Star Wars: Age Of The Republic – Anakin Skywalker (2019) No. 1 review


In the latest Star Wars: Age Of The Republic comic, Anakin Skywalker is faced with the difficult task of trying to prevent the deaths of countless innocent lives in the Clone Wars.

Star Wars: Age Of The Republic – Anakin Skywalker (2019) No. 1

Writer: Jody Houser

Artist: Cory Smith, Wilton Santos

Star Wars: Age Of The Republic – Anakin Skywalker cover (Credit: Marvel Comics)

Star Wars: Age Of The Republic – Anakin Skywalker No. 1 begins in quintessential Star Wars fashion. Amidst a formidable battle between the Republic’s clone army and the Separatist droid army, one cocky pilot makes quick work of the enemies – Anakin Skywalker, of course. But his jubilant mood is about to come to an abrupt end.

When reporting to Admiral Yularen, Anakin is given a new task. He must lead an assault on a droid foundry located on one of the moons of Kudo. Yularen has come up with the attack plan, but Anakin is disturbed by the high casualty count. His pleas, however, fall on deaf ears. Scout reports suggest the Kudon now side with the Separatists, and since Yularen can’t allow the enemy any more time to create their army, he greenlights the strike that will lead to the deaths of the innocent Kudon workers in the foundry.

This attack doesn’t sit well with Anakin and following a conversation with his Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin decides to take action on his own. A valuable lesson about instinct and war will be learned today by all involved in this fight.

When reading Star Wars: Age Of The Republic – Anakin Skywalker No. 1, Anakin’s dialogue about compassion from the prequel trilogy springs to mind immediately:

"Attachment is forbidden. Possession is forbidden. Compassion, which I would define as…unconditional love…is essential to a Jedi’s life. So, you might say, that we are encouraged to love."

Indeed, it is this ‘unconditional love’ that motivates Anakin in this book and endears him to the reader. He is adamant that innocent lives are not sacrificed unnecessarily, and especially not by his hand. There is an ironic tragedy to his compassion in this issue, given his story arc in the Star Wars universe. But that does not negate the characterisation that Jody Houser builds in this instalment.

Anakin’s rise from being a slave on Tatooine, to a revered Jedi Knight, and then the villain Darth Vader, it all springs from one place – fear. Those same emotions fuel his desperate actions in this book, as well, and for Star Wars fans, it makes for a believable story.

The art is more of an homage to Star Wars: The Clone Wars and it works well on page. The addition of Admiral Yularen, a recurring character across Star Wars properties, was also ingenious.

Anakin in Star Wars: Age Of The Republic – Anakin Skywalker (Credit: Marvel Comics)

What would have added to the enjoyment of this instalment would have been the inclusion of Ahsoka Tano. The events of Star Wars: Age Of The Republic – Anakin Skywalker No. 1 are set closer to the timeline of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, yet it would have been fun to bring in the dynamic between Anakin and Ahsoka, if only to add some much-needed levity to the dire proceedings.

As the Star Wars: Age Of The Republic series inches closer to its closing issues, one can’t help but appreciate how Houser has so adeptly re-created these fan-favourite characters on page. She really has her finger on the pulse of what makes these characters tick, and most importantly, why so many people love them. It is high time the Star Wars prequel trilogy got some much-deserved love, and this series is proving that even its most flawed characters can be infused with plenty of emotional heft.

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Each issue of this series has an afterword that briefly recaps the creation of the character and their significance in popular culture. There’s something especially touching about Bryan Young’s tribute to Anakin, more so than the other characters in this series so far. His description of Anakin as being ‘complicated’ yet ‘iconic’ befits the legacy of the character, as does this excellent installment in the franchise.