In Review: Kanan #11

This should be mandatory reading for all Star Wars fans.

The cover: Flanked by four shock clone troopers, Padawan Caleb Dume is being lead somewhere. His face shows that he’s ready for any thing that might come his way, in fact, he still has his lightsaber on his belt. This is an outstanding frontpiece by Mark Brooks, after a design by artist Allison Sohn. The cover looks great and would look terrific as a print to join Sohn’s work. Overall grade: A+

The story: “First Blood” Part V by Greg Weisman begins with the cast of Rebels in dire straits: they’ve been captured by several stormtroopers after a ferocious battle last issue. Kanan continues to float in a bacta tank, unaware of what’s happening to his friends. Instead, he’s continuing to relive the past, when he was Caleb Dume, Padawan, crying over trooper Stance who was just killed before him. This is Mygeeto, and the Republic’s forces are losing. However, with his friend dead, the Force sensitive youth unleashes an emotion that Jedi should not experience: hate. Dume lashes out at the killer. Meanwhile, Jedi Master Depa Billaba is battling recently revealed General Grievous, and he wants to fix the error of letting her survive a previous encounter. The action is frantic, with both heroes doing their best to be victorious, but an action on Page 9 turns the battle in the wrong direction. Kanan appears lost in sorrow and rage as he fights. A surprising turn in one character’s battle occurs on 12, resulting in a painful lesson. The story returns to the present on the final three pages and gives fans the moment they’ve been waiting for. Weisman does not disappoint. This is everything one could ask for in a Star Wars story. Overall grade: A+

The art: The visuals of Pepe Larraz are a gift from the Maker. The three panels on the opening page beautifully establish the setting, the characters’ predicament, and the title character, granted in an unconscious state. And I have to draw attention to that first panel, which is simply marvelous. Given this opening, how could Larraz top it? How about an incredibly powerful double-paged splash showing Caleb cradling the body of his dead friend, as the killer looks down upon him? The pain coming out of Dume is tremendous, and his turn to rage frightening. The confrontation between Billaba and Grievous is spectacular. It’s amazing how Larraz can create so much much motion in these frozen images, but one cannot help but feel the energy explode off the page when the Separatist leader lunges at the Jedi on Page 6. The fury the Master unleashes on the cyborg will leave readers with mouths agape at what is done on 8. The frenzy of Caleb’s battle is equally impressive, though its dramatic finish is unexpected and creates just as much awe. The last three pages give readers the moment they’ve been craving since this story began, and Larraz, like Weisman, does not disappoint. Overall grade: A+

The colors: David Curiel continues to dazzle with his colorful contributions to this series. Look at how his colors makes the night sky wonderful in the first panel and how he creates water in the second and third panels. With a turn of a page, look at the sensational shading he does on the characters’ faces, making the art look like photography. The energy that explodes out of each page, be it blaster, lightsaber, or flame, Curiel makes them seem powerful and deadly. The best page of his work is the final one, for the full reveal of the characters, shown in spectacular colors. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue and narration (the same font), yells, Grievous’s dialogue, yells, screams, sounds, and the epic closing story title are by VC’s Joe Caramagna. The font used for all of Marvel’s Star Wars comics’ dialogue continues to be too thin and curvy to carry the weight of characters’ speech, and it looks particularly underwhelming when used in italicized format for General Grievous. The visual representation of his speech is more flowery than formidable. However, the sounds and closing title look good. Overall grade: B+

The final line: This should be mandatory reading for all Star Wars fans. This is my highest possible recommendation of the week. So go get it already! 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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