– Spoiler Review –
Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith #2 can barely contain the Sith Lord’s rage as he barrels towards a Jedi enemy to defeat, who is introduced alongside an intriguing new revelation about the Jedi…with potential to tie into not only Luke’s story for The Last Jedi, but other Jedi.
I mean, it’s clear there’s fury under the unrelenting gaze of Vader’s mask, but both the end of last issue and Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith #2, he truly unleashes it (imagine what video game I’m referencing…) and it’s a pretty awesome sight to behold and read thanks to Charles Soule and the art team of Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith, and David Curiel. Seeing Vader go to town against Empire-friendly clones is both surreal, not often have we seen him around clones, and frighteningly impressive. I wonder if part of the reason he goes to town on them, other than just using them as a scapegoat for his uncontrollable rage over Padme’s death, his current situation, and test of his new dark side abilities, is that they are too potent of a reminder of his old life at this point. We know he eventually won’t be pissed seeing reminders of his days as Anakin, including any anger towards clones since by the time of Lords of the Sith Vader purposefully keeps the last remaining and viable clones around him because he knows they’re good, loyal fighters. My favorite part of his attack is stopping the grenade from exploding, still choking some clone troopers, getting the info he wants, and letting the grenade slowly blow up behind him as he walks away. In the end, the promise of more Vader badassery, like that what we saw in Rogue One, from #1’s tease is fulfilled here and it’s glorious to see Vader in this heavily primal stage.
The reason Vader is picking on clones is due to his search for remaining Jedi taking him to the archives of a Jedi outpost in the Mid-Rim called Brighthome…which isn’t so bright anymore, now that Vader’s had a go at it. His assistant droid, which looks like the classic probe droid, is tasked by Vader to conduct a very specific search of Brighthome‘s records to help Vader yield results that include living targets: Jedi who have taken the Barash Vow. Yes, my reaction was also: The what now? It seems that Jedi who take the Barash Vow swear off the Order’s duties, like keeping peace in the galaxy, and concentrate solely on meditating on the Force. It’s so strict a Barash-taker, like the one we’ll meet next issue, would’ve felt the Jedi Purge and simply done nothing about…their devotion to the Force so complete. It’s a really compelling addition to Jedi lore, as it’s revealed over 14,000 Jedi have done it before, which makes me wonder if some will end up taking it again (more on that in a moment). The particular Barash-taker Vader is heading after is Master Kirak Infil’a (that’s going to be fun to type), who took the vow prior to Anakin joining the Order (convenient, sure, but I’ll let it slide!) though barely got twisted up in Jedi affairs before ‘leaving’ because he focused all his time solely on fighting. Considering Jedi were peace keepers primarily before the Clone Wars, someone whose only goal was to become a better fighter certainly doesn’t sound like a Jedi, but damn if that doesn’t mean Vader is going to have his work cut out for him! This is probably going to be one helluva a fight, something evidenced by the extremely impressive cover for this series’ fifth issue, and I can’t wait to see it!
What I find most intriguing about the Barash Vow is it could potentially be applied to Luke Skywalker in the sequel trilogy era. Vader describes it as a penance since one is completely disengaged from anything but the Force, which certainly seems to be what Luke’s doing out at Ach-To considering he’s not out and about dealing with events happening in the galaxy. Taking the Barash Vow certainly sounds like a pretty good explanation, instead of just simply running away, for what Luke did after Ben Solo turned and destroyed his new Jedi Order…and his sadness at seeing Rey means his time taking the vow is over and he must return to the fold, knowing people might not be happy with what he’s learned while devoting himself to the Force aka the memorable line from the first The Last Jedi trailer, “It’s time for the Jedi to end.” Heck, this is even a potential route for Kanan and Ezra from Star Wars Rebels to take and/or even Ahsoka (something she did post-Vader duel on Malachor maybe), thus explaining their absence from the original trilogy because they can’t and won’t ever get involved…though if Kanan and Ezra consider taking said vow, I could only see them doing it if their friends and loved ones died…so let’s hope not (I mean, some character’s fates from the show have already been revealed through different mediums, but still, I can be worried). I can’t wait to find out if my theory is right or not for Luke, Kanan, Ezra, and/or Ahsoka, though no matter the outcome I think it’s pretty cool if they allowed something like this to be seeded in the comics! UPDATE: I’ve been seeing a lot of side-eyes around fandom towards those theorizing the same thing regarding this Barash vow so to you, dear side-eyers, I point you at this week’s excellent Eleven-ThirtyEight article about why it’s fun to speculate. UPDATE 1/10/18: The Last Jedi has been out for awhile and while Luke doesn’t take the Barash Vow, his self-exile is sort of the same idea. Not the same thing, however!
Soule…what can he seemingly not do at this point? The clones here really feel like the ones we met and grew to love during The Clone Wars series, while this path of destruction he’s taking Vader on is both compelling and already quite memorable; Don’t ever leave Star Wars comics, thanks! As great as Soule’s words on paper might be, Giuseppe Camuncoli (pencils), Cam Smith (inks), and David Curiel (colors) are quite the dream team to back him up and bring everything to moody, fury-filled life. I’m really liking the more Samurai-like look to Vader, the design of his ship from Palpatine, and how beautifully framed and presented Vader’s wanton destruction is (my personal favorite still the grenade he slowly lets detonate with the Force); So far no team has done bad when it comes to bringing a Vader series to life.
Here are a few other things:
- Back at the beginning of the month, Soule did a little interview over at Marvel about the series, talking about Palpatine’s complexities and teasing the advent of the Inquisitorius later in the series (something we’ve heard about before).
- Bria at Tosche-Station points out something I didn’t quite pick up, but certainly see now: we’re seeing Vader’s slow murder of Anakin.
- Charles Soule and Kieron Gillen, who have both led a Darth Vader series, sat down with ABC News to do a segment called Inside Marvel regarding said Vader comics. While those who have read both likely won’t learn anything terrifically new, there’s some great discussion here from both Soule and Gillen, and even from correspondent Clayton Sandell, regarding what has come to pass in Gillen’s run and the dark implications of Soule’s current run. They mentioned seeing Soule back in a month, so it sounds like this will be a monthly appearance on the show to discuss the happenings in this latest of Vader series, which is both surprising and quite cool to be honest. It’s a fantastic way to reach more readers who might not be aware of the comics and no-brainer way to take advantage of corporate synergy because Marvel, ABC News, and Lucasfilm are owned by Walt Disney. I’m curious as to why they chose the Vader series, not that I mind, and if it has anything to do with anything other than the character being so popular…like maybe they’ll discuss the Barash vow’s implications in a little more detail or this is simply something they wanted to do going forward to bring attention to the comics. We’ll see as this Inside Marvel segment continues.
Things continue to be impressive, most impressive for the second Darth Vader series, Dark Lord of the Sith, as issue #2 sets up some potentially major story points for all of the saga as well as its own series in the arc ahead.
+ Vader Unleashed
+ Barash Vow (and its story potential)
+ From the writing to the art…stellar work, folks!
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)