– Spoiler Review –
Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith issue #8 continues the series’ hot streak, giving us an intriguing look inside Vader’s mind while showing why you don’t disrespect the (Jedi) library in front of the head (Jedi) librarian!
It’s not often you’d imagine a Sith Master scolding his apprentice for killing people, but that Palpatine has to do it here for Vader shows how far Anakin fell into the new persona after bleeding the kyber crystal. The issue begins with him doing something we’re all familiar with, strangling an Imperial officer with the Force, but Palpatine’s response was both surprising and wise: if you give into the feelings which power the Sith too much, they may make you the tool. While killing incompetents and enemies isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if Vader goes around killing everyone, Palpatine ponders what’s the point of ruling when there’s no one left to rule. It’s also a good way to prevent the rest of the Empire from seeing the true nature of its rulers, as well as prevents any insurgents with hard evidence of the Empire’s injustices in the early years. Vader learning to control how deep he dives into anger, hatred, and fear is the logical and also intriguing next step for his Sith training and already it has produced quite an interesting moment: Vader’s inner mediation. The landscape of Vader’s mind is a roiling storm over the sea, and he sees himself as a twisted monster, with the robotic parts of him as blank spaces. It’s a haunting, gorgeous visage, and it manages to become poetic thanks to the bright butterfly like creatures, which represent the little, fractured good still in him. I absolutely love the idea that when Luke peers inside his father with the Force, this is the exact thing he sees, or at least that’ll be my head-canon going forward because it’s an amazing way to bring the turmoil inside Vader to life.
As I predicted in the last issue, what Palpatine wants from Jocasta Nu and what she’s come to Coruscant and the Jedi Temple for are one in the same: the holocron with all the Force-sensitive children known to the Jedi prior to the Purge. He’s gone after it before in The Clone Wars (with the help of Cad Bane) and nearly got it, but we also already know about this (thanks to Star Wars Rebels) because it becomes the mission of the Inquisitors: hunt down Force-sensitive children. While we were curious what they did with them, the prevalent theory being they’d be forced to become Inquisitors, after the Emperor’s line about what he wants from Jocasta is the future of the Empire, that theory becomes more and more likely. But whether they hunt down the Force-sensitive children with the help of a list or go about locating them different ways (like plucking Academy students who exhibit the abilities) remains to be seen, as Jocasta has recovered the priceless artifact to help her get students for her Nu-School for Jedi.
Jocasta’s love for the archives is pretty legendary, gleaned from her brief appearance in one film and an episode of TCW, and I enjoyed her battle with herself as she sees the Grand Inquisitor pillaging the archives for secrets and knowledge (something he told Vader he wouldn’t do). She is forever a librarian and Master Archivist (part of me believes she programmed her hidden droid to call her that), but knows her mission is too important to protect lesser, but still important sources of information. Well, at least that’s what she told herself until she saw Ol’ Grandy call something from her archives drivel, and the infamous indignation we saw in Attack of the Clones comes howling out, as she pounces on the unsuspecting Inquisitor, scolding him off her books. I laughed with glee and excitement at this development, as I felt like Jocasta was going to be the better person here and attempt to escape and then be found by Vader or the Grand Inquisitor, but nope, she will simply not stand for people disrespecting her archives.
The stage is set for a confrontation with quite the stakes on the line: the identities of all the Force-sensitive children known to the Jedi. I don’t believe Jocasta will get to take advantage of the list for her Nu-School, but taking her droid’s suicide as foreshadowing for her willingness to protect the list from the Sith, I don’t expect she’ll allow anyone to use it, even if it means her life. And considering everyone underestimates her, shown wonderfully last issue as she slips in under everyone’s nose to the Jedi Temple, it could be quite the showdown.
If you can’t tell by everything I’ve said before, Charles Soule has been knocking it out of the park with his narrative choices so far, providing exciting events issue after issue. Likewise, the art team of Giuseppe Camuncoli (pencils), Daniele Orlandini (inks), and David Curiels (colors) continues to excel every issue, but blew me away with the landscape of Vader’s inner mind. It’s a gorgeous visual which says so much without a single line of dialogue that I now want it associated with every time Luke tell’s someone there’s good in Vader still. The rest of the art is just as great, from Jocasta’s hidden room, her sneaking around, Vader’s recreation of her ship’s exploded debris (handy for investigations, no?), and Jocasta pouncing down to wipe the floor clean with some fools, they’ve given wonderful life to Soule’s wonderful script.
Here are a few other things:
- I’d love to spend a lot more time in Jocasta’s hidden archive room, as well as get the story behind the stuff she has on display, from dark and light side holocrons, a gleaming black Delta-7 Jedi starfighter, and what curiously looks like the helmet the leader of the Mandalorians wore in the ancient past (like Canderous Ordo in Knights of the Old Republic). Also, I wonder if she told any other Jedi about her hidden room in the Archives or if it was a secret she kept solely for herself.
Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith #8 presents readers with an exciting set up for things ahead, as Jocasta Nu’s plans come to a screeching halt and the stakes are high if she fails.
+ Vader’s inner mind
+ Jocasta’s confidence in her mission…
+ …which all falls apart when her archives are disrespected!
Darth Vader (Series 1)
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25) | Annual: #1
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
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader Series 1 on-goings)
Captain Phasma (miniseries)
The Screaming Citadel (crossover of Doctor Aphra and Star Wars 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) | Yoda’s Secret War (#26-30) | Out Among the Stars (#33-37) | Ashes of Jedha (#38-43) | Annual: #1 | #2 | #3
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu (miniseries)
Darth Maul (miniseries)
Han Solo (miniseries)
Rogue One (adaptation)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (miniseries)
Shattered Empire (miniseries)
Princess Leia (miniseries)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (miniseries)