Dark Lords speak of old times and I mean old. No mention of being the Sithari anywhere… ahem. So friends we begin the final arc of the Vader comic End-Games. To anyone with an understanding of the comic industry we (I include myself in that) kind of saw this coming.
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Mark Brooks
The post ANH 3+ years is where this and the main line Star Wars comic Takes place. But with now over a year of it used (about 6 months in-universe time) it’s understandable they want to end it sooner rather then let it get too obese to a point where there’s no room for future storytelling involving these beloved characters. Also it’s a rare thing to have a single artist go longer then 30 issues in ANY title let alone a stand out piece like the Vader issue, hats off to Larroca for sticking with it and keeping the art so consistent for so long. The hatching and line work I loved, as well as the panel design. Bravo sir.
So while I never expected the run to get past issue 24 it was a nice surprise today to hear a 25th and massive issue would help wrap up the series. I hope some of the loose ends are taken care of while others are dealt with… harshly.
We open this issue with TripleZero and Beetee along with Vader on the bridge of the Devastator going to the Kuat Drive Yards (yay! I love Kuat! ahem..) They are going to meet with the Emperor on Grand General Tagge’s new flagship the Executor still in spacedock being constructed. Tagge’s you ask? But Rez wasn’t that Vader’s ship from ESB? Puny mortal… do you not see what this is? A dark foreshadowing of Tagge’s eventual fall and or slice and dice … preferably a fall and he goes into obscurity much like General Veers, I really liked Tagge’s sister in the old EU and hope he lives on to help bring her back into the new canon.
Arriving at the Superstar Destroyer Vader meets with his master, Palpatine. They give each other the normal platitudes while exchanging glances and Palps is unusually chatty. Some of it was meh-worthy while some of it really sings to the lore of the galaxy far far away.
During the conversation Palpatine and Vader discuss the situation with Cylo, the would-be creator of Vader’s successor and fake friend of Palpatine. Vader and Palpatine discuss it quickly and Palps explains why he needed to use Vader in a round-about way to expose Cylo for what he really was… a poser.
Eventually Palpatine talks grander stakes about the galaxy and about the Sith even the old, old Sith the race maybe? Maybe he means the original way the Sith formed grand armies as many before the rule of two was taken as the preferred way to practice the religion of the Sith.
I was really interested in reading further into that dialogue hoping that Palps would call himself the Sithari, (old EU term). He implies it greatly but never actualyl says it, I wish we’d get way more stories/comics about the old Star Wars Lore now but alas Marvel doesn’t want to bore readers to death on old tales of Jedi and Sith from thousands of years ago with battles and grand wars… that may – be awesomesauce… coughs.
Eventually Palpatine and Vader come to the gentlemen’s agreement about why Palpatine had to use Vader and Vader even though he’s no longer idolizing the Emperor as he used to still understands that as his Master he will obey (for now).
Vader walks off down a very familiar hallway from Exectuor. I assume the interior is similar to many places of the SSD but dam it’s nice to see the inside of Star Destoryers… as an imp-fan myself I love seeing the things we rarely got to see even though ESB gives it lots of love.
Vader now has another pressing matter to attend to. As foreshadowed in the previous issue Inspector Thanoth made contact with him that he had found a Dr. Aphra. Someone who’s name shouldn’t be coming up tied to Vader but it seems the diligent detective he was Thanoth has uncovered the truth behind Aphra’s actions.
Vader meets with Thanoth on Anthon 13 where earlier in the series Vader dispatched a small cell of Rebels who foolishly (and very last minute timed) attempted to take on the Dark Lord in a cave that ended poorly for them.
During the meeting Thanoth explains all he has regarding this “Dr. Aphra.” Letting it be known he has found out that she was in league with the Dark Lord himself. That he knows he now knows too much as well and even though he could have sent an anonymous holo message about discovering her where abouts he knew Vader would be relentless in hunting him down as he would have to tie up the inspector as another loose end.
Thanoth knows the death knell is coming he tells Vader the actions he took to reveal this information to Vader was more then just his to use as leverage. He believes Palpatine is a weak old man and will not survive the wars he has started. He believes in the Empire eternally, (not sure if thats an old EU infinite empire callback but whatev’s).
He also says after tracking Aphra’s actions he knows of what she had been up to and who the pilot was that they were after Skywalker. Thanoth then tells Vader he realized then who Vader was under the mask. That it made sense to him why he was so relentless after the boy. In his final words Thanoth tells Vader it was a pleasure working with him… Anakin.
Thanoth the old bird was a Clone Wars veteran so I assume he like many knew of Anakin Skywalkers fame from the grand battles of those days.
Thanoth finally tells Vader it would be better to save everyone a lot of time and get it over with. To which Vader finally obliges killing the old man with his lightsaber. While Larroca doesn’t portray it in a panel we see the can Thanoth was using sliced in two representing a body crossing blow… rough.
The story ends there after Vader tells the pair of droids to go hunt down where Thanoth said Aphra was Cosmatanic Steppes some world we’re new to as readers I assume.
Thanoth I wasn’t a fan of at first but he grew on me. He also was a stalwart imperial who believed in the Empire hmmm a man after my own tastes. So I eventually came to like the inspector. I had wished he would have lived a slight bit longer to make his death the final one of the series but I think that’s going to be Tagge’s last hurah.
The issue ends with a mini comic/issue of the pair of droids on their own Bee-tee and TripleZero that shows again that droids just want to “Kill All Humans”… lol. Can’t help but love the murderous pair hehe.
So now we know the end is nigh …
What I’m more dreading is how Gillen will handle my new favorite character of the entire new canon, Dr. Aphra. She was introduced way back in issue #3 and has been in the employ of the Dark Lord ever since. I was hoping when it was all said and done Vader would release her from his service (on an on-call basis) and let her roam around so we could have Indiana Aphra roaming the tombs of ancient jedi finding the mythos and legend of the Sith and Old republic… dam that’d be awesome.
The fact she’s a blend of Harley Quin and Indiana Jones doesn’t hurt her character wise nor is the fact she’s easy on the eyes. Gillen … lets hope she makes it through all this.
A pair I am unsure of is the two droids. Will they make it out or will they perish… but all in all this entire series has been awesome and I hope the crew can make it end just as good as it has been since issue #1.
9 of 10 blaster rifles from me.