WARNING: Spoilers for Kanan: The Last Padawan comic book series.
Marvel’s best Star Wars comic is finally starting to draw back the curtain hiding the backstory of Caleb Dume, as he slowly morphs into the persona of Kanan Jarrus while trying to serve the Jedi Purge. But while it’s great to see the character taking shape in the latest issue, it’s simultaneously frustrating that the comic takes some unnecessary, repetitive steps on the journey.
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Kanan: The Last Padawan #3 opens with Caleb escaping the situation he found himself in last issue after stealing a ship from the alien pirate Kasmir and fleeing to Coruscant. Surrounded by Imperial ships above the planet, the young Jedi breaks free long enough to jump to hyperspace and decides to head back to Kaller, where his master Depa Billaba was killed by clone troopers as part of Order 66.
Landing back on Kaller, he’s quickly confronted by Kasmir, who scares him away. But with nowhere to go, Caleb soon returns and manages to convince Kasmir to recruit him for a mission. The two attempt to steal a shipment of droids, but when they’re caught in the act, Kasmir sells out Caleb as a Jedi in order to save his own skin.
Interestingly, the Kanan comic is beginning to share some of the weaknesses of the show its titular character stars in. Just like some episodes of Star Wars: Rebels, this installment feels like mostly filler as the writers keep hiding their cards.
Caleb somewhat too easily escapes the predicament from last issue, and then immediately returns to Kaller, when it might have been simpler to just keep him on the planet. Kasmir sends him away, but then he returns and gets recruited for a mission. The whole issue seems to be constructed out of unnecessary developments that could have been cut.
That said, Caleb begins to undergo his transformation into Kanan, as Kasmir forces him to cut his hair and adopt some new clothes. One of Kanan’s most interesting aspects is his uneasiness with his Jedi past, so it’s nice to see that reflected here when Caleb expresses how uncomfortable it is to hold a blaster.
Artist Pepe Larraz is still turning in some great artwork, though, wringing some dynamic panels out of the comic’s glossy, futuristic style that sets it apart from the other Star Wars books.
Seeing the pieces of Kanan’s history come together is satisfying, but it’s hard to shake the feeling while reading this issue that Greg Weisman is saving the juicier parts of the story for later, which hopefully move into fresh territory.
- The helmet Kasmir wears during the operation is badass. Probably second only to Boba Fett in terms of Star Wars headgear.
- What was with the yellow text boxes throughout the issue? They functioned as Caleb’s narration, but they felt repetitive and intrusive.
- You can catch a glimpse of the holocron Kanan gives to Ezra in Rebels in this issue, as he adopts Kasmir’s new outfit.