As part of the upcoming 10th anniversary of Star Wars Rebels, we continue the review of Marvel Comics Star Wars: Kanan - The Last Padawan comic written by Greg Weisman and illustrated by Pepe Larraz and David Curiel. This issue covers the tragic and traumatic events of Order 66 through the eyes of the man who was once the Jedi Padawan Caleb Dume: Kanan Jarrus.
The second issue leaves where the first left off, which was 14 years into the mysterious yet formative past of Kanan Jarrus. Caleb is relishing his good life due to feeling as if he has found his place in the galaxy as Jedi Master Depa Bilaba’s Jedi Padawan. While holding the Jedi Holocron, he feels that he is finally doing well with his fellow clone troopers by freeing the planet Kaller from the grip of the Separatists. But in a matter of seconds, Caleb’s life is turned upside down when the clones attack him and his master as Palpatine gives the command to execute Order 66.
Once again, just like in the first issue, Weisman’s writing shows a lot of dualities surrounding Caleb Dume that lead to his transition into Kanan Jarrus. The first is where Kanan is narrating, but you can hear him as Caleb talking about how good life is after becoming a Padawan and making a difference in the galaxy. Caleb is on cloud nine, living the life of Jedi Padawan, only for it to be pulled from underneath him due to the clones murdering Depa.
Another notable duality in the writing is in the dialogue between Depa and a confused Caleb, who questions why his mentor kills the clones they once fought alongside. Depa tells Caleb to “Run or fight. But do not just stand there.” The Padawan chooses to aid his master in fighting off the clones, but they eventually become overwhelmed. Depa Bilaba commands Caleb to run before getting gunned down. As Weisman narrates his experience in Order 66, you can hear the pain and regret in his voice as he slowly becomes the jaded Kanan Jarrus. Kanan would revisit this pain during his interrogation with the Grand Inquisitor in the Star Wars Rebels Season 1 episode "Fire Across the Galaxy."
Weisman’s writing also added another dimension to Order 66, as shown in Star Wars Rebels: the clone's views of the Jedi. In the second season of Rebels, the third episode, "The Lost Commanders," touched on this when Commander Wolffe showed initial fear at the sight of Kanan igniting his lightsaber. In the comic, it is shown that the clones were willing to kill the Jedi by any means necessary, even if it meant committing friendly fire on their brothers. Captain Styles orders his fellow troopers to widen the perimeter surrounding Caleb and Depa. Commander Grey asks about the crossfire, to which the Captain responds, “What scares you more? Crossfire or Jedi?”
The splash page by Larraz and Curiel shows a collage of Order 66, as seen by Caleb. The splash also showed Caleb’s vision of Ki-Adi-Mundi being gunned down by the clones, accompanied by the image of Depa protecting Caleb beside the campfire. This image automatically makes the reader feel they are experiencing the horrors of Order 66. The horror shown in the panels of the clones gunning down Depa, Caleb hiding from the clones while his Jedi robes become tattered, and the Jedi Padawan trying to survive is very palpable. Just by looking at those images, you can also feel sadness for Caleb when the men he saw as friends kill the woman who was the closest thing he had to a mother.
It should be noted that the Order 66 scenes in this comic were retold in the Disney + series, The Bad Batch. However, the scene in The Bad Batch, as opposed to the one depicted in the comic, is drastically different. The Bad Batch shows Kaller being a snowy planet and Captain Styles is not shown. There is no warm scene involving a campfire and clones being friendly with Depa and Caleb. However, the TV show does show Depa telling Caleb to run before getting killed by the clones under her command. Furthermore, he is pursued by Hunter and Crosshair of Clone Force 99, with the former trying to help him due to his control chip not activating while Crosshair tries to kill him.
Weisman also introduced a character, a Kalleran scoundrel named Kasmir Jannus, who helps Caleb evade the clone troopers chasing him in Plateau City. Kasmir tells Kanan that due to his status as a Jedi, he is in the same boat as the criminals and miscreants. As a fugitive, he must learn how to lie, cheat, and steal to survive. Kasmir is probably seen as a catalyst for Caleb's transformation into Kanan and how to survive in a galaxy that no longer looks at the Jedi with respect. We are also not sure whether Kasmir is a good guy or a bad guy or what his motives are. Kanan takes Kasmir’s advice when he steals his ship, the Kasmiri , to evade the clones searching for him so that he can return to Coruscant. As he arrives, he sees Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi’s hologram message warning any surviving Jedi to avoid the galactic capital. This leads Caleb into a trap by clones flying ARC-170 starfighters.
The second issue leaves off with Caleb inside the Kasmiri, caught in the crosshairs of the clones orbiting Coruscant despite ignoring Obi-Wan’s message not to return to Coruscant. How is Caleb, the Jedi fugitive, going to escape the clutches of the clones who are out for Jedi blood?
Star Wars: Kanan - The Last Padawan # 2 is an excellent issue that evokes trauma experienced by a Jedi Padawan and also briefly shows the clones' views of the Jedi after Order 66 is executed. All around, it's a solid book not to be missed.