– Spoiler Review –
In the thrilling Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith #10, Jocasta Nu’s final actions have far-reaching consequences, including affecting Vader’s new found place in the Empire, which wraps up this part of “The Dying Light” arc in grand fashion.
“The Dying Light” arc has remade Jocasta Nu from a snooty librarian into one of the more impactful, important Jedi of the prequel era and I’ll never be able to think of her as anything less. Her actions throughout this arc, and especially in this issue, give her a legacy I did not see coming, as it directly affects the Skywalker line in surprising ways. In regards to Vader aka Anakin Skywalker, whose identity was revealed to her thanks to the Vault Guardian droid last issue, her aged wisdom brings her to tell him what he’s needed to hear: that Palpatine is simply using Vader as a tool for his own ends, which includes replacing/replicating Vader with new recruits to the dark side, found on the drive Jocasta reclaims from the archives. If any other Jedi had spoken such truth, which is a smackdown on Vader’s newfound ego as a Sith Lord, I doubt he would’ve believed them. But because not only did Palpatine want her alive, she was probably a member of the Order who Anakin respected to some extent and she wasn’t directly involved with his downfall, he listens to her words and understands the wisdom in them. It doesn’t save her life, but it saves a whole helluva lot more (more on that in a moment). While it was clear Jocasta would never make it out of this series alive, her words to Vader and her actions in creating the school are a lasting legacy that cannot be ignored. Let’s look at those a little deeper…
For starters, by showing Vader his place in Palpatine’s new order, as someone he’ll eventually want to replace with the list of Force-sensitive children he knew Jocasta would hunt down, it places one of the first big rifts in their Master/Apprentice relationship. Vader tells Palpatine that Jocasta had nothing of importance to give them, which is a big, giant lie as he had the list of children and destroys it anyways. In a way, despite it being due to Vader’s selfish desire to overthrow his Master, who he now knows had the same plan in mind for him, Vader actually does something good: he spares Force-sensitive children around the galaxy from being hunted down and forced to become part of the Sith/Inquisitors. If Jocasta hadn’t broken through to Vader, he might not have realized the repercussions of the list until far too late, and found himself in a power struggle for Palpatine’s affections due to his own actions. This decision, beyond sparing tons of children across the galaxy, still ends up making enemies for Vader that results in a power struggle, but it takes another 20 years or so to come to fruition: Dr. Cylo’s creations, as seen in the first Darth Vader series! It’s a pretty cool connection to make between these two series and continues to heighten the repercussions of this arc into something truly special.
I joked a bit about Jocasta’s school by calling it the Nu-School for Jedi, but by issue’s end it earns the title with the biggest, neatest surprise of the issue. The final panels find us at the Nu-School for Jedi, where Jocasta’s friend Gar is watching over the place, but has aged quite a bit since we last saw him. He’s been holding out hope for Jocasta to return, watching the twin moons of the planet with sorrow, likely knowing she’s never coming back. He finally ends his watch, caving in the entrance to the school, leaving it hidden for good. The whole time, Jocasta’s fighting words to Vader, about the Force always finding a way to bring the Jedi back, pass over this mournful montage of Gar’s watch, but the final lines appear once a familiar face graces the final panel: LUKE SKYWALKER! Not only does Jocasta get Vader to save a bunch of children, but her school finds its way into Luke’s hands! How did he find the school? Does he use these at his temple, where Ben Solo will eventually train? Are they destroyed in the temple, making those sacred texts which Rey claims for her own the last of the Jedi Order’s knowledge? The answers don’t really matter at this point (though are great nuggets to explore one day) because for now, this was a simple, elegant, and excellent final moment for the arc and, once you combine it with her breaking through to Vader a bit, cements Jocasta’s legacy as an important, indispensable Jedi. Bravo, Charles Soule, for surprising readers throughout the past several issues and giving Jocasta a much better rep than her movie appearance, and minor The Clone Wars appearance, ever gave her.
The art team deserves nothing but praise, as Giuseppe Camuncoli (pencils), Daniele Orlandini (inks), and David Curiel (colors) have brought these moments to epic life, giving the series a cinematic appeal and retaining a Star Wars feel to it, despite its stylized take on the GFFA. From effects of the ancient blaster Jocasta uses against Vader, explosions, and even smaller character moments, each panel is a delight, while fitting into the tone of the series and it’s darker colors match the series’ lead. Joe Caramagna adds real heft to the big action moments, especially the numerous explosions this issue, providing solid work as you’d expect!
Here are a few other things:
- Despite Vader destroying the list, the Inquisitors are seen hunting down Force-sensitive children in Star Wars Rebels, so did he download it to his suit and eventually hunts them down, reversing my point that he spares all these children in the first place? Or do they acquire a new list from different means? And we’ve yet to learn what exactly happens to those children, if they become Inquisitors, sleeper agents to send against any burgeoning Jedi presence, potential replacements for Vader, etc. An even bigger question, one I don’t think we’ll ever get an answer to, is how exactly do the Jedi go about making the list in the first place?
- Curious who was on the list Vader saw? The Aurebesh has been translated but it’s more Easter Egg references to creators and whatnot than anything else, much like the list of surviving Jedi a few issues earlier. However, once nice surprise was bringing Cathar, the planet with the cat-like people, back into canon, though if it’s still full of cat-people is still up in the air.
- I want the full backstory for the ancient weapon Jocasta attempts to kill Vader with, and pronto!
- Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith took second place in my 2017’s comics year-in-review and it really hammers that choice home with this issue. And, as I mentioned at the end of the article, there will be a recap of the entire “The Dying Light” arc, issues 7-13, once it wraps up later this year.
Just when I didn’t think Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith couldn’t top its first arc, “The Dying Light” has already proven to be even better than its predecessor thanks to the excellent ending of issue #10. What wonders can this series bring us next? It’s time to hop on this series, now!
+ Jocasta’s actions have major repercussions
+ Vader understands his importance to Palpatine and decides how he wants to deal with it
+ Luke cameo!
CURRENT COMIC SERIES REVIEWS:
Aphra (#1-6) | And the Enormous Profit (#9-13) | Remastered (#14-19) | Annual: #1
Black Squadron (#1-3) | Lockdown (#4-6) | The Gathering Storm (#7-13) | Legend Lost (#14 – 16) | War Stories (#17-19) | Legend Found (#20-25) | Annual: #1
Ashes of Jedha (#38-43) | Annual: #3
One-Shots: The Last Jedi – Storms of Crait