– Spoiler Review –
Vader and Tagge begin their cold war with one another while trying to work together to track down the source of an automated pirate attack on Imperial supplies. Vader won’t take his demotion from Palpatine lightly…
Like the panels and sequences in #1 where Vader mirrored Luke being an important way to get a sense of the character, the one’s focusing on Vader’s hands here are #2’s equivalent. Since we aren’t able to actually hear James Earl Jones’ booming voice–though the way some of the dialogue is written makes it possible–or get a lot of gestures from Vader, the two shots of him eventually forming a fist serves to highlight the anger simmering underneath his blank visage. But Vader’s more subversive tactics in #2 show he can hold the anger back and get even without overusing his choking privileges, proving while the Emperor may have put him in the dog house, he’s not going down without a fight.
After the revelation Tagge didn’t die on the Death Star as was originally assumed in Legends, we got to learn a little more about the new Grand General. Given his intuitive foresight about the Rebellion, it’s no surprise he’s already trash-talking Tarkin and the Death Star project since it went down in smoke. But then why would he be okay with overseeing the construction of the second Death Star, as Palpatine mentioned in issue #1? Because with the remaining Starfleet being his baby, he’s wondering how many more Super Star Destroyers they could’ve commissioned originally instead of making Tarkin’s terror, so building a second Death Star means he’ll never know. Or is that what the supplies Vader negotiated with Jabba are for, the Death Star II?
Tagge and Vader’s cold war starts when Tagge assigns an adjutant to Vader, something which obviously doesn’t please the Dark Lord. The adjutant, Oon-ai, begins poking around in Vader’s business, uncovering a communique to Boba Fett and we all know Vader won’t stand idly by as this happens. As for why Tagge would assign Oon-ai to Vader, I can only assume it’s a combination of orders from the Emperor and Tagge’s uneasy memories of Vader choking Motti. Their relationship is nothing like Vader and Tarkin’s was, and if they could ever learn to work with each other, they could probably be a more deadly duo. But someone has to lose their little war and it’s certainly not going to be Vader, though Tagge seems like one to put up a good fight.
The Imperial attack on the pirate’s base was short but entertaining, especially as it was mixed with the curious mission Vader’s R4 was on. In fact, the attack on the pirates probably would’ve gone much shorter had Vader not been buying time for the R4 to fulfill its secret mission. We didn’t learn a whole lot about the pirates during the attack, but we got a name drop of Aphra (who is pictured on the cover for #3 seen inside this issue), the Crymorah syndicate is their boss, and they are using some interesting technology, like old, but modified Droidekas. Watching Vader and stormtroopers go against Droidekas, much like Anakin used to do alongside clones, was a nifty mash-up of two different eras.
Vader touting Oon-ai as a traitor at the end, who he set up with the help of the R4 unit, was a fitting way for him to defiantly undermine Tagge’s adjutant spying program. The joy Vader seems to find in in jettisoning the R4 unit and blowing it up to erase any evidence of his sabotage is both disturbing, due to the relationship he used to have with Artoo, and kind of exciting, as it shows he has a number of tricks up his robotic sleeves.
Here are a few other things:
- If they’re running robotic ships around for pirating, shouldn’t they have had a lifeform scanner to always double-check returning ships? Looks like these pirates just weren’t cautious/smart enough.
- While slightly disappointing there weren’t any panels of Vader mirroring Luke (like in #1), there really isn’t too many scenarios where that can happen anyways.
- Kind of surprising, but welcomed that Droideka’s are still floating around post-A New Hope.
- Vader is still a great pilot, especially when he isn’t getting punk’d by the Millennium Falcon, and it’s nice to see him get some cockpit time. His disregard for his fellow pilots goes against the image of Anakin scraping buzz droids off Obi-Wan’s fighter in the opening moments of Revenge of the Sith.
A cold war between Tagge and Vader provides some entertaining moments in a great follow up entry to issue #1. Now it’ll be interesting to see if Vader’s search for the pilot who blew up the Death Star comes at odds with his current mission following Tagge’s commands to rout out the pirates.
+ Vader’s tactics
+ Their cold war
– Was slightly confusing upon first read
STAR WARS CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
Vader: #1 | #3 | #4 | #5 | #6 | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | 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)