Kanan: The Last Padawan #2
By Greg Weisman, Pepe Larraz & David Curiel
Kanan: The Last Padawan has been a surprisingly good comic so far and the second issue continues the form of the first one. Writer Greg Weisman, artist Pepe Larraz and colourist David Curiel focus the action, unlike in the first issue, primarily in the period of the Clone Wars meaning that it’s most likely that the characters from Star Wars Rebels will only have featured in a brief cameo for now, and probably won’t have a major part to play in the series, which is fine by this reviewer. Kanan: The Last Padawan continues to give depth to the young Kanan, who now goes by the name Caleb Dume, who fought with his Jedi Master Depa Billaba, and explores one of the most pivotal moments in his life, Order 66, with all the set-up from the first issue culminating in an epic payoff that resulted in tragic events for both Kanan and his Master .
Fans of Star Wars Rebels know that Depa is not going to make it out of this alive, but Weisman manages to handle the loss of Caleb’s mentor very well in this issue. The decision to flesh out the characters beforehand really worked well, especially with the extra touches on the Clones’ personalities, really made the betrayal all the more emotional even though it was only two issues. We didn’t even get a full arc before Order 66, and the pace of the series so far seems to be shaping up to be pretty good, with Weisman leaving this book in another cliffhanger, that will instantly have readers looking forward to the next issue. Whilst it’s not quite as big as the previous one, as nothing could probably top Order 66, it’s still pretty big, and you’re left wondering how Caleb will escape, even though of course, you know he will, because he’s in Star Wars Rebels several years later. The comic manages to keep the tension high even though we know the outcome, with the second issue continuing to be incredibly strong.
It’s also worth noting the introduction of a new character, Janus Kasmir in one of the quieter scenes of this issue that is still mostly charging forward at an incredibly strong pace. We don’t quite know if Kasmir is going to crop up again, but it’d be great to see him back, as he could eventually end up becoming a mentor to the young Caleb and help his transformation to Kanan. However, it could also just as likely be a one-off appearance. It’s too early to tell at this stage, but there’s lots of potential there and would give Caleb a mentor that would teach him how to survive in ways that the Jedi never did.
We get to experience the horror and tragic feel of Order 66 and this book has a remarkably different tone to Star Wars Rebels as a result, feeling a lot darker yet at the same time taking place in recognisably the same Universe. The artist Pepe Larrez really does the book justice as well, with some fascinating detail in the portrayal of not just the background scenery but also the Clone Troopers themselves, and they look very good indeed. The distinctive colours of David Curiel also help flesh out the pages of the book and give it some great depth and a strong sense of atmosphere. Whilst this may be the ongoing Star Wars book that’s receiving the least attention at the moment, it’s certainly up there with the likes of Darth Vader and Jason Aaron’s core title in terms of quality, as the creative team knocks it out of the park to deliver a really strong issue that fans of both Rebels and the wider Star Wars Universe will still enjoy.