’s killing me that he busted out his lightsaber here to reflect on what a badass he knows he still is.
I’m Really Glad Leia Finally Killed This Guy
As this issue comes to a close, we cut to Jabba’s palace, which sadly is lacking a disco ball or Quinlan Vos, where he’s auditioning people to go after this Mystery Man who caused trouble for him:
I do love how often taxes come up in Star Wars. Anyways, Jabba’s found his guy that he wants to put on the case. He…does not look like a pleasant customer, in that he appears to be some sort of Darksider Chewbacca:
Looks like Obi-Wan’s in for a bad time again! Next time, on Star Wars: Obi-Wan’s Life Is Still a Fucking Nightmare, Owen will find himself with an unlikely hero, Obi-Wan will introduce us to his new family, and I will continue to cry a hundred tears per minute. I’ll see you all then!
More Star Wars Comics
Luke’s not feeling very Jedi; Vader gets a heaping helping of sand.
Han and Leia bitch at each other so much that it puts Obi-Wan and Anakin to shame; Luke is so intent on his Personal Destiny Quest that he’s even willing to be exposed to sand.
Luke picks up a copy of Obi-Wan’s traumatic autobiography; Boba Fett does a shitty job bounty-hunting; Vader learns a Shocking Truth that will lead him to utter one of Star Wars’ most famous lines.