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A graphic novel by John Ostrander, and Jan Duursema (2005, Dark Horse Comics)
Obsession comics 1-5 and Free Comic Book Day comic
21 years before Star Wars: A New Hope

Obi-Wan and Anakin go in search of the Jedi-killer Asajj Ventress.



Read on November 8th, 2007  
    I was rather disappointed with this story, and wasn't impressed with the artwork, either.

Obi-Wan and Anakin have defeated Asajj Ventress so often now, that having her pop up alive after her last encounter with Anakin is a poor cheat. When this story begins, Anakin believes he has killed Ventress in their fight in On the Fields of Battle, but Obi-Wan knows in his heart that she is still alive. The story follows Obi-Wan on his quest for information on her whereabouts. As characters later say, no wonder he is falling into traps, when he has harassed all of the Separatist and bounty hunter information brokers about her.

The opening pages show Obi-Wan navigating a scum-filled planet-scape with people shooting at him. I was not very interested in seeing Obi-Wan with a Quinlan Vos attitude. There is enough of that in the Quinlan Vos stories.

It seems that Anakin and Padmé's secret is not really a secret. There is a lot of conflicting information between the stories. In Dark Rendezvous, Obi-Wan doesn't seem to realize that the girl Anakin wants to meet on Coruscant is actually Padmé. In Revenge of the Sith, nobody knows about their relationship, but Obi-Wan figures it out by the end. Here, though, Obi-Wan says that every Padawan knows where to find him in his time off. It would have been nice if the various authors got together and figured out what they wanted their characters to know at what point in time. As this story takes place six months before Revenge of the Sith, this must be when Padmé gets pregnant.

Obi-Wan enlists Anakin, though both of them are supposed to be on leave, to help him prevent an assassination, thinking it will be Ventress. Although they are waiting for days for the merchant ship to arrive, they suddenly say they are too late, when the ship finally does arrive, and there are droids all over it, adrift in space. When did that happen? On board, they find not Asajj Ventress, but Durge. I guess he wasn't killed by Boba Fett in Hunted. I guess if all the explosives Anakin ignites on his body don't kill him, a few thermal detonators wouldn't do him in, either. He seems to be self-regenerating. However, Anakin forces him into an escape pod, and uses the Force to push it into the nearest star.

The information Obi-Wan found led him into a trap, with Durge as the main adversary and a fleet of battle-droids waiting in case he failed. However, Bail Organa happened to arrange to be in the outer rim at the time with a battle cruiser with Mace Windu and a bunch of other Jedi who were in the outer rim at the time. After the rescue, Obi-Wan leads them to another planet, which is surrounded by a Separatist fleet. Anakin pilots the battle-cruiser so that it exits hyperspace between the fleet and the planet, but crashes the ship much as he would in Revenge of the Sith. Is that a cheap rip-off, as the comic came out just before the movie?

On the planet, more Jedi die, the result of Obi-Wan's Obsession with Asajj Ventress. But we find Ventress, General Grievous and Count Dooku, all together. Ventress is in a bacta tank, which she bursts when Obi-Wan seems to take pity on her. When did that turnaround happen? He was intent on killing her moments before. There was nothing sinister in having her hanging in a bacta tank, excapt possibly for the probes embedded in her body. Were they trying to turn her into a Grievous-type? In the ensuing battle, Grievous kills Adi Gallia, Grievous is hit by some heavy machinery (which might account for some of his wheezing in Revenge of the Sith), and Dooku abandons Ventress, having one of his droids shoot her as she is being baited by Obi-Wan. Once again Obi-Wan feels pity for her, having been abandoned so many years ago and giving in to hate. After being abandoned again, she still tries to kill Obi-Wan, and Anakin deals her a seemingly-mortal blow.

Now everyone, including Obi-Wan, thinks Ventress is dead, but we find out in the last page of that story that she went into a Sith healing trance. She orders the morgue ship she is on to a remote place, out of the way of civilization. I don't see how that was necessary. I hope we don't see her again...

The second story in the collection is a very short one, and doesn't have a name, but it is a direct continuation of Obsession. Upset that Dooku and Grievous escaped from their previous encounter, Obi-Wan and Anakin find another of Dooku's citadels. He likes to live grand, this Count. However, this is also a trap. After trudging through the jungle from where their ship crashed (again), they find the citadel is filled with battle droids! There is no Count Dooku to be found. Somehow they face down more droids than in the stadium in Attack of the Clones, where dozens of Jedi died, and survive. They manage to face down three destroyer droids as well, before their backup arrives to take them away.

From there, because they seem to be targeted personally with so many traps, their next mission will take them into the heart of Cato Neimoidia, to the Labyrinth of Evil.

The artwork in the two stories was very different, but neither was particularly to my liking. I liked the level of detail in the first one, but not the way the overall characters were drawn. Perhaps that is the problem with drawing characters who are already so familiar. I also liked the level of color detail and brightness in the second story, but not the vague outlines and lack of detail. I suppose I can't win... There were some very nice sequences, though, like when Anakin was facing Durge.

My interest in Star Wars comics is waning, so that could be part of why I was not so taken with this story. I didn't find that it added much to the characters, though it finally establishes the end of Durge. It would have been nice if it also saw the end of Ventress, to bring some sort of conclusion to her story.


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