We return to the Dark Lord of the Sith now shut down on the bridge of the Executor as one of the worst dressed villains in the Star Wars universe uses his ace in the hole. The off-switch.
An off switch you say?
Yes an off switch. Seems the Lt. Commander shares a unique piece of hardware with our favorite Dark Lord.
Now, I was sure the situation was only a temporary one… (reads ahead) … whew.. I was right.
So how does this all happen?
Well lets go back kids… didleeloo-didleeloo ~~~~~
So with Cylo hovering over Vader and literally polishing his helmet with his hand you just know he’s in for a good arse kicking. We spend much of the opening of the issue with Vader diving back through his mind as his respirator is shut off and his mind is loosing consciousness.
The visions fade back to his fight with Kenobi on Mustafar, when he was dismembered in the battle and left to burn…
He starts imagining what an alternate ending could have been and then the illusion takes a darker turn as Kenobi tosses Anakin into the lava… only to have Anakin return from the molten rock as Vader.
The metaphor in the imagery is very verbose so even a child could understand it. Which is good while I like complex and complicated characters the events that happen don’t always need to be as much. War is very simple most of the time, you kill your enemy and win. Or you loose and are the vanquished. Simple,… so simple even a child could understand.
As we progress through Vader’s nightmare he rises from the lava and cuts down Kenobi who wisps away into nothing when slain much as he did in ANH.
Then strangely after Vader comments on growing stronger as he is more away from Kenobi, Anakin emerges angry that he killed Kenobi. This was something I had always wondered about. If Vader reflected on his life prior to the transformation into Vader or does he consider his life starting in the Chancellor’s office knelt on the floor looking up at Palpatine. Vader’s nightmare continues as Anakin leaps from a cliff side attacking Vader and the pair duel with their lightsabers.
The art of the next page is suberbly done, to a point where I won’t put it in this review as to make it look cheesy. Just know that like GiJoe issue #21 (March ’84), there are no words just action. The red silhouettes against Vader and Anakin’s duel showing Anakin’s jedi powers leaping and moving quick until Vader reaches out with the force and freezes Anakin in mid-air.. ala Kylo Ren in Force Awakens with Poe’s blaster rifle shot.
The next panel is a little rough as they don’t show what’s happening to Anakin, just Vader cutting with his red saber and Anakin’s yet again dismembered body (just the legs this time) on the volcanic ground. Vader drags legless Anakin to the side of the lava pit and slides him down into it with Anakin yelling “I hate you!” just as he did in Ep. III to Kenobi, but this time Anakin’s truly burned and charred to the bone and nothing remains.
As Vader walks away from the scene he hears Padme’s voice. He stops and the image of pregnant Padme behind Vader begs him to stay with her.
He resists and the image of Padme behind him changes to Vader strapped to the cybernetics table Palpatine repaired his burned body with. Padme keeps pleading with him to stay telling him this can all be over. Which is the metaphor for his own demise… by staying with Padme and accepting his own death at Cylo’s hands and respiratory failure.
Her image next to Vader as he’s chained to the cybernetics table is a powerful one to me. Chained to the body he brought to himself by accepting a way of life to save her and she now asks him to stop… or at least his subconscious is.
I played Everquest for a while, then came EQoA and then EQ2, the Dark elf race (Teir’Dal) was a race based on hate. They weren’t overly stupid about their hatred either gathering great armies and overtaking great swathes of territory with said legions. They believed in Innoruuk the god of Hate as their patron creator. Deep in the bowels of their home city in EQ2 the priest guild’s leader has a little saying…
“Hate empowers us to destroy our enemies. Hate protects us from betrayal. Hate liberates us from the weaknesses of love and mercy”.
For some reason I thought of this game quote when I read this scene. Vader’s hate… controls him it empowers him it protects him… and so he uses his hate for his own will.
While the effect may not have been intended by Larroca and Gillen it it’s what landed for me anyways. So through hate and spite Vader pulls himself together in the midst of his unconscious dreamstate. He comes out of the state to Cylo’s surprise and force pulls his lightsaber to his hand and stabs Cylo through the chest thus ending this iteration of the foolhardy scientist. I’m assuming Vader forced (pun intended) himself up off the ground and similarly used the saber after turning the switch on.. or maybe he force pushed the switch on. I’m unsure.. well either way Cylo is a shish-ka-bob.
Hopefully for good, but I got a feeling the many Cylo’s in existence mean another is coming… and yep.. there the test tube baby is…
Cylo’s Whale ships are something I liked as a single thing for a novelty but they are quickly becoming more and more like a carnival ride with carnies at the controls.
No not the regular carnies with a sob story about how they lost their family or ran away from home and joined up. I mean the old angry unshaven clown make-up carnies that smoke a cigar and hack all over the kids as he ushers them onto an unsafe tilt-a-whirl without giving a dam to even see if they are securely strapped in because his life is shit and all he has to look forward to is banging a bearded lady who’s way taller then him tonight… ahem.. but I digress…
With Cylo slain and the Executor secured by Vader he reports in to Palpatine to let his master know the situation. Palpatine almost teasingly asks if their are any further issues and Vader replies that there’s only one and he’s dealing with it… not sure which “one” he’s talking about but I hope it’s not Aphra.
Speaking of my future wife Dr. Aphra shows up a page later in the Executor’s royal chambers and when approached by the crimson robed Royal Guards she tells Palpatine she needs to have a chat with him… hmmm.. Aphra it’s a dangerous game you’re playing with Vader..and doubly so with Palps… I hope you survive the next.. and FINAL ISSUE of Darth Vader… #25! It’s been a great run guys lets wrap it up with a bang! (But not Aphra’s bang.. she needs to liiiiive i say!)
8 of 10 blastec E-11’s