In Review: Kanan: The Last Padawan #4

A must read for Star Wars fans.

The cover: Caleb has a large box under one arm and pistol in his left hand, while new frenemeny Kasmir looks overjoyed standing behind him, holding a pistol in each hand. The light source is a high rectangle behind them that is obscured by smoke, either from something burning outside or within the dark space that they’re in. This is a good cover by Mark Brooks, but it’s really dark. I would rather there have been a bright color for a background, rather than black, because the characters are already darkly colored, and the whole image is a smudge of colors outside of the colorless title and window. Overall grade: B-

The story: The penultimate chapter in this story has Caleb being sold out by new ally Kasmir, a smuggler. The guards’ boss appears and it’s Tapusk, a Kalleran like Kasmir, who says he’ll take the reward for ratting out the young Jedi to the Empire. Soon the padawan is placed in a cell as Tapusk contacts Commander Grey and Captain Styles, who say they’ll be there in less than an hour to carry out the execution. The holograph captain yells at the boy, “You’re dead meat, traitor!” Caleb doesn’t know what to do except wallow in depression. He thinks, ‘What do I make peace with? The Force? I’ve never felt less of a connection to all living things. Master Billaba would be so disappointed in–‘ and then something happens to change his luck. I enjoyed the rationale for why the padawan was not to be killed. Page 7 is a full page of time passing, and writer Greg Weisman nicely shows how Caleb grows into becoming Kanan from Star Wars Rebels. Page 9 has a perfect wiseass comeback. There’s a nice reveal on Page 11 that has Caleb learning a good lesson about past enemies. 14 is the page that has the title character coming into his own, finally out on his own, and making decisions. The last page has a great cliffhanger that ends the issue how it should. Kanan is making his way forward, and I’m liking it. Overall grade: A

The art: The visuals on this book continue to be outstanding. I love the design of the Kallerans, who are unique to this series. Pepe Larraz gets a tremendous amount of emotion out of these characters, with Page 9 being the best example of this. Caleb also looks sensational, as he goes from shocked and depressed to cocky and confident by the end of the issue. The clone troopers look great, with and without their helmets. There are a pair of familiar looking aliens on Page 3, whom I wish more could have been shown of, but the story didn’t need them. As superb as Larraz’s character work is, his settings really sell the heck out of this story. The opening has a prison that has cells in unique locations, with Lahn being gorgeous. Everything about this location, the buildings, the flora, and the fish life (Yes, you read that right) are amazing. The book could have had Caleb go on a walking tour of the planet for all twenty pages and I would have been more than satisfied with what Larraz would have shown. The ships on this book are also amazing. Page 6 reintroduces a familiar ship, but 18 introduces a new one that will have readers feeling the same as Caleb. There’s also a watercraft on 17 that’s sweet. That word sums up the visuals of this book well: sweet. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Excellent coloring on this book from David Curiel. There’s so much to like that he’s done: the greens on the Kallerans, the blues on 2 and 3, the jungles, sea, and sky of Lahn, and the clouds of the final two pages. Curiel also does a nice job with parts of the lettering, shading Caleb’s narration balloons in yellow to notify readers whose thoughts are being given and the fantastic reds when someone laughs on Page 9. This is strong work. Overall grade: A+ 

The letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna does the letters, as he does on all of Marvel’s Star Wars books. Dialogue and narration (the same font), transmissions, book’s story title, laugher, yells, and “To be concluded….” are his creations. I’m still not liking the weak font for the dialogue, and ellipsis don’t run longer than three periods. Overall grade: B

The final line: I’m really enjoying this book and am glad to hear that Weisman is on the book through Issue #11 and, after next issue and a break, Larraz returns for Issue #7. This issue shows they make a great team. This is a must read for Star Wars fans. 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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