– Spoiler Review –
Caleb, against Depa’s wishes, rushes to save the Jedi Temple from a mysterious attacker in Kanan #8, doing his best to win Depa and our heart’s (which honestly, he already has), while some familiar (and emotionally packed) faces from the first arc (re)appear.
As I had hoped, this second arc of Kanan, “First Blood,” looks to be focusing on how Depa and Caleb come together and help each other learn more about themselves and the Force; Issue #8 has that in spades. Caleb, headstrong and confident in himself, charges after whomever is attacking the Jedi Temple with mini-drone explosives. Depa is still uncertain of herself, but Caleb’s actions force her to put those feelings aside to effectively save the youngling and prevent further bloodshed at the Temple; Together, they bring out the best of each other, carrying on the linkage theme between the two seen in issue #7. The two best moments in this issue come from Depa’s efforts to end the attack: when she arrives to the scene of the crime by walking through the smoke and fire and declaring matter-of-factly that the Kage warrior won’t harm the boy and when she concentrates deeply enough to prevent the explosive hanging over Caleb’s head from detonating. Seeing as I had wished we spent a little more time with Depa in the first arc, that wish is being granted in the second and I can’t wait to see what else this Master, with her new apprentice, can do because it’s all types of exciting already.
Before the Kage warrior commits suicide rather than be captured, he reveals himself to be Rackham Sear (from Quarzite), a captain in the Confederacy of Independent Systems i.e. the Separatists. He echos some of the headier episodes of The Clone Wars which set out to prove there were truly heroes on both sides of the war (as the opening crawl of Revenge of the Sith suggests), by pointing out just how wrong the Jedi viewed the whole war in the first place. Considering he gets to spout those few lines, it makes me wonder if we’ll see Caleb questioning the war a little bit more throughout this arc. But before Sear’s reveal, we get our first “The Last Padawan” cameo in General Kleeve, the Separatist who ends up helping save Caleb from the Order 66-ed clones hunting him. He doesn’t get to say or do much here, as that’s reserved for the shadowy figure who’s eyes are the only thing we can see, but which give him away to be Grievous (as well does the cover for #10).
But the bigger (re)appearance from the “The Last Padawan” comes in the form of Captain Styles and Commander Grey (bring on the conflicted feels), who we learn were part of Depa’s failed mission from before and we know will end up killing her later. The friendship between these clones and Caleb was already done pretty wonderfully in issue #1, but considering everything that happened afterwards, Weisman getting to strengthen their friendship will only serve to make what we know even more tragic. The only silver lining is Grey will overcome the Order 66 chip’s programming and do what he can to make up for the sins he perpetrated after being turned, making the friendship development between Caleb and the clones most likely both cruel and exciting to see unfold in “First Blood.”
Here are a few other things:
- If you want more evidence the Separatists might have been on to something with their point of view on the war, look no further than the fear and envy from the other younglings when they learn Caleb has become Depa’s Padawan. But Depa makes a great counterpoint, “…proof that none of us are perfect,” something which she certainly knows a whole lot about (but thanks to Caleb, she came to realize now).
- While short, it was cool to finally see more of Cin Drallig than just the hologram from RotS (and his non-canon appearance in the RotS video game) and TCW, along with Larraz’s take on the sweet design of the Jedi Temple Guards.
- Curious Kanan says he rather not think about the journey of getting his kyber crystal and new lightsaber: possible upcoming story arc? Or something Star Wars Rebels might get a chance to reveal a bit?
- Cad Bane gets a name drop here, as it seems he offered the Separatists attacking the Temple the plans he procured from infiltrating it under Darth Sidious’ orders to nab a Jedi holocron in The Clone Wars.
Depa finds her path to rehabilitation in Caleb and the return of some familiar faces makes issue #8 a certainly solid entry in the excellent Kanan series.
+ Caleb helping Depa out of her funk
+ Captain Styles and Commander Grey!
+ Temple attacker’s beliefs
A New Dawn (novel)
OTHER CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
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)