Published: December 5, 2018
Writer: Jody Houser
Penciler: Cory Smith
Cover Artist: Paolo Rivera
JEDI ORDER…OR CHAOS? Considered one of the greatest Jedi Knights or the one who led them to their doom, maverick QUI-GON JINN is one of STAR WARS’ most controversial heroes. The JEDI MASTER is known to bend the rules and it’s gotten him into plenty of trouble with the COUNCIL. Now, in the face of a mission that goes awry, he’s forced to confront his conflicting beliefs. What will Qui-Gon uncover about his loyalty to the Jedi vs his loyalty to the FORCE? Guest-starring MASTER YODA!
On the planet Bri’n, Qui-Gon Jinn is protecting Priestess of Wood, Th’er, from The Metal Clan and calls Obi-Wan for evacuation. Surrounded by their pursuers, Th’er demands action from Qui-Gon, but as the Jedi’s craft swoops in overhead he grabs her and jumps onto the landing ramp. On-board, Obi-Wan asks for their destination, which is to be Coruscant.
Their vessel flies through the avenues created by the tall buildings. To Th’er, Coruscant is an abomination of a world. She is still unhappy with her rescuer too, accusing him of cowardice as he refused to take down her enemy. Qui-Gon reminds her he was there to protect her, not fight for her.
Qui-Gon is in one of the rooftop gardens of the Jedi Temple, Master Yoda approaches him. They sit to together and contemplate recent events and the unease that Yoda senses in him. He is concerned about the Jedi being seen as a weapon of the Republic and as great warriors. Their opinions on this differ, but they both agree that Qui-Gon spends some following the force to give him an answer.
He boards a star fighter and guided by the Force, he enters the co-ordinates that it chooses for his destination.
He drops from hyperspace at his Force led destination and lands his craft. It is a planet that has no designation, but is charted, with an abundance of life, but no evidence of technology.
He walks away from his ship and follows the Force, it is a beautiful place, but there is something, a cold presence. The path he takes turns red and the closer he gets, he wonders if he’s there to learn or stop something. As the landscape changes he finds the centre of the cold, a place of the dark side. He climbs the steps and takes a seat in the cavern and meditates.
Roots and branches come up from the floor and form 5 humanoid bodies that surround Qui-Gon. He strikes them down one by one, until they lay before him. He looks at the bodies before him there lie Jedi, slain by him. The roots and branches now consume his body covering him from head to toe.
He snaps out of his Force meditation and screams out. I what was a previously dark cavern, there are now traces of the light side, he has brought balance to this area. All this was done by a means other than fighting. He heads back to his ship.
On his return to Coruscant he meets with Th’er, she is in a garden enjoying the nature it offers. Qui-Gon advises she would be better off forming allies within Coruscant, who are sympathetic to her cause. It is not just the city of metal that she sees, and she agrees to this advice, reluctantly.
Yoda quizzes Qui-Gon as to whether he found the answers he was looking for. He did, but has been left with more questions. They must be careful of the dark side, but they are there to ensure there is a balance.
2019 celebrates 20 years on from the release of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. To start the celebrations early, Marvel Comics are treating us to a series of one-shot comics based on major characters from the prequel era, called ‘Age of Republic’. The series is penned by Jody Houser and starts with Qui-Gon Jinn.
Covers, covers galore more like! 6 variants and it looks like we are going to be getting around 5 or 6 variants for every issue of the series, so a big bank balance is going to be needed if you’re a variant collector.
The direct edition is a great illustration of Qui-Gon by Paolo Rivera. There is a further illustrated offering of Qui-Gon’s looming figure from Romulo Fajardo Jr and Cory Smith. Next, we have an idea that I like, which is releasing original concept art for each character as a cover series. This issue is from Ian McCaig’s concepts, and my choice for this issue. This choice of cover harks back to my love of the Ralph McQuarrie concept sets from when I was younger. The Puzzle Piece series by Guru-eFX and Mike McKone looks to be a great idea and has the potential to look absolutely stunning when put together. Just think how cool they would look in a frame together. Then you have the movie cover, which for me isn’t a cover I’d particularly go for. Finally, we have the ensemble of the characters to be featured in this series. Elia Bonetti and Giuseppe Camuncoli team up once more to bring us some more stunning art.
The artwork is on point and compliments the story well. There are excellent illustrative parallels between this issue and other series that have been released. This is especially prevalent in the look of Qui-Gon’s force presence.
I am huge fan of Jody Houser’s work. She has an excellent track record with Star Wars titles, like her Thrawn adaptation, but also further afield such as her recent work on Stranger Things for Dark Horse. For the first time there is an issue from Jody that I must admit to having mixed feelings about.
The story for me doesn’t really give me anything that I felt I didn’t already know. It has taken me a good 3 or 4 full reads to actually get into it. I do think it is hampered by the ‘one-shot’ style of this series. I’m not a huge fan of one-shots and the annuals that we get from Marvel in general. They can sometimes feel rushed, too compressed, isolated and having no real impact on the bigger picture. I really wanted this issue to change my mind on that.
In saying all that, please don’t think I disliked this issue! it’s more like, I don’t think that it comes up to the usual standard. When reading the issue again, I think I may just have cracked what I why I’m so unsure about this story. It may be down to Qui-Gon Jinn being the subject matter rather than the storyline. Although Qui-Gon is a very important part of the Star Wars story, for me he isn’t a character I particularly connect with.
Maybe, if the series had started with one of my preferred characters or even started with a 2 or 3 issue arc encompassing most of the characters to be covered, then splinter off into one-shots leading on from a central story, this may have been better for me.
I know for the second issue in the series Jody has been reunited with Luke Ross again for Darth Maul. Jody and Luke make an amazing team, so although I’m a little disappointed this time around, I’m still looking forwards to the rest of this series.
This issue was released on 5th December 2018 and is available via the Marvel App and all good comic book stores. This issue retails at $3.99.