– Spoiler Review –
While we already saw Caleb Dume’s last mission as a Jedi, now we get to see his first in Kanan #7, the first issue in the new arc, “First Blood.” With the thankful return of Pepe Larraz for the art and Greg Weisman once again at the helm, the duo sets out to tackle the beginning of Caleb’s time as the apprentice to Depa Billaba in a solidly paced and plotted issue, allowing the series to continue to be the top of the current Marvel line.
After #6’s cliffhanger of Kanan being stabbing in the back, quite literally, #7 picks up with the still learning Jedi under bacta and his fate on the line. Much like the crew going to Kaller became the framing story for the first arc, “The Last Padawan,” their continuing adventures on Kaller will frame the second arc, “First Blood.” And while I said in my review of #6 that I wanted to stay in the present-day to follow Kanan’s quest to find his ol’ pal Janus Kasmir, going back to some of young Caleb’s earliest days at the Jedi Temple make me retract that statement. Yes, I do want to learn more about the tale in present-day Kaller, but Greg Weisman has set up what looks to be another emotionally engaging tale, this time about the start of the student-teacher relationship of Depa Bilaba and Caleb Dume, and how their roles aren’t so clear-cut, which makes me want to stay in the past for more.
Exploring the start of their beautiful relationship was a brilliant idea, because while it was obvious they were Force-meant-to-be with one another from what little we had in the beginning of “The Last Padawan,” #7 shows just how truly connected and literally Force-destined-to-be together they actually are. After Yoda sends Caleb to the infirmary due to a head bump, Caleb finds Depa Billaba floating in bacta and he seems to sense a familiarity to her, which sounds like a glimpse of the future if you ask me; Depa’s 6 month coma comes to an end immediately after, as the Force has found her a new purpose. Neither Caleb or Depa know it yet, but somewhere deep down they most certainly do: their destinies are intertwined more so than they could have ever imagined (or us readers could imagine). As Caleb goes through his Initiate Trials, Depa undergoes testing to see if she’s still fit for duty in the Jedi Order, and the art communicates their harmonious moment of Caleb initiating and Depa re-intiating wonderfully. I found myself rooting for them to be partnered up, even though I obviously already know they do, just because of how well their connection was conveyed by both the art and writing within this issue.
On top of how destined they were meant for each other, their symbiotic relationship also takes shape in how much they have to teach one another about the Force and the natural way of things. At this time, in a way, they are both at the same point and in very similar positions regarding their possible part in the Jedi Order: Caleb is looking to start his training and become a Jedi, while Depa is re-training herself to become the Jedi Master she ought to be. Caleb’s naturally (and adorable) inquisitive side forces Depa to face her innermost demons and Depa’s near-encouragement of Caleb’s unique and odd qualities fuels his growth and confidence, which feels like the living embodiment of the symbiotic nature of the Force described by Qui-Gon Jinn in the The Phantom Menace (yes, I’m talking about the midi-chlorian speech); After seeing these two together, Qui-Gon’s words take on a whole new and welcomed meaning and are shown in a literal fashion. Seeing how Depa and Caleb mesh together as they both come into their own with the Force will be the thing I look forward to most in this arc of the Kanan comic.
Here are a few other things:
- In a way, the gossip Kanan’s fellow Padawans Sammo Quid and Tai Uzuma discuss kind of undoes #1‘s shadow-canoning of Shatterpoint, the excellent Mace Windu-starring, Clone Wars-set novel about him trying to bring Depa back from the edge of darkness. Unexpected? No. Saddening? Yes. Makes me like this comic any less? Absolutely not.
- When Caleb questions how the method of Master’s choosing their Padawans became the standard method, it immediately recalled the opening flashback in A New Dawn, where Caleb’s questions might have inspired Obi-Wan’s message in Revenge of the Sith. It just hit me now, but I wonder how Kanan feels knowing in a way he gave Obi-Wan the idea to send out a “do not return” message: happy the idea helped? sad the idea had to be used?
- If the assassin at the end looks familiar to you, then it’s because you watched The Clone Wars S4 episode “Bounty,” where Asajj and Boba’s group protect a train and its precious cargo from the Kage Warriors. Why they sent one to the Jedi Temple is an enticing mystery I can’t wait to see unfold throughout this arc.
- I’ll be frequently linking to Lorna_ka on Twitter because her art is just gorgeous and this drawing of Depa is glorious.
- Weisman teases a Star Wars Rebels season 2 character will appear in Kanan soon.
- Pep No! on Tumblr seems very confident I’ve mentioned Kanan’s father somewhere in this review (hint: It’s not Obi-Wan) and I’ve asked him why he seems so certain their name is within. Interesting development, and if it is who I think he is hinting at, I guess I wouldn’t be completely surprised. Update: It seems to be related to a little headcanon idea from this post. I would totally be down for him being a father to someone, as he’s never a traditional Jedi Master, that’s for sure.
The Kanan comic proves, once again, it’s undoubtedly the top of the current Star Wars comics with a great start to its next arc.
+ Depa and Caleb truly intertwined
+ Their “symbiotic” relationship
+ Mystery of the Temple attacker
CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood: #8 | #9 | #10 | #11 | #12
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25) | Annual: #1
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25) | Annual: #1
Poe Dameron (on-going)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)