– Spoiler Review –
As the hammer of Order 66 swiftly crashes down on Depa and young Caleb/Kanan, the best Marvel Star Wars comic so far only continues to get better in Kanan – The Last Padawan #2.
After its first issue, Kanan quickly shot up in contention for the best of the new batch of comics, battling with the Darth Vader series for top spot. Now after #2, Kanan is easily my favorite so far and it’s for reasons that aren’t exactly easy to explain. That’s not to say I can’t, but once you read it you’ll understand how just intuitively the whole issue seems to click in all the right places. Whether it’s the writing, giving us an insight into Caleb’s frantic thoughts as chaos descends down around him, the pacing, the Star Wars-y feel to the proceedings, or it’s unique look at Order 66, you’d be hard pressed to find a reason not to like #2.
Much like the snippets we saw of Order 66 in Revenge of the Sith, Depa Billaba happens to see the same events and clues her apprentice in on it, which ultimately, at the very least, saves Caleb’s life. It was haunting to finally see Order 66 play out for Caleb and Depa, the former of which can’t quite conceive of the betrayal just yet. Caleb’s reaction to what is happening around him shows how such an event would affect a young kid, as he worries first about his clone friends dying before worrying about the fact they are trying to kill him. The added perspective of the ‘present day’ Kanan recapping the horrific events underscores just how ill prepared Caleb really is and just how important the moments that follow will shape his lifestyle going forward.
Caleb’s brief respite from danger and starvation thanks to the Kalleran Janus Kasmir, while short, were some of my favorite moments in the issue. Neither of them realize it yet, but their brief time together will certainly shape young Caleb Dume for years to come. Part of me wishes Caleb didn’t steal the ship while Janus was off it so that they could be stuck together for a little while longer, but then things wouldn’t be as difficult for Caleb. Janus imparts on Caleb the one piece of advice which will continue to save his life in the days ahead, “You lie. You cheat. You steal. You survive.” Caleb takes that to heart rather quickly, making off with Janus’ ship to return to Coruscant.
Having received the deceptive return ping from the Jedi Temple, Caleb decides the best course of action is to return home and regroup with the other Jedi. Of course mid-flight, Obi-Wan’s message warns Caleb away from Coruscant, which adds weight to Kanan’s emotionally charged viewing of the message in the Rebels premiere and his inquisitive mind regarding the signal in the opening scene of A New Dawn. But of course it’s too late and the issue ends with clone fighters surrounding Caleb. While not as big a cliffhanger as #1’s, seeing as it doesn’t come as packed with potential emotional baggage, it certainly sets up a situation I highly anticipate seeing how Caleb manages to escape from.
There are several panels and shots, which thanks to the continuously great work by Pepe Larraz, I could talk about and appreciate all day, but there’s one I still can’t get over due to its simple, yet effective homage/meaning (it’s on page 9, if you count the big spread as one page). Shortly after Depa is cut down by the clones, they begin a search of the nearby area for Caleb and ingeniously he buries himself underground to hide from them. Once the area is clear, there’s a panel of his hand shooting up through the ground, which is eerily reminiscent of the trope innumerably used in films/TV shows about the (un)dead rising, and it’s that connection and its importance for Kanan’s story which make it my favorite panel. In a way, when Caleb buries himself in the ground, he ‘dies’ and leaves the part of him that was to be a Jedi behind. He is reborn when he breaks out of the ground, no longer the padawan he used to be and no longer on the path to being a Jedi like he wanted, instead on the path of survival. It might not be exactly what the team behind Kanan had in mind for that specific panel, but it’s what I took away from it.
Here are a few other things:
- As with the vague but obvious references to Depa’s past in #1 hinting at a connection with the Legends novel Shatterpoint, #2 reveals Depa’s clones are named the Rostu Squad: Nick Rostu is Depa’s right hand man during her crazy time on Haruun Kal in said novel.
- Seeing as the narration of events comes from ‘present day’ Kanan, could we see a return to the ‘present’ again, much like how #1 started?
- Depa’s last words to Kanan include, “Run,” something first teased by the Inquisitor in the Star Wars Rebels season one finale, “Fire Across the Galaxy.”
- Janus Kasmir is oddly similar to Kanan Jarrus, no?
- Really digging the design and look for the Kasmiri.
- Here’s a great tumblr post going around regarding Obi-Wan’s message and how it highlights how he is and always will be a teacher till the very end.
Will lightning strike a third time? Because so far both issues of Kanan – The Last Padawan have been stellar and as long as this creative team keeps firing on all cylinders like they have been, it’s not hard to imagine #3 will be well worth the wait.
+ Expert pacing and writing
+ Kasmir’s teachings
+ Another good cliffhanger
– #3 is a month away!
CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
The Last Padawan: #1 | #3 | #4 | #5 | #6 | First Blood (#7-12)
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)