Star Wars: Kanan Vol. 1: The Last Padawan: Insight into a Star Wars favourite

Star Wars: Kanan Vol. 1: The Last Padawan by Greg WeismanStar Wars: Kanan Vol. 1: The Last Padawan by Greg Weisman

Star Wars: Kanan Vol. 1: The Last Padawan by Greg WeismanThe secret backstory of Kanan Jarrus, one of the main characters in the animated television show Star Wars Rebels, was ripe for comic book expansion. As a former Jedi Padawan who was only a teenager when the rest of the Jedi Order was wiped out, his past provides plenty of scope for exciting and bittersweet stories. After all, as a survivor of the purge, he was one of the lucky ones.

During an otherwise straightforward supply-run to Lothal, the crew of the Ghost notice that Kanan has a rather sharp reaction to their need for a pit-stop on the planet Kaller. It turns out that he’s been there before, and flashbacks (which comprise most of the issue) take us back fifteen years to the middle of the Clone Wars, where Kanan — then called Caleb Dume — fought alongside his master Depa Billaba for the Republic.

They successfully freed Kaller from Separatist troops — but that night Order 66 was executed. In a matter of seconds, the clones that Caleb considered his friends and allies turned on him, and he was left entirely alone in the galaxy. As he points out, he’s been taught how to think, meditate and fight, but not to survive on his own.

Hunted by two of his former clone comrades, Caleb eventually falls into a partnership with Janus Kasmir, a Kalleran thief and smuggler who knew him briefly in his Jedi days. The unlikely team-up proves advantageous to both of them, but Caleb can’t forget his past, or his responsibility to the Jedi Order …

Written by Greg Weisman, who also worked on Star Wars Rebels, the story has a strong grasp not only of Kanan’s character but the wider STAR WARS universe. There are plenty of call-backs and in-jokes, as well as fascinating little tidbits on Jedi training, the free will of the clones, and Depa Billaba’s understanding of the Order’s mistakes.

Pepe Larraz and Jacopo Camagni‘s artwork is also impressive, and I especially loved the design for the Kallerans, to the point where I’m a little disappointed they haven’t turned up in any of the films. What’s a STAR WARS story without a new alien species to admire? All of the characters are bursting with personality and kinetic energy, and there are plenty of amazing visuals, my favourite being the Ghost crew talking over crates while Kanan looks over their shoulders at the exact place his master died.
Star Wars: Kanan Vol. 1: The Last Padawan by Greg WeismanThis is a great comic book if you’re a fan of the character Kanan Jarrus, the show Star Wars Rebels, or even the franchise in general. You don’t need to have any prior knowledge to pick up what’s happening here, and it’s a colourful, intriguing look not only into a specific character, but the time period in which he lived.

Published in 2015. Collects Kanan – The Last Padawan #1-6. In Star Wars: Rebels, Kanan Jarrus is a cocky, sarcastic renegade fighting the Galactic Empire alongside the ragtag crew of the Ghost. But years before, during the Clone Wars, he was known as Caleb Dume, a Jedi Padawan training under Master Depa Billaba. Neither master nor apprentice ever suspected that their “loyal” Clone Troopers would turn on them upon the issuing of Order 66 — the Emperor’s directive to execute all Jedi. How did Caleb Dume escape the Jedi purge? How did he learn to survive on his own after his master fell? And how did he become the man we know as Kanan Jarrus? What can a Padawan do when being a Jedi makes him a target? Join young Caleb for a tale that bridges the years between the Clone Wars and Rebels!

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REBECCA FISHER, with us since January 2008, earned a Masters degree in literature at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her thesis included a comparison of how C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman each use the idea of mankind’s Fall from Grace to structure the worldviews presented in their fantasy series. Rebecca is a firm believer that fantasy books written for children can be just as meaningful, well-written and enjoyable as those for adults, and in some cases, even more so. Rebecca lives in New Zealand. She is the winner of the 2015 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best SFF Fan Writer.

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