Series: Kanan – The Last Padawan
Writer: Greg Weisman
Art: Pepe Larraz & David Curiel
Summary from Comixology: “Kanan Jarrus: In Star Wars Rebels, he’s a cocky, sarcastic renegade fighting against the Galactic Empire alongside the ragtag crew of the Ghost. But years before, at the height of the Clone Wars, he was known as Caleb Dume, Jedi Padawan under the instruction of Jedi Master Depa Billaba. Neither master nor apprentice ever suspected that the Clone Troopers they commanded would turn on them upon the issuing of Order 66-the order to execute all Jedi. How did Caleb Dume survive? How did he learn to survive on his own? And how did he become the man we know as Kanan Jarrus?”
Out of the first wave of Marvel’s Star Wars comics, this was the one I was the least excited about. I don’t follow the show, but not because I dislike it. It’s mostly because I have an apathetic relationship with television. It looks fine, I just don’t really feel any attachment to the crew of the Ghost. To be honest, I wasn’t even planning on reading this book since I haven’t watched but two or three episodes of the show and figured I’d be lost the entire time. As I was quickly browsing the new releases at my local comic shop on my lunch break, I grabbed a copy just to pacify my inner Star Wars nerd that would’ve been embarrassed to not have a #1 of a Star Wars series. I generally don’t have a lot of expectations when it comes to consumption of entertainment, but I have to admit I set the bar so low that you could barely stub your toe on it.
This book shattered my expectations, and not just because my expectations were lower than an average Stormtrooper’s accuracy with an E-11 blaster rifle. I was worried that I would be lost because the book would focus on the events happening during the show, but Weisman writes a damn good story that focuses almost exclusively on Kanan’s days as a padawan. This prequel of sorts was moving because we know that it’s just building to Order 66. Kanan’s master, Depa Billaba, is very much like how Qui-Gon Jinn is depicted in Ep. I: wise, present, and a free thinker. The great story is matched almost perfectly by Pepe Larraz. Larraz’s art flows back and forth between dark and serious, and light-hearted. The fight sequences have a very Japanese feel to them, and in some cases the lightsabers actually resemble katanas more than their theatrical counterparts. The last few panels show Kanan around the campfire with his master and their Clone commanders, and even though you know what’s going to happen eventually, it is a very light hearted scene that contrasts well with the relentless action of the first several pages.
Surprisingly, nothing was all that bad about this issue except my horribly misplaced preconceptions.
When I initially picked up this issue, I figured I would be telling you that “this is a great book to get for a 10 year old who loves the show.” I was wrong. This book was a fantastic first issue that, despite not knowing anything about the show. The first thing I thought about when I finished this issue was, “Damn, looks like I’m adding another book to my pull list.” It also made me interested in checking out the show, which I will do when the first season comes out on DVD. Overall, I give this book a 5 out of 5 because it absolutely blew my expectations out of the water.