THE RULE OF FIVE: Darth Vader is on the hunt for beings who are Force Sensitive. His search takes him and one of his Inquisitors to a bar on a distant planet where they are investigating the sighting of a Jedi. But things are not what they seem and Vader may be in over his head.
STAR WARS DARTH VADER #11
Authors: Charles Soule
Artists: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inkers: Daniele Orlandini
Colors: David Curiel
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics
What You Need to Know:
Darth Vader, new to his post as the Emperor’s right-hand man, has been busy training the Inquisitors for the Emperor. However, the Emperor is not satisfied and is on the search for more force sensitive individuals throughout the galaxy. The search seemed to arrive at a dead end when the Jedi Archivist Jocasta Nu sacrificed her own life so that the data chip containing the locations of several known force sensitives would never fall into the Emperor’s hand. Unfortunately, it fell into Darth Vader’s.
What You’ll Find Out:
Vader and one of the Inquisitors are investigating the supposed use of the Force at a bar on Cabarria. The Inquisitor has some sharp words for Vader and remains outside with the speeder bike while Vader heads inside to see what he can find. Inside, Vader makes himself known, asking openly about the Jedi. But Vader isn’t the hunter. He’s the hunted.
A girl (a teen approximately) aims a weapon, but instead of firing a blast, it fires a tractor beam, pulling Vader’s lightsaber away. Vader reaches out to grab his saber with the force and a woman tosses a single grenade that completely obliterates the lightsaber in a flash of blue light. The ion grenade has disabled all weapons and Vader, whose suit requires circuitry, is damaged but Vader is only stunned.
He starts tossing everything and everybody in the bar around, smashing some into the force fields that protect the three assailants. Vader calls for help from the Inquisitor but the Ninth Sister smiles, mumbling to himself how the ion grenade must have shorted out communications. Realizing Vader is too difficult to take, the three bounty hunters flee from the bar. Vader grabs the Khyber crystals from his saber and sets off in pursuit.
Outside, Vader finds his Inquisitor and initially accuses Ninth Sister of betraying him. He realizes that the Inquisitor wouldn’t dare, but he may have more enemies than he realized. So Vader chases after the Bounty Hunters. It’s not difficult to catch up to the hunters, a family including two parents and their daughter. He threatens to kill their daughter if they do not divulge who hired them.
The hunters don’t know, but they agree to slice into computers to find out who did. Vader allows the daughter to go free and the parents look into the one behind the trap. They can’t find out who exactly ordered the hit, but it definitely comes from the top of the government.
What Just Happened?
Anybody ever play a Star Wars RPG? I have. It’s certainly fun. As anybody will tell you, bounty hunters are prevalent in the game, just as they were prevalent in Empire Strikes Back. It’s one of the more fun character types to play.
It’s especially fun when you go up against a major force user. I did that once too. Caused him to explode in a burst of dark energy which I survived only by using a “force point”. What is a force point? Don’t worry, it’s not important.
What is important is that, unlike the hunters in this issue, I didn’t go after Darth Vader.
It wasn’t all bad. Camuncoli’s art seemed to be a little weaker than usual, especially with the distant shot of the Emperor (as you can see above, he looks like some deformed muppet). And Soule teases at the running theme as Vader finds that he’s not as revered as he maybe thought. He has enemies everywhere…maybe even at the top. And it’s great where Soule is going with this. We’ve always seen Darth Vader as wanting the best for the universe (granted, he has a twisted vision of how to get there) but not everybody wants what he wants. And let’s face it…the Emperor expected a powerful Jedi…possibly the most powerful in existence…and he got an asthmatic cyborg.
Still, the story just didn’t really gel for me. The ion grenade was a nice touch, but maybe it should have given Vader more problems than it did considering he relies on electronics to breathe. I did enjoy the trio of bounty hunters, especially when they accepted their fate. Sacrificing their lives so that their daughter lives and making her promise to not seek revenge was some good characterization (even though we KNOW she won’t listen…what teenager does).
And yet, despite everything, I just wasn’t excited by this book. I want to be, but it just left me bored.
Still, I am hoping that as a whole, the arc will be enjoyable, that this is just a single chapter in a larger story that will work really well once it’s all told.
Final Thoughts: In a clear example of mediocrity, Soule gives us the Vader story we really couldn’t care less about. Some enjoyable parts, some nice dialogue, but nothing that made my jaw drop, that made me excited for the next issue. Still, it’s only the first issue in a new arc. I’m willing to see where this will take me.
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