Star Wars: Age of Republic – Anakin Skywalker #1 Review

by Dennis Keithly

Anakin rejects the necessity of war to do what is right in Star Wars: Age of Republic – Anakin Skywalker #1.

This article contains plot points for Star Wars: Age of Republic – Anakin Skywalker #1.

Star Wars: Age of Republic Anakin Skywalker #1 Cover

Star Wars: Age of Republic – Anakin Skywalker #1

Writer: Jody Houser | Artists: Cory Smith; Wilton Santos | Inker: Walden Wong | Colorist: Java Tartaglia | Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham | Cover Artist: Paolo Rivera | Production Designer: Anthony Gambino | Editor: Mark Paniccia | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman

Ask Star Wars fans why Anakin fell to the dark side, and many of them will tell you his efforts save his wife Padmé Amidala from death that lead to the fall. While that is certainly true, it isn’t the only reason. Anakin was a hero of the Republic who bravely fought in the Clone Wars. It was during the Clone Wars that Anakin, often through Chancellor Palpatine’s tutorship, learned of the bureaucracy of the Republic. The Clone Wars also made Anakin aware that the Jedi’s role as generals in the war was not an ideal situation. Age of Republic – Anakin Skywalker #1 highlights how Anakin trusted his own feelings and acted against the will of the Republic military machine and sometimes the order of the Jedi Council to do what he though was right.

Tactics of War vs. Jedi Responsibility

Anakin Skywalker #1 commences with a battle in the Corvair Sector. As he is legendary for doing, Anakin swoops into the battle and changes the tide for the Republic. What might have been a defeat instead becomes a Republic victory. Afterwards, Anakin has a strategy meeting with Admiral Yularen. The Admiral reports the droids from the battle came from the third moon of Kudon. This is unexpected because the Kudon had not aligned itself with either side of the war. As a side note, the Kudon are making their second appearance in Star Wars in Anakin Skywalker #1. They first appeared in Poe Dameron Annual #2.

Anakin is bothered by the predicted high casualty rate of a proposed mission to destroy the droid factory on Kudon III. Yularen brings up a number of counterpoints. First, they have a unique and limited opportunity to strike the factory before Separatist reinforcements arrive. Second, lives will be lost, and his responsibility is to make sure they aren’t Republic or Clone lives.

Regardless, Anakin isn’t satisfied. He recognizes the military realities of this mission, but he can’t accept that as a Jedi, this is the only solution. Slaughtering innocents is simply wrong. His former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, agrees. The best advice he can give is for Anakin to trust the Force.

Star Wars: Age of Republic Anakin Skywalker #1 - Anakin against the droids

Striking at Anakin’s Past

Still unsatisfied about Yularen’s proposed attack plan, Anakin takes matters into his own hands. He and Artoo fly to Kudon III and investigate the droid foundry. All of Anakin’s instincts are confirmed. The Kudon hadn’t freely joined the Separatists. Instead, many of them had been taken as slaves and forced to work in the foundry. Anakin’s past life as a slave surfaces in his thoughts. Jody Houser wrote a clever moment that Cory Smith and Wilton Santos illustrated well in which Anakin’s anger plays across his face. It is a subtle hint to the dark side that lies within him. When he leaps into action and begins destroying droids, it is a nice call back to Attack of the Clones. Where Anakin Skywalker #1 differs from the film is that he couldn’t save his mother, but he can and does save the Kudon.

Anakin Skywalker #1 - Obi-wan and Yularen

Concluding Thoughts on Anakin Skywalker #1

Jody Houser continues her masterful work with the Age of Republic series in Anakin Skywalker #1. As with prior issues, Anakin Skywalker #1 contains a message. Obi-Wan Kenobi #1 and Jango Fett #1 contained themes of mentorship. The Age of Republic Special, for which Houser provided a story, discussed themes of the forgotten and how the war impacted them. Anakin Skywalker #1 contains a message of doing what is right and not settling. In some ways, Age of Republic is like a Forces of Destiny series for adults.

Anakin Skywalker #1 draws upon a lot of nostalgia. Anankin wears his robes and armor from The Clone Wars for one. So does Obi-Wan. The opening battle feels like something ripped right off the screen from The Clone Wars. Houser, Smith, and Santo did a great job giving fans a familiar setting and feeling. Also, there is a hint of the relationship that Obi-Wan and Anakin had in the Obi-Wan and Anakin miniseries. However, even Obi-Wan admits that Anakin has come a long way since those days.

Perhaps what really makes Anakin Skywalker #1 work is Anakin himself. He is the hero, but he isn’t flawless. Just a hint of darkness simmers below his surface. The good heart that Qui-Gon discovered in The Phantom Menace is evident. So to is the frustration that made it possible for Chancellor Palpatine to manipulate his fall to the dark side. This issue is another must read from the series.

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