– Spoiler Review –
Ever curious how Cassian ended up with a reprogrammed Imperial droid named K-2SO? Rogue One – Cassian & K-2SO Special #1 answers that very question in a fun and fast-paced manner, but it contains so many kernels of much grander ideas/concepts it ends up feeling like it just scratches the surface of something greater.
Those looking for the pure nuts and bolts of how Cassian met Kaytoo will get exactly what they asked for in this Rogue One prequel one-shot: essentially, Cassian’s mission to obtain current Imperial Security Protocols goes wrong and he has to improvise, which leads him to reprogram K-2SO to help he and his fellow agents escape. It’s not terribly surprising in any way, as it ends up being a story one could have reasonably head-canoned, but even if one didn’t, it’s not to hard to find enjoyment in the tale as presented here. Cassian certainly feels like the Cassian we met in the film, on the edge and quick to act, even if he doesn’t quite think things through beforehand, plus he has that jovial/easy-going attitude that makes him likable. He’s joined by two intriguing new aliens, Kertas and Rismor, who communicate primarily through producing smells for the other to read, which is played for some effective humor as Cassian isn’t quite in on the conversation. And heck, even before Kaytoo is reprogrammed, he already has some quirks, though they are a bit more darker because he’s not being sarcastic with his threats of violence (he wouldn’t be apologizing for slapping Cassian at this point). By the end, it instantly feels like the Kaytoo & Cassian relationship we all enjoyed in the film, though it almost seems too sudden, like it wasn’t quite earned for them to just jump into that immediately familiar relationship.
Part of the reason why it feels too sudden is the much larger/deeper issues and concepts that get brushed aside to fit this one-shot’s length. There’s some absolutely intriguing possibilities about a droid’s agency and sentience that come into play and are instantly washed over, as Kaytoo asks Cassian before the final wipe that frees him from Imperial control, “But do I have a choice?” The C-3PO one-shot two years ago actually explored this deeper issue rather well, and while I certainly didn’t expect this one-shot to cover the same subject, the lack of discourse on Cassian’s decision to make Kaytoo a Imperial-defector kind of ends up making me second-guess Cassian’s decision. In the Threepio story, the droids discuss how they occasionally get glimpses of past memories, despite the wipes, so they must live with the haunting images that have no meaning to them, and that left me wondering if Kaytoo occasionally has flashes of his Imperial days. Are they good or bad memories? We’ll never know. I loved Kaytoo in the film, so don’t get me wrong and take me to mean Cassian’s decision was the wrong one, as in the end he actually does free Kaytoo to be more independent and allow him to make his own choices, which is absolutely great and any droid would probably agree; But how this issue handled it almost made me wonder if Kaytoo really wanted the switch, as he wasn’t necessarily being treated badly or anything of that nature. And while it’s no surprise Cassian would do something like this, (we saw him kill a contact just because he couldn’t help the man escape in Rogue One) it would’ve been interesting to explore a little more what compelled him, beyond saving his and the skin of his fellow agents, to not only reprogram Kaytoo but to keep him around afterwards. But as I mentioned above, they immediately become pals so maybe it’s just simply how well they bonded. By even remotely touching on these idea, it’s revealed we’ve only got to see the surface of this story, not something potentially greater had this been, at the very least, a miniseries.
Despite the shortcomings I felt this issue had, it’s paced expertly with sprinkled humor and an adventurous tone that keeps readers flipping pages to see where this fast journey takes these characters next. This is thanks to writer Duane Swierczynski, who hits the personalities of Cassian and K-2SO effectively and enjoyable, which makes the fact this is just a one-shot sting just a little bit more. On the art front, Fernando Blanco and Marcelo Maiolo provide great visuals for closeups and action scenes, making for a solid art team that would be welcomed back again!
In the end, Rogue One – Cassian & K-2SO Special #1 is certainly fun, but it’ll end up leaving you with shrugs.
+ A fun enjoyable breeze that feels like an extension of Cassian and K-2SO from the film
– Ends up falling short
Rogue One (adaptation)
#1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5
Movie Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (by Ryan)
Novel Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (by Chris)
Novel Review: Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel (by Ryan)
Young Adult Novel Review: Rebel Rising (by Ryan)
Soundtrack Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (by Elliot)
Young Reader Review: Guardians of the Whills (by Ryan)
Young Reader Review: Rogue One: Rebel Dossier (by Chris)
Reference Book Review: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide (by Chris)
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