– Spoiler Review –
Inspector Thanoth gets ever closer to uncovering the truth about the missing Imperial credits, forcing Aphra, her two destructive droids, and Vader into some really tight spots. Aphra fans (like myself), things aren’t looking so good for our favorite archaeologist after Darth Vader #11.
Coming off the backstory revealing issue of #10, #11 gives us a standout issue for Doctor Aphra, who wheels and deals with the powerful information broker the Ante and learns the hard way that the price for failing Vader won’t be cheap. Since she’s been introduced and teamed with Vader, her enthusiasm for working with the Emperor’s enforcer has been both refreshingly new and intriguingly dark. She, as well as us readers, know working with Vader will come with a cost, even asking him to off her quick when the time comes. She’s never been closer to that reality than in DV #11, as her nearly being caught with the Ante (totally not her fault) forces Vader’s hand. But when she reveals she got the information he wanted, Luke Skywalker’s location, he lets her go with promises of reprisals. And to show just how spectacular of a character she is, she even has the guts to tell him, after he just stopped choking her, that he’d have to wait for the information at a later date. I don’t think we’ve ever really seen someone recently choked by Vader still defy him in some way afterwards. Behind Rae Sloane, Aphra’s one of my top new characters and here’s hoping Vader doesn’t collect on her life anytime soon.
Thanoth, who was spying in on a meeting between Vader and Aphra at the end of #10, is taking a circuitous route to getting Vader for what he has done. Thanoth is obviously smart enough to know he wouldn’t last long if he outright accused Vader, so he’s trying to capture the woman he saw Vader with and hoping she’ll spill the beans for him. At the end of #11, he’s blocked Aphra from fleeing Anthan Prime and forced her to attempt hiding from the Imperial forces, putting both her and Vader in quite the pickle. Will Vader kill this adjutant too, or will he attempt to force him out of his way in some other fashion? Because with Aphra being the only one left with the information regarding Luke’s whereabouts, you know Vader’ll do everything in his power to ensure her safety…until he can get the info himself.
What I really enjoyed about Aphra and Vader’s interaction outside her ship, with the Imperials on their way, was how it highlights Vader’s lack of attachments. Anakin Skywalker’s fall came from his attachments, specifically Padme, and forming new ones is exactly the type of thing Vader would avoid like a lava river. Sure, in a way he’s attached to his master, but only long enough for him to learn everything he can before killing him. Even with a resourceful agent like Aphra, he’s ready to cut off ties instantly when her usefulness runs out. Both of these relationships show how different Anakin is now as Vader, no longer forming attachments but definitely unable to let go of the old ones that still haunt him. But with Luke, I think we all know how avoiding attachments works out for Vader then.
Seeing as the Star Wars on-going series and Darth Vader run concurrently in the timeline, we know Luke is currently chilling in the fighting pits of Nar Shaddaa. The Ante claims Luke is on Vrogas Vas (briefly mentioned in SW #9, which is revealed to be the home of a Jedi Temple). Is that truly what he knows or misinformation he gives out on purpose? We’ll never know, as Vader gets the Ante killed to cover for Aphra. But either way, it makes me wonder if the Ante’s info is spoiling events in the upcoming issues of Star Wars (though we all know Luke is going to come out alive and leave Nar Shaddaa at some point) or if there’s a hidden agenda to his info.
Here are a few other things:
- Since Aphra’s introduction in #3, there hasn’t been as many (or at all) call-outs to her obvious inspiration of Indiana Jones, but this issue features a sequence fans of the Raiders of the Lost Ark should catch.
- Triple Zero and BT-1’s humor was priceless this issue…as is usually the case. Their love of holochess and wrecking havoc are adorably dark.
- For all of the Ante’s posturing, he certainly squeals like a rat quickly: The twins Morit and Aiolin are responsible for tracking down and destroying the Plasma Devils, who’s home base is revealed by the Ante moments before his death. Will Vader hold onto the details and get them himself or use it as a trap to take out his competitors?
Aphra gets to shine in an issue where she also learns her time in the galaxy could be shorter than she expected. With Thanoth so close to capturing them red-handed, what will Vader do to save his already tarnished reputation while still trying to find his son?
+ Thanoth putting his suspects in a pickle
+ Vader and Aphra’s “understanding”
STAR WARS CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets: #7 | #8 | #9 | #10 | #12 | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25)
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25) | Annual: #1
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Poe Dameron (on-going)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)