– Spoiler Review –
Darth Vader‘s second arc picks up steam in issue #8, where Aprha’s plan to steal a large Imperial-held sum of credits with the help of bounty hunters takes some fun turns and Grand General Tagge makes a much appreciated, and very problematic (for Vader), return to the fold.
Much like the heist in Lando #1, we get to see Aphra’s plan unfold as it happens instead of getting panels of build-up or explanation, and it’s a pretty inventive and entertaining strategy: blow up chunk of asteroid to create asteroid field, zap out the shield with an ion blast, direct a chunk of rock directly at the ship’s vault, and scoop up the rewards as they drift into space. It’s clean, effective, and makes for great cover up for when one doesn’t want any evidence left they were ever aboard the spaceship. I like how the bounty hunters—Bossk, IG-90, and Beebox—being naturally suspicious of Aphra, having a superiority complex, and aggravated by the team’s less than spectacular haul of the credits floating in space plays right into Aphra’s hands. She’s a pretty crafty genius and gutsy to boot, continuing her already growing legacy as an exciting new character as she and Krrsantan double-cross the others.
As I said in my review of #7, it was pretty obvious she was working for Vader to steal the credits so he could use them for his own purposes, but I didn’t see the Krrsantan twist. It’s hard not to be eagerly excited by the idea of an Aphra and Krrsantan team-up issue while learning about his past and who’s responsible “…for cutting him up,” the scars of which aren’t physically evident, but are certainly evident in his behavior thus far. Speaking of behavior, how can you not love Triple-Zero at this point? His exchange with Aphra, regarding disappointment in not receiving a cut, ends hilariously when he corrects her on what exactly gives him joy in life. As for the device Vader hands to Aphra, I don’t know if we’ve seen that until now or not, as I didn’t notice anything similar to it in #7 (or earlier) besides maybe the tracker, but I’m sure we’ll get more info next issue.
After Vader approves of Aphra’s work, he heads back to Grand General Tagge, someone we haven’t seen since issue #2, to receive new orders. What I liked most about Tagge’s appearance here is his confidant, assured direction of his new team of enforcers, divvying up assignments based strategic reasons and whether a person is emotionally involved or not. He’s one of two competent Imperials in this issue (more on the second one in a bit) however, I believe Tagge has let being one of the only two confirmed survivors of the Death Star fiasco go to his head a bit, and his over-confidence in his vision and plans might just be his undoing.
As for the assignments, the Astarte twins are given the luxurious task of hunting down the Plasma Devils, a group of insurgents in the local sector giving the Imperials hell. It’ll be interesting to see who or what the Plasma Devils are, but I have a funny feeling we’ll find out soon enough in the upcoming Vader Down crossover event. Karbin, the updated-Grievous-looking ex-General Mon Cal, had a good point on why he should be the one leading a military campaign like the one needed to capture the Plasma Devils, but Tagge figures him a better man for tracking down the Rebel pilot who blew up the Death Star. This displeases both Vader and Tulon, the cybernetically enhanced genius who had friends aboard the Death Star, and they both put in arguments why they should have the job. Vader obviously won’t let Karbin succeed and I’m guessing we’ll finally see him destroying his competitors, starting with Karbin since he’s going after Vader’s son (unknowingly and unwillingly, of course). I’m surprised Vader reveals the matter is personal to Tagge, who won’t have anything of it and instead tasks Vader with hunting down those responsible for hijacking the credits leaving Son-Tuul; That should be an easy job for Vader! Part of me believes Tagge knows it’s Vader who was behind it/orchestrated it and Tagge’s knowledge is all thanks to Inspector
Gadget Holmes Thanoth.
Thanoth is the real deal folks and he’s no fool like Oon-ai, the previous adjutant assigned to Vader. He’s an older, colored gentleman with a monocle, cane, and muttonchops that would’ve made people born in 1800’s jealous, and it’s that age and experience which have allowed him to already discern Vader visited Anthan 13 (the place where Aphra and Krrsantan dropped off the credits). The Marvel comics have done an amazing job adding new characters to the canon that not only feel like they belong, but also are ones you immediately want to know more about and Thanoth definitely is one of them. Judging from Thanoth’s apparent age, I’d say he’s been around for a good chunk of time before even the Clone Wars and if he weathered the Republic and is now serving the Empire, he must’ve been really cunning…or ruthless. This is a good lesson on not letting age fool you, by the way. And I’ve got to wonder, was I the only one who read Thanoth’s lines with Morgan Freeman’s voice hiding a hint of menace bubbling somewhere under the surface?
Here are a few other things:
- Aphra letting out a sigh of relief when Bossk stops staring her down was a pretty funny moment. Though I wonder what she has in mind for Beebox…
- There’s no doubt in my mind Aphra is the only one who can call Krrsantan “Santy” and not have her limbs torn off.
- I originally read Plasma Devils as Phasma Devils and couldn’t believe no one was talking about The Force Awaken‘s Captain Phasma getting named dropped.
- Despite Vader’s mask, I could tell he rolls his eyes once Tagge mentions there’s, “…one more thing…”
- The physical issue comes with a poster for the recently released Star Wars app, which unlocks the Augmented Reality portion of said app. Currently you can check out a First Order stormtrooper and BB-8!
New threats emerge to personally harass Vader, while others threaten his son, neither of which he’ll take laying down, and Aphra continues to shine as one of the best new characters from the Marvel comics. Darth Vader #8 keeps the series as strong as it ever was and I’m continuously excited for the next issue.
+ Heist’s twists and turns
+ Tagge in charge/Thanoth’s skills
+ Aphra, as usual
STAR WARS CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets: #7 | #9 | #10 | #11 | #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)