WARNING: Spoilers for Kanan: The Last Padawan #2 are included in this review.
Kanan: The Last Padawan #2 plunges right into the action and rarely lets up throughout the entire issue. There’s almost no time to dwell on this installment’s dark and tragic storyline as we try to keep up with the blur of events that our hero undergoes.
The issue picks up right where the previous chapter left off. Kanan, still going by the name Caleb Dume, and his master Depa Billaba are attacked by their clone troopers as part of Order 66 after liberating the Outer Rim world of Kaller. Caleb escapes after his master sacrifices her life to distract the traitorous clones, but he’s alone and being hunted on an unfamiliar world.
The padawan sneaks his way into Plateau City, where he struggles to survive and elude capture until he meets a Kallerian that briefly crossed his path in the previous issue. Introducing himself as Janus Kasmir, the Kallerian gives Caleb some food and lets him sleep aboard his ship. Their alliance is short-lived, however, as clone troopers arrive to search the ship, and Caleb is forced to steal it and take off without the Kallerian onboard.
The young Jedi sets a course for Coruscant after picking up an emergency signal from the Jedi Temple, but on his way there, he receives a message from Obi-Wan Kenobi, warning all Jedi to stay away from Coruscant. It’s too late, though, as Caleb arrives above the planet only to be surrounded by Republic ships that were waiting for him.
As you would expect from a story that focuses on the darkest moment in Star Wars history, Kanan #2 tells a harrowing story full of loss, terror and hopelessness. Revenge of the Sith may have shown us how Order 66 played out on a galaxywide scale, but for the comic, writer Greg Weisman and artist Pepe Larraz bring the massacre down to the small and personal scale, with the horror etched on Caleb’s face as he watches his master get cut down.
This month’s tale really only pauses to properly introduce Kasmir, the Kallerian who sports a very familiar armguard and gave the Jedis crap last issue for taking over Kaller. It’s a bit too early to figure out how Kasmir will fit into Kanan’s story, but I’m digging the cobra-like look of the Kallerians, which gives them this untrustworthy menace even when they seem friendly.
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The artwork overall is stellar, especially making great use of shadows to turn the clone troopers’ helmet faces into a demonic visage. Kudos is also deserved for the work on Kaller, where the terrain morphs from a rocky plain from last issue into a shadowy, dense forest here. My only gripe is with the depiction of Plateau City, which has a bland industrial feel that doesn’t do much to distinguish its identity.
That’s why I’m really looking forward to next issue, where hopefully we’ll get to see plenty of post-ROTS Coruscant. For now, this entry laid some intriguing groundwork for Kanan/Caleb, and it’s already retroactively shaping my perception of the character on Star Wars: Rebels.