In Review: Kanan: The Last Padawan #5

A superb conclusion to a fantastic story. Magnificent and recommended!

The cover: The last issue of this story arc has a fantastic final picture: in a forest tinted yellow-brown, padawan Caleb Dume is walking away from the reader. Behind him, in the pale green grass, is his lightsaber. This is a fantastic symbolic illustration showing the title character turning his back on his future. Perfect art with perfect coloring that conveys strong loss. Excellence from Mark Brooks. Overall grade: A+

The story: Greg Weisman wraps up this issue in incredible fashion. Caleb has been captured by Captain Styles and Commander Grey. As Styles communicates he has the padawan, Grey is given a nice dose of reality from captured Janus Kasmir: “You don’t even know what you’re fighting for anymore!” His reply is “I don’t have to know. I just have to follow orders.” On the troopers’ ship, Caleb hasn’t been killed. As the troopers have a conversation, the young man rises to his knees and tries to remind the clones of what their lives were like before the Emperor, who they fought with, and what they believed in. Star Wars fans will know exactly what the response of the soldiers will be, but there is no way any reader will expect what occurs on Page 6. Action goes into overdrive quickly, with an ending even more unexpected. It is the “Wow” moment for this entire story. Then, there’s a space battle — all that was missing from this story was the kitchen sink because Weisman is having Dume go out guns blazing. Pages 16 and 17 have a complete 180 for a character. This is the turning point in a character and it’s outstanding. It’s equally strong and sad to see this happen. The final two pages bring Caleb to the present, where he’s Kanan, surrounded by all his friends from Star Wars Rebels. This was a thrilling ending that was incredibly tight, creating emotional high points and a satisfying conclusion. Wow. Overall grade: A+

The art: Pepe Larraz should be on this book forever. Every page is a feast for the eyes. The opening page has a three panel sequence that rivals any film: a distant shot of the action that closes in on Grey and Janus. It’s flawlessly done. The emotion on Janus’ face as he spits his fury at the clone is so strong. I would have never thought the interior of a ship used for storage could be drawn in a visually engaging way, but Larraz does this in a partial double-paged splash on 2 and 3. The reactions on Caleb and the clones on Page 5 are stunning! When the action begins at the bottom of 6 I gave a cheer. Caleb is frightening at the bottom of 7, and I loved it! There’s no text on 8 and it’s amazing. Larraz is in absolute control of every inch of this artwork. And if a reader thinks that Larraz has topped himself, the dramatic pose of a character on 9 will thrill them once again. Then the ship-to-ship fighting occurs. I’ve said I’m not a fan of ship fighting, but I’m definitely one when Larraz is illustrating it. The character standing on Page 17 is fantastic — all that’s missing is the music to accompany the scene. Page 19 contains the perfect warm fuzzies that such an emotional story needed, and I was glad for it, but I’ll be darned if that last page didn’t thrill me all over again. I have to end this review with the same word as the story. Wow. Overall grade: A+ 

The colors: Matching the gorgeous artwork is the gorgeous coloring of David Curiel. His work is stunning right out of the gate. Look at the tremendous blues in the first panel, the strong reds next to the tans in the second, and the stark browns in the third. It’s a beautiful transition! When Caleb is speaking with the clones the colors become dark, but not dim. They enhance the emotion of what’s happening sensationally. The battle in space has exactly the explosion of colors one would expect from a Star Wars battle. This is just flat out beautiful. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Transmission, dialogue, yells, story title, sounds, a tremendous explosion of dialogue on 17, and the wonderful concluding text are created by VC’s Joe Caramagna. Much of the dialogue is italicized because people are in some very stressful situations, and Caramagna did a good job on that. I’m still not a fan of the font used for dialogue, but the yelling did seem to occur more than normal speech. Overall grade: A-

The final line: A superb conclusion to a fantastic story arc. This is what you give people who want to know what’s the big deal about Star Wars. Magnificent and recommended. 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.
    One Comment
  • Steve
    9 September 2015 at 10:11 am -

    This series has been the real surprise of the new Marvel Star Wars line. I got the first issue because of the “rebels” connection, but it turned out that Kanan is a surprisingly strong character on his own.

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