– Spoiler Review –
Will Caleb Dume ever catch a break? First his closest friends betray him and now his newest acquaintance is seemingly doing the exact same thing. Or is he? Kanan – The Last Padawan #4 not only answers that vital question, but re-introduces a character who provides some surprisingly layered discussion on war and what it can do to an individual.
I had my doubts that Kasmir completely betrayed Caleb at the end of #3, especially since he seems to be warming to the kid, so I was definitely happy to have my suspicions proven correct. Kasmir isn’t an idiot, as he’s deftly shown already, and he knows a losing situation when he sees one; However, he also knows how to capitalize on such a moment and puts them into a better situation for which he’ll have an easier time plotting an escape plan. He’s been a great character already and one of my favorites introduced by Marvel (but he’s trumped by Doctor Aphra, though just above Triple-Zero and BT-1 of Darth Vader-fame) because he has a more realistic, bottom-level view of the galaxy, something we not only need as an audience to appreciate Caleb’s trails post-Order 66 more, but also something Caleb himself needs to survive in a galaxy where he can’t retreat to the safety of the tall towers of the Jedi Temple anymore and their idealistic approach to living within the galaxy.
The re-introduction of General Kleeve was one of the better moments in #4 thanks to his conversation with Caleb which points out some pretty damning things about the nature of the conflict they were both on opposite sides of not too long ago. I had always wondered what happened to some of the Generals in the Separatist Army who weren’t droids, as their reasoning for fighting was to protect their people from a distant government’s rule first and foremost: would they hide? would they all be hunted down by the Empire? could they get away? did their people reject them? or did they end up joining the Empire? I like #4’s answer to the question at least in regards to Kleeve, as he decides to hide away from it all once he learnes the awful truth about how unimportant what side of the war he was fighting on ending up being.
Even better yet, Kleeve appearing in Caleb’s life leads to a rather chilling, contemporary, and poignant look at combatants in war: they can be similar in the most unexpected of ways, whether they are both parents, someone’s sibling, or even both finding themselves enjoying the rush of war. Kleeve admits, “I never relished combat, but war brought out the best in me.” To which Caleb replies, rather reluctantly, “I…I know what you mean,” which we first saw him admit to enjoying the rush of war back in #1. But the real kicker is how they both feel living in a life of hiding, or at least hiding who they really are, is the worst part of the surviving. Not a lot of time in Star Wars has been spent on the repercussions of war on the psyche of those who fought it, and while it’s only covered shortly here, it’s done in an effective manner. By A New Dawn, Kanan certainly has gotten used to hiding his true self, but in Star Wars Rebels we see he’s becoming much happier now that he’s back on a path somewhat similar to the Jedi way in that he’s helping the downtrodden fight against their oppressors. But for now, it might take him awhile to come to peace with that, especially with the specter of Depa Billaba hanging over him no matter if he says he doesn’t think about her anymore or not (shown in a pretty full-page panel with her looming over his new lifestyle). Him trying to exercise the ghosts of her teachings, to an extent, has been/will be a compelling thing to see.
But one aspect that has worked so well for the Kanan comic, and keeps it at my top spot of Marvel’s crop so far, is how Weisman keeps finding ways to put a character, who’s fate we know for certain for at least another 15 in-universe years, in precarious, tension-filled moments which immediately make you want to find out just how they manages to escape from said latest predicament. Caleb is captured once again, by whom seems to be Captain Styles (since Commander Grey has largely been without helmet the whole issue and is tied up with capturing Kasmir at the moment) just before he could leave Kasmir so that the Kalleran’s story of him leaving Caleb would be true. Could this latest capture result in Caleb learning to stop trying to make connections with people for too long (something Kanan is good at by the time of AND), as Grey and Styles kill Kasmir, especially now that this issue had them become friends? We’ll find out in the conclusion to this arc in #5 soon enough.
Here are a few other things:
- Lahn is a very beautiful planet, which Larraz and Curiel take full advantage and show a much brighter palette than we’re used to in this series so far. And yes, it is a new planet.
- Gamut Key’s line to Caleb about leaving him to pray to whomever the Jedi pray to shows just how little the rest of the galaxy know about the Jedi; which is an important thing to note as it points out how easily the denizens of the galaxy might’ve bought Palpatine’s story about the Jedi betraying him and the Republic.
- I found Tapusk saying “light-saver swords” pretty funny because when I was first introduced to Star Wars at five, I frequently would call them the same thing.
- It’s definitely too early for Inquisitors in the timeline (maybe) so it’s interesting to see just how far the clones went in the search of Jedi. Those implant chips were quite the doozy if it made them that much more aggressive and relentless besides the Jedi-hate.
- Some other reviews of #4 include: The Who Wars Podcast enjoying the relationship between Kasmir and Caleb, while Bria over at Tosche Station makes a gif-tastic review.
Kanan – The Last Padawan hasn’t really made me fear for Caleb’s life yet, but it certainly has made me fear what he’ll have to go through and experience to become the man we know in Rebels. #4 provides a set-up which could involve another big tragedy in his life as we sit on another cliffhanger ending just waiting for #5 to wrap up this first arc.
+ Kleeve’s return and insights on war
+ Kasmir and Caleb becoming friends
+ Another great cliffhanger moment
CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
The Last Padawan: #1 | #2 | #3 | #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)