In Review: Kanan: The Last Padawan #3

Kanan's future life is taking shape in an exciting and superiorly illustrated tale.

The cover: In the cockpit of the ship he stole from Kasmir, Caleb Dume wonders how he’s going to get out of this scrape, as the top of the image shows that he’s being pursued by several Imperial ships. Excellent illustration by Mark Brooks, with a fantastic amount of detail on that cockpit interior. The exterior of the ship also looks good with it taking some fire from the ships behind. Caleb looks too young to be doing what he’s doing, but that’s the point of this series, isn’t it? Overall grade: A

The story: “Pivot” by Greg Weisman opens with Caleb just as he is on the cover–being boxed in by fifteen Imperial ships who are demanding, “Surrender or be destroyed!” The young Padawan has taken more than sixty seconds to respond, so the clones begin to fire. ‘What do I do now? Well, what else?’ he thinks. ‘I run. Again,’ and he puts his ship into overdrive and takes off with blaster fire following him. He gets into hyperspace–and that’s no spoiler, ’cause if he didn’t he’d be toast–and he has to decide where to go. I like having him think of his options; this is an excellent way by Weisman to have the audience within the lead’s head so that they can cheer or warn him in his choices. I love his conclusion on Page 6, ‘So I have to stop thinking like a Jedi…and return to the one place no one would ever expect…’ And he goes to this location. Based on the previous two issues, I knew whom he’d go running to, and that individual’s reaction is as I thought it would be. I was impressed though, that this person didn’t turn him over to the Imperials instantly, as I had guessed. Instead, something happens to this person that requires Caleb’s intervention and a reluctant partnership is born. This nicely showed why Caleb had to change his look and name, and why he should always be watching his back. There was a lot of suspense (10 – 12 and 17 – 18), humor (13 and 14), and emotion (6, 15 – 16). Plus, that’s one heck of a cliffhanger. Overall grade: A+  

The art: Stunning work on this book by Pepe Larraz. The first page is a splash showing Caleb in the cockpit of his ship, with the Imperial fighters outside closing in on him. It’s just as detailed as the cover by Brooks, but it’s shown from an incredibly impressive angle–looking up, as if from the dash, and onto Caleb and out the window. It’s really sharp. Larraz hasn’t played all this cards, though. Pages 2 and 3 are a double-page splash that will have Star Wars ship enthusiasts drooling. I’m not a ship fan myself, but even I was impressed with what’s been created and I had to pour over the entire image after reading the text. When the ships go into action the illustrations are just as strong, with an excellent ship explosion at the bottom of 4. The character work on this book is also well done, with the returning character on Page 7 drawn from several angles throughout and going through a range of emotions. On 8 the fourth panel has one character speaking no dialogue, but it’s obvious to the reader, by the illustration, what’s going through that person’s head. If an artist can communicate thoughts without text, he or she is extremely skilled. The action isn’t all serious, there’s an extremely comical two panel sequence on Page 13 that made me laugh out loud. This book looks beautiful. Overall grade: A+

The colors: An interior of a small ship in space shouldn’t be lit very brightly, and it’s not on the first page. However, David Curiel has found the perfect mix of colors to connote darkness, yet brightened up enough objects, and putting shines off of others, to allow the visuals to be completely seen. The splash of 2 and 3 uses terrific scarlets to make Caleb’s ship stand out, and every shade of grey and blue is used for the Imperial ships, making them instantly villainous, rather than the bright colors used in Episode III that showed they were on the good guys’ side. Space is also well colored, being a combination of blue, black, and violet. I like that Caleb’s thought balloons were in yellow, creating an instant visual cue to let readers know that what they were reading was not being spoken. Page 12’s last panel has the best coloring of the book because several characters are in water. Liquids usually trip up colorists, but not Curiel, who uses several different shades to show depth and movement in the water. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Transmissions, thoughts and dialogue (same font), gorgeous title work on Page 3, yells, screams, sounds, and the tease for next issue’s continuation are by VC’s Joe Caramagna. I’m not a fan of the dialogue font, which stands out as weak in the transmission on 2, and I’m disappointed that the igniting of a lightsaber has no sound. The insertion of this sound is not Caramagna’s choice, it was Weisman’s, and it needed to be there. That lack makes its appearance on that page lose power. Overall grade: B

The final line: Kanan’s future life is taking shape in an exciting and superiorly illustrated tale. Will please Star Wars fans and those curious about Star Wars Rebels. I’d really like to see the lettering changed and sounds added, though. Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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