Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I Reads You Review: KANAN: The Last Padawan #1


["Star Wars Central" review page is here.]

WRITER: Greg Weisman
ART: Pepe Larraz
COLORS: David Curiel
LETTERS: VC's Joe Caramagna
COVER: Mark Brooks
VARIANT COVERS: Phil Noto, Kilian Plunkett; Lucasfilm Ltd.; Skottie Young
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (June 2015)

Rated T

Book 1, Part 1: The Last Padawan

Star Wars Rebels” is a recently launched 3D CGI animated television series.  It is produced by Lucasfilm and Lucasfilm Animation and is set in the Star Wars universe, of course.  “Rebels” is set 14 years after the film, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), and five years before the events depicted in the original film, Star Wars (1977).  “Rebels” premiered on October 3, 2014 as a 44-minute, television film, entitled Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion on the Disney Channel.  “Rebels” premiered as a TV series on October 13, 2014 on Disney XD.

“Star Wars Rebels” takes place during an era when the Galactic Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy and features several new characters.  One of them is the former Jedi, Kanan Jarrus, who has spent years hiding his Force powers and lightsaber.  The fourth title in Marvel Comics' return to publishing Star Wars comic books returns to the time when Kanan was a Jedi Padawan (apprentice).

Entitled Kanan: The Last Padawan, this new series is written by Greg Weisman, a former executive producer of “Star Wars Rebels,” who also wrote several episodes of the series.  Kanan is drawn by Pepe Larraz, colored by David Curiel, and lettered by Joe Caramagna, with covers by Mark Brooks.

Kanan: The Last Padawan #1 opens 15 years before “Star Wars Rebels.”  Jedi Master Depa Billaba and her Padawan, Caleb Dume, are on the planet Kaller.  Master Billaba leads a contingent of the Grand Army of the Republic against Separatist droids.  The Jedi and the clone troops hope to chase the droids and their leader, General Kleeve, from the planet.  Don't expect the Kallerans to be grateful.  Meanwhile, there is darkness on the horizon.

First, I have to say, “Wow, who is Pepe Larraz?”  What a fantastic artist.  He reminds me of the art team of Stuart Immonen and Wade von Grawbadger.  With colorist David Curiel, Larraz captures the mercurial nature of Master Billaba and the wild and inquisitive nature of Caleb Dume.  Larraz's compositions capture the boundless potential of the young Padawan.  I also need to at least mention how good the cover art by Mark Brooks is.

As for the story, I found myself surprisingly intrigued.  I have not read many comic books written by Greg Weisman, but what I have read I've liked.  He makes the relationship between Master and Padawan seem genuine, balancing authority and obedience with camaraderie and patience.  I expected Kanan: The Last Padawan to be the least of the new Star Wars comic books, but Weisman is writing an intriguing story that demands to be read.

I can't wait for the next issue of Kanan: The Last Padawan.  Marvel Comics has delivered another winning Star Wars comic book.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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