The former Jedi Caleb Dume is learning what the life of a criminal is like as he is partnering with Kalleran Kasmir Janus, who has become a mentor-of-sorts. After trading his Jedi robes and lightsaber for criminal garb and a blaster, Caleb soon finds out that he is betrayed yet again when Kasmir reveals that he is a Jedi Padawan. He also learns that the galaxy at large considers him and the rest of the Jedi traitors thanks to the Galactic Empire’s propaganda and stigma against the warriors who swore to protect all life and the now dead Republic.
As part of the 10th anniversary of Star Wars Rebels, we continue to revisit Marvel Comics Star Wars: Kanan - The Last Padawan, revealing Kanan Jarrus’ past as the Jedi fugitive Caleb Dume. With the writing of Greg Weisman and the illustrations from artist Pepe Laraz and colorist David Curiel, Kanan’s past continues to unravel in the fourth issue titled “Catch.”
The issue begins with the former Caleb Dume being captured and imprisoned in the lair of Kalleran leader Gamut Key, the same man whom he had encountered with Jedi Master Depa Billaba after they liberated Kaller from the Separatists. Even worse, Key has contacted Caleb’s former allies, Clone troopers Captain Styles and Commander Grey, to notify them that he has the former Jedi. However, when all hope is lost, Caleb is broken out by the same man who got him imprisoned in exchange for money: Kasmir Janus.
What is fascinating about Weisman’s writing is that Caleb’s past as a Jedi padawan begins to catch up to him. One of the ways the writing does this is by placing the reader in a somber moment of the thought of Kanan being betrayed yet again, only to be taken for a twist when Kasmir breaks Caleb out. Weisman’s narration from Kanan’s perspective circles readers back to his trauma of when Depa told him to run before her death during Order 66. Another example is when Kanan recounts his time as a smuggler and how he doesn’t think his Jedi Master would “want to know what she’d think of him.” Another way Weisman connects the neophyte smuggler to his previous life as a Jedi is the scene where Styles and Grey finally catch up to him. Kanan narrates that when he senses danger, he tries “reaching for a memory,” which is his lightsaber instead of his blaster. This shows that there is a part of that Jedi still within Caleb.
Another fascinating thing about Weisman’s writing is how his narration from Kanan makes the parallels between two of his mentors, Kasmir Janus and Depa Billaba. As Depa was the mother Caleb never had, it almost seems as if Kashmir is the father Caleb never had. And Weisman’s Caleb, who is now a thief and a smuggler under Kasmir, seems to be riding high just like he did when he was a Jedi Padawan in the Clone Wars. He is just having the time of his life while handling a blaster and being on the run. However, Weisman’s writing performs a Reverse Uno card on the mood of the issue from happy to doom when he reinserts Grey and Styles relentlessly and brutally chasing Caleb as they beat up a poor Gamorrean who claims not to have seen any Jedi.
In addition, Weisman creates a unique chemistry between Caleb and Kasmir through their hilarious dialogue. During the break-out scene, Kasmir says they should make Caleb’s Jedi revelation into a con, which doesn’t amuse the former Jedi. Another humorous moment is when Kasmir tells Caleb that one day, he will have to ditch him after they finish a job since, after every job, they have to go through hyperspace to avoid the Clones. Caleb seemingly doesn’t listen much to Kasmir’s annoyance until he tells his mentor that whether or not Clones are chasing them, “it works to [Kasmir’s] advantage to stay on the move given [his] chosen profession.” This prompts laughter from the scoundrel, who comments that Caleb is learning what it is like to be a thief.
A much bigger twist from Weisman is the trading partner of “Jondo,” whom Kasmir has Kanan meet on the planet Lahn for a trade of “stolen goods for stolen goods.” It is revealed that “Jondo” happens to be General Kleeve, the former leader of the Separatists occupying Kaller, which prompts Caleb to pull his blaster on him.
Weisman’s writing creates a thought-provoking dialogue between Caleb and Kleeve, which is basically a parallel between two war veterans from opposing sides in a war that ended.
Kleeve explains that as a Separatist, “he fought for freedom but put [his] trust in a corrupt leadership.” However, Caleb retorts that Kleeve was a part of that leadership. The former General tells the former Jedi that the Force-wielders, too, were leaders who did not understand the cause they were fighting for. Kleeve tells Caleb to lower his weapon and that he has Kasmir’s ship much to Caleb’s excitement since they were planning on getting separate ships to use in the event they got in trouble. However, not surprisingly, Grey and Styles happen to show up and capture Kasmir. This dialogue continues when Caleb and Jondo head over to the second ship (which Caleb calls The Escape). The former general talks to Caleb about how “war brought out the best in him,” to which Caleb acknowledges the same for himself. Kanan recalls that he understood Kleeve but told himself he doesn’t since “ex-padawans don’t have the luxury of self-examination, reflection, or recrimination.”
This issue had a lot of splash pages that were done brilliantly by Laraz and Curiell. The most masterful splash was the one of Depa Billaba looking pensive as several images of Caleb and Kasmir doing their cons surround her. This image is coupled with Caleb’s regret of living as a criminal and shuddering at thinking of what his Jedi Master would think of him if she were still alive. Another splash was the revelation of the former Separatist ‘General Kleeve as Jondo. What is impressive about this splash is that it is accompanied by smaller panels showing a surprised Caleb. Just by looking at General Kleeve, you can sense a sinister energy when he enters the room to a bewildered Caleb due to him wearing a dark cloak and his modified eyepatch. The splash leaves the reader wondering whether he is a friend or a foe.
Some of Laraz and Curiel’s art also matches the mood set by Weisman’s writing. The panels featuring Styles and Grey interrogating and beating up a Gamorean are very dark and brutal. Commander Grey’s shadowed and scared face is shown as he tells the Gamorrean that he and Styles will “do what must be done” to find and execute Caleb. Going back to the scene where Caleb tells Kasmir that being on the move works to his advantage, the panels show a surprised and humored Kasmir, who is probably taken aback by the thought of a former Jedi starting to become one the scum of the galaxy. Kasmir’s surprised expression quickly turns to an elated one, and the scoundrel laughs at Caleb’s reasoning not to throw him out.
The fourth issue ends with Styles and Grey finally capturing Caleb and taking him to be executed for treason under Order 66.
Kanan - The Last Padawan # 4 is the comic where we continue to see the evolution of the naive, playful, and curious Caleb Dume to the streetwise, battle-hardened, and wise Kanan Jarrus. We also begin to see why Kanan initially did not trust the clones like Captain Rex, Commander Wolfe, and Commander Gregor when he met them in Season 2 of Rebels.
The only question for this issue is: how is Caleb Dume going to escape Styles and Grey now that he is in their custody and about to be executed?