Marvel’s Star Wars: Age of Republic anthology series kicks off this week with Qui-Gon Jinn #1. The one-shot is written by Jody Houser, with art by Cory Smith, inks by Walden Wong, colors by Java Tartaglia, and letters by Travis Lanham.
About the issue:
Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn feels tension between what the Jedi Order is and how it is viewed by the galaxy. He sets out to find balance.
First off, Jody Houser was born to write Star Wars comics. She spoke on a panel at last year’s Celebration, and you could just feel her passion for this world. Houser nails the character voices and understands the complexities of the mythology. The Star Wars prequels gets a bad rap, but the Republic era is a source for great stories if put in the right hands. This issue feels much more like a story out of The Clone Wars than Attack of the Clones.
Qui-Gon Jinn #1 is a character study as opposed to an action-driven story. It’s all about Qui-Gon’s conflicted feelings regarding the Jedi Order, and a brief quest he takes to sort them out. It’s admittedly a simple and light tale, but there’s only so much you can do in 20 pages.
That being said, Qui-Gon is one of the most interesting characters to come out of the Republic era, so a simple story of his still allows for a lot. Even in The Phantom Menace, we see him butting heads with the rest of the Order. In doing a deeper study of him, Houser is able to explore the complexities and contradictions of the Jedi, and show how wise Jinn was. This series should make even the most jaded fans rethink their stance on the potential of the prequel era.
Some of the modern Star Wars comics have opted for a more photorealistic art style, and it doesn’t always land. It takes you out of the comic. However, Cory Smith and Walden Wong’s work leans more towards traditional comic art, and it’s for the better. It allows you to sink into the story and just enjoy it. Their character depictions are spot on, as is the way they draw these things and places we’ve seen in so many movies and TV shows. This feels like Star Wars. Plus, what action we do get is dynamic and full of energy. Java Tartaglia’s sunsets are majestic, just like the way he colors alien worlds.
The Star Wars: Age of Republic series starts off on a slow but stimulating note. This galaxy allows writers and artists to tap into their inner child and have fun, and you can feel that in Qui-Gon Jinn #1.