When Marvel announced new Star Wars comics for 2015 at San Diego Comic-Con 2014, I have to admit, I wasn’t thrilled. Three titles were unveiled initially: Star Wars, Darth Vader, and Princess Leia. All three set in the old trilogy era. I shrugged and didn’t focus on them until they finally appeared on shelves. Again, I wasn’t thrilled when I read them, but so far, I’ve enjoyed the content. It’s no secret, but I consider myself more of a prequel and Clone Wars era fan. After all, my favorite movie is Attack of the Clones, and I kid you not, most people give me that face. You know, the “you must be joking” face. It kind of looks like O_o?
Don’t get me wrong. I love the old movies, but my heart has always been with the prequel era, the animation side of Star Wars, and in the newer material, especially Star Wars Rebels. I love everything about it, including the new characters, stories, and the ties it has back to the Clone Wars period.
So imagine my sheer level of glee and excitement when Kanan: The Last Padawan was announced at New York Comic Con 2014, a comic that would focus on Kanan’s past as a Jedi Padawan during the Clone Wars.
Written by Greg Weisman and drawn by Pepe Larraz, the story starts off right where you want it to begin–in the heat of battle with doom lingering right around the corner. Taking place on the planet Kaller, readers are introduced to new characters both on the Separatist and Republic sides.
One character in particular, a Kalleran, reminded me of The Clone Wars character Cham Syndulla when he said, “The point Gamut Key is trying to make is…we Kallerans don’t see much difference between one General and another.” Meaning, that they don’t see the difference between the Separatists and the Republic.
Cham Syndulla once told Mace Windu, Depa Billaba’s old Master, something similar, “Another armed occupation is not a free Ryloth. How long before I am fighting you, Master Jedi?” It’s those cleverly hinted and subtle parallels that speak volumes about the mentality of the people caught between two sides of a war.
This is also the first time we see Caleb Dume in action, but it’s not the first time we see him question the things around him. We saw his inquisitive state of mind back in Star Wars: A New Dawn, a Star Wars Rebels prequel novel by John Jackson Miller, so I appreciate how the comic stayed true to that initial appearance and that it elaborated on his relationship with Depa Billaba. I was worried that the comic would jump immediately into Order 66 without fleshing out the Master and Padawan bond, but the brief moments shared and the transition from day to night in a series of panels allowed for the reader to understand how the two worked together.
Without going into great detail, the comic finally answers a longtime question about Kanan that came up when he was first introduced last year. There have been many theories regarding this particular detail, so I’m glad something this important appeared in the comic. It could have easily slipped into Rebels as a throwaway line, but to see it unfold visually in the comic made the exchange between Master and Padawan more profound.
And of course, as a fangirl of clone troopers, I naturally became attached to Commander Grey and Captain Styles. We’ve seen the fierce loyalty of clone troopers before, but these two were more vocal and carried more of the in-your-face attitude. They actually reminded me of the clone commandos in the Republic Commando book series. They didn’t hesitate to talk back to the Kallerans or Depa Billaba, even if they did it respectfully for the latter. The two also got along quite nicely with Caleb in an older brother/younger brother sort of way, which we haven’t really seen before in terms of relationships between clone troopers and Jedi Padawans. I like to think these interactions reinforce how individual and outspoken the clone troopers can be, despite the hidden organic chip that would eventually rob them of that freedom to choose during Order 66.
Without a doubt, Kanan: The Last Padawan is my favorite Marvel comic of the Star Wars line. It may be due to the fact that I’ve grown to love Kanan as a complex character and it’s the comic I’ve been craving since the cancellation of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but there’s no denying how perfectly it tied in with A New Dawn , Star Wars Rebels, The Clone Wars, and Revenge of the Sith. Greg Weisman, Pepe Larraz, and other members of the crew involved produced a successful comic and I can’t wait for the continuation.
Kanan: The Last Padawan is currently on shelves and available on digital devices. If you haven’t done so already, catch the 5-page preview over at StarWars.com.