Readers need to know exactly nothing about the current “Star Wars” publishing line from Marvel Comics prior to picking up “Kanan – The Last Padawan” #1. Writer Greg Weisman and artist Pepe Larraz lay out a nice welcome mat for new readers and introduce them to a whole new galaxy far, far away.
The issue opens with a familiar text crawl on the credits page, but the visual narrative starts with the crew of the Ghost receiving their next assignment from the mysterious Fulcrum. Readers who are marginally familiar with “Star Wars: Rebels” will undoubtedly find themselves comfortably inserted into the world of the animated series while the show is on a between-seasons hiatus. Newer readers might question the presence of that crew, as they’re only shown for exactly one panel, but Weisman turns back the clock for this adventure and introduces readers to Kanan before he was Kanan.
The aforementioned opening scene in the issue takes place fifteen years after the bulk of the story in this comic. Weisman sends readers back as a name triggers a memory for Kanan, who reflects on one of the worst days of his life. The story follows an inquisitive and energetic Padawan who joins his Jedi master in action. The young Jedi’s appreciation of life sets up for a shattering fall. Weisman backs off the captioning once the story shifts time, preferring to let readers absorb the action and adventure of the day and become embedded alongside Caleb Dume and Depa Billaba in the waning days of the Clone Wars.
Pepe Larraz’s loose, animated figures with sharp, refined detail flow gracefully throughout “Kanan – The Last Padawan” #1. The cast is small and diverse as Dume and Billaba fight against droids. The Jedis’ allies include the standard issue Clone Troopers, who Larraz imprints with visages similar to Temuera Morrison. Larraz also introduces readers to Kallerans, giving the new alien race an appearance unlike anything in the Star Wars mythos. The artist also draws magnificent architecture and technology throughout this comic, while colorist Dave Curiel illuminates every single thing Larraz draws and even finds places to use snazzy effects and slick pattern work. Joe Caramagna polishes the story off nicely with sharp lettering that wonderfully punctuates the work of his collaborators.
“Kanan – The Last Padawan” #1 is the first Marvel “Star Wars” comic to dive into the breach between “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” and “Star Wars: A New Hope” (or, as most of us call it, just “Star Wars”). Weisman and Larraz are masterfully appointed to this tale, making this a must-read destination for readers who are fans of the “Star Wars” universe.