– Spoiler Review –
The Kanan series has excelled at nearly everything it has set out to do and issue #9 is no exception, hearkening back to the first issue while forging ahead with the “First Blood” arc.
One of the best aspects of #9 was how it recalled scenes and events from the very first issue, seeing as #9 starts down the path that leads the Master-Padawan duo of Caleb and Depa towards their fateful day with Order 66. First off, there’s a panel of Caleb and Depa doing synchronized lightsaber training while discussing the Force at the same time, and while it’s not by picturesque moonlight, it’s still a great callback. Secondly, there’s the fireside chats with the clones, where every clone with a name chats it up with Depa and jokes around with Caleb, though this one doesn’t end with tragedy. Then there’s even a scene where General Kleeve discusses Depa’s “broken” status, though this time we get an intriguing new detail I’ll discuss later. And lastly is Caleb’s excitement and exhilaration over getting to jump into battle, where in both issues his fighting comes to an end just as he’s really getting into it: in #9, because the droids shoot him and in issue #1, because the Separatists surrender on Kaller. Rehashing old scenes might usually seem lazy, but what Greg Weisman does with these moments is anything but: instead it’s to remind us none of these characters will change and they are set on the destiny we’ve already seen unfold, but we may learn new things about them. And most importantly, it’ll all stack up on the emotional baggage this series has created for these characters so far, adding more poignancy to the events of the first arc.
Whether it’s in A New Dawn, Star Wars Rebels, or even the previous arc of this comic series “The Last Padawan,” it’s abundantly clear Caleb forms bonds or friendships with others quickly. In A New Dawn, it’s his relationship with a bar/mining company owner Okadiah and how easily the other characters are willing to work with him (besides Hera); In Rebels, it’s his Master-Padawan relationship with Ezra which earns him the Space Dad label and how the crew all trusts him despite not knowing all of his past; in “The Last Padawan,” it was seen in his connection with the clones (causing one to override the Order 66 chip programming), getting Kleeve on his side, and the friendship (and one of the best parts) with Janus Kasmir; lastly, the “First Blood” arc as been all about strengthening the bond Depa and Caleb so clearly have by the first issue of the series. In issue #9, Caleb quickly bonds with one of the greenest clone troopers we’ve yet to see, as he looks far younger than most clones who start to battle. But 1157 aka Stance and Caleb’s age is what brings them together, laughing over impressions of strict masters or both realizing they are on a short leash, and it’s thanks to their quick bond that Stance saves Caleb during the Battle on Kardoa.
Depa continues to doubt herself and an ambush on her team doesn’t help her on her first mission back as a General, though she seems to keep it together for the most part and helps force the Separatists off of Kardoa. With Depa’s backstory, the Kanan series has played coy with the details, first deeply hinting at a possible “shadow canon” of the Legends book Shatterpoint (which covers a mission during the Clone Wars where Mace Windu returns to his home planet to rescue his former Padawan, Depa, back from the dark side) then, in the beginning of the “First Blood” arc, it threw those hopes out the airlock by mentioning Depa’s previous battle went so badly she lost nearly all of her troops and ended up in a coma. Issue #9 puts a fun little wrinkle in all of this: General Grievous is the one who decimates Depa’s troops…on Haruun Kal, Mace Windu’s homeworld. In a way this almost a re-shadow canon of Shatterpoint…or at least it meets fans of that book halfway.
As for the Separatists, a new character is introduced: Colonel Coburn Sear, who just so happens to be the brother to the assassin attacking the Jedi Temple in issue #8. I’m not sure he’s aware that Caleb and Depa thwarted his brother’s plans, but it would certainly be juicy if he were to find out. General Kleeve gets fleshed out a bit more, where his feelings about the Jedi Order and how he wishes they weren’t stuck on the wrong side of the war help accentuate why he’d help Caleb post-Order 66. And the mysterious figure, kept off screen in #8 and most of #9, gets his “big” reveal besides it being painfully obvious it was going to be him in the first place. But now knowing Grievous cause Depa all her pain and suffering, his appearance takes on new meaning and their meeting on Mygeeto looks to be much bigger than just a battle of happenstance (and has lots of potential for tears).
Here are a few other things:
- Soot and Mixx were killed by Caleb and Depa, respectively, on Kaller at the on-set of Order 66, so it was kind of chilling to see their names again.
- The way the series has given Depa an injection of youthfulness and playfulness only makes her bond with Caleb all the more interesting and entertaining.
Kanan issue #9 continues to strengthen the series’ near-perfect track record.
+ Caleb’s connections
+ Connective tissue with the first issue
+ Storyline potential
CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood: #7 | #8 | #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)