A Comic Panel Far Far Away: The Human Tragedy Of Order 66 In ‘Star Wars: Kanan’ Vol. 1

by Tony Thornley

Order 66 is a phrase that still sends chills down the spines of Star Wars fans. The Emperor’s chilling proclamation was one of the most terrifying moments in Star Wars history, leading to the destruction of the Jedi Order by the clone army of the Republic. Yet the true human cost of that moment wasn’t explored until 2015 in Star Wars: Kanan.

Cover by Mark Brooks

Kanan Jarrus made an instant impact when he was introduced in Star Wars: Rebels and he quickly became a fan favorite. He was a Jedi- once named Caleb Dume- that survived the Great Purge to the era immediately before A New Hope, where he helped lead one of the earliest Rebel cells. Rebels gave us bits of his backstory, but it was not fully revealed until this Marvel Comics series.

This twelve issue series was created by Greg Weisman, Pepe Larraz, David Curiel, and Joe Caramagna. The first volume, The Last Padawan, chronicled Kanan’s final mission as a Jedi Padawan, as it connected violently with a mission with the crew of The Ghost.

Caleb’s first combat mission with his new master, General Billaba, brings them to the planet Kaller. The duo lead the Clone Army across the planet to liberate the natives from the Separatists. However in the calm following the Separatist surrender, clone commanders Grey and Styles receive an order that will change Caleb’s life forever…

The problem with prequels is that we know how they’ll end up. Weisman is smart by focusing the story on exactly how Caleb survived, and the path he took to become Kanan. It’s tense because we don’t know how Caleb will make it through the obstacles placed in front of him, even if we know he will. He also creates a supporting cast that is multi-faceted and riveting, particularly the duo of Grey and Styles, who show readers the first clones who struggled with the pre-programmed actions they were forced to take with Order 66, and Billaba, who struggles with the philosophy of the Jedi Order.

It’s clear in this series that Larraz would later become a superstar. These issues are filled with the grand sense of scale that Larraz would later show in his Avengers and X-Men work. His character work has a fluidity that makes the action pop, especially with Jedi in motion. He also is able to draw great ship to ship action, something that many artists struggle with when they do space opera stories. Though it’s clearly early work by the artist, it’s so strong that it makes it worth picking up for the art alone.

The only disappointing thing about this series is that it only lasted twelve issues. I had only seen a handful of Rebels episodes before I picked it up, but it drew me into Kanan’s story, and had me ready for more.

Single issues of Star Wars: Kanan #1-6 are available at your local comic store, as well as digitally from Kindle and Comixology. The series is collected in Star Wars: Kanan Volume 1- The Last Padawan and Star Wars: Kanan Omnibus from Marvel Comics, available at bookstores, comic stores and your favorite digital retailer.

We’d like to ask, on behalf of our friends and colleagues that own and are employed by comic shops, that you first try to get these books at your local shop. This is a very uncertain time for owners, employees, and their families. Show some love for your community and friends by buying from your regular shop when possible and safe.

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