I think there is a certain stigma connected to Star Wars stories that take place with in the “prequel” era. It is true that the newer movies are a mess and are not only bad as stand alone films but they also commit the crime of trying to drag the originals down with them. But I think that dismissing the whole era because of that is wholly unfair. Both the Clone Wars animated series and the Clone Wars comic series have proved that there is potential for greatness even if they have to step around what Lucas designed for the screen. It was in this mindset that I started out with Star Wars Jedi Volume 1. Taking place 19 years before episode 1 Star Wars Jedi follows Qui-gon Jinn and his padawan Xanatos as they are sent with fellow Jedi Master Tahl and a young master less padawan named Orykan to investigate a murder and settle political disputes on the planet Telos IV. This is Xanatos’s home planet and he is bothered by the idea of seeing his estranged father and sister again. This is set to be Xanatos final test before becoming a Jedi himself but strong emotions from his homecoming and jealousy of Orykan means things don’t go smoothly.
There is quite a lot I like about this story written by Scott Allie. The main focus is set mainly on the characters and how the events on Telos IV affect them instead of on the political strife around them. Qui-gon Jinn was not much of a character onscreen. You are told that he is brave and wise but he is never given a moment to really show these characteristics. Here you get much more of a sense of what Qui-gon is about. He is a younger man and well on the way to becoming the legendary Jedi that we know from the movies, still he is plagued by doubts in himself and in his ability to train his padawan. It is clear that he thinks of Xanatos much like a son but in doing so has gone too easy on him during his training. Though Xanatos is gifted in the force he does not have control of his emotions and Quigon knows this. It is this that is the main conflict of the story, while characters like Xanatos father Cryon and Orykan simply act as catalysts to test Jedi and apprentice. I can honestly think of no way better to handle this story, it easily could have focused giant action set pieces and battles, which of there are a few, but it’s the more grounded character stuff that pushes the story on and in my opinion that makes for a much more memorable experience. The problems are with the paper thin plot on Telos IV. There really is no mystery to who the instigator is and the whole thing is just a backdrop to Qui-gon and Xanato’s relationship.
I’m ashamed to admit that I wasn’t largely impressed by Mahmud Asrar’s art when I started this graphic. I thought that while it served its purpose fine it wasn’t any different that many mediocre artists out there. This was a mistake, the more that I read the more and more I really began to appreciate it. I’m not sure if I can explain it but there is a certain charm to his art that really hooked me in. Action and drama both are handled extraordinarily well and each character is fitted with their own certain allure.
Overall I enjoyed Star Wars Jedi Volume 1. While the main story of political turmoil on the planet Telos IV may not knock you off your feet there is enough depth in the characters to make this a good read. As a fan of Star Wars I recommend giving this a shot.