– Spoiler Review –
Who would’ve ever imagined something as simple as a ponytail could have a deeper meaning? Caleb Dume takes a big step towards the man he’ll eventually become, Kanan Jarrus, in another entertainingly solid issue, Kanan – The Last Padawan #3.
I wished for Caleb and Janus Kasmir to spend more time together in my review of #2 and it seems my wish was granted; Caleb returns to Kaller with the Kasmiri to shake his tail by no longer thinking like a Jedi, which effectively loses the Empire for now. The reason I wanted Caleb around Kasmir is in full-force in #3: Kasmir is the blunt instrument Caleb needs to survive along his new path. Kasmir’s brutal honesty (something we saw as early as #1) not only secures him as an entertaining character, but lets him function similarly to someone like Han Solo, a skeptic and realist in a fantasy-sci-fi world. It’s also enjoyable (and rare) to hear a non-Force sensitive speak in such a way to anyone from the Jedi Order (unless they are named Hondo Onaka), though Caleb is neither a member of the Order or a Jedi anymore–per his rebirth I loved so much in #2–but only Kasmir seems to realize that.
Kasmir’s point that Caleb is so used to following a Master he’s essentially looking for a replacement is a unique and important one to consider, especially when you consider his need for a Master and their guidance now versus where we find him as Kanan by the time of A New Dawn. In the book, he’s very unwilling to be part of any group, team up with anyone, or get too close to another person, so Caleb’s hunt to stay an Apprentice is definitely set for tragedy (much like most other things for him at this moment in time) to get him to such a place as to be emotionally distant and untrusting. Seeing as this issue ends with the seeming betrayal by Kasmir by giving up Caleb as a Jedi to save his own skin, it’s not hard to imagine where Kanan’s trust issues and solo attitude come from.
The cover for #4 shows Caleb and Kasmir all buddy-buddy again, so I don’t think their relationship will be ending so soon, but it’s doomed to fail and watching such a smart match-up only get better before it falls apart, much like the Depa and Caleb one to start, is one of the top reasons this series is one of the best so far. Tragedy breeds entertainment, as it were, and the folks behind Kanan so far are nailing what exactly that entails for the titular character.
But how about that ponytail origin story? After being initially rejected by Kasmir, Caleb spends enough time on the streets watching over him to have grown out his hair quite a bit. Once they are reunited, much to the chagrin of Kasmir, the Kalleran decides to take the young Caleb under his wing and use the youngling for his next job. Before they start it, Kasmir points out Kanan’s nervous tell: running a hand through his hair; hence, ponytail. I never really thought we needed or would’ve gotten a background story as for why Kanan does his hair up in a ponytail, as I always considered it a stylistic choice, but suddenly I’m glad we did. And while I’m certain it started out as a stylistic choice for an animated Jedi character who was more cowboy than Jedi, in Kanan it’s instead proven an important step on Caleb’s path to becoming something other than a Jedi and that a lot more can go into character design than one thinks.
Here are a few other things:
- Speaking of character design, Caleb is looking awfully close to Kanan in his new get-up by the end of the issue.
- The IG-RM droids Kasmir and Caleb are stealing can be seen in the Star Wars Rebels series, where some currently serve Vizago on Lothal.
- Kasmir’s helmet was killer! The design was a knock-out in my book and I hope to see someone making that for cosplay purposes (and lets me buy one!).
- I was initially with Gamut Key on wondering just how or why Kasmir was a “war hero” but I eventually realized it was part of the set up for him turning in Caleb as he’d be considered a war hero for turning in a rogue Jedi and there’d be a public outcry to arrest someone like that just for “misplacing” some droids. Dirty, but smart.
- The panels on page 14 (if you count the spread as one), right before the reveal of Caleb in his new, non-padawan outfit, are my favorite of #3. Just a cool set of images which convey Caleb’s change effectively and simply.
While not as thoroughly engaging as the previous two issues, Kanan – The Last Padawan #3 doesn’t disappoint and continues to give me reason to keep this as my favorite series. I mean, where else can you get background on a ponytail and it be an important part of a character’s transition?
+ Kasmir’s return to the story
+ Ponytail origins
+ The tragedy is everywhere
CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
The Last Padawan: #1 | #2 | #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)