Possible spoilers ahead for the Darth Vader comic book series…
“The Rule of Five, Part II” begins with a novel premise: Darth Vader, the powerful Sith Lord — who remains bent on eliminating any remaining Jedi from the galaxy (via the use of his Inquisitor corps) — is in “danger.”
A bounty has been put on Vader’s head, with multiple attempts being made on his life.
[Darth Vader learns] that the hit on the Sith came from the highest order of the Imperial Capital of Coruscant. His pursuit to eliminate all potential threats continues….
Straight up, I love this series. And this book does not disappoint. Not at all.
From the moment we re-acquaint ourselves with Vader, holed up on his starship, fine-tuning his legendary red-bladed lightsaber, through to the climax, there is no doubt that this is the Dark Lord of the Sith we’ve known throughout canon (and EU).
But here we also delve deeper into the tortured soul of the creature once known as Anakin Skywalker.
Deeper into the dark…
Yes, Anakin remains, nuanced by Vader’s skill as a pilot, and his tendency to tinker. Also evident is Skywalker’s lack of patience and his reluctant subjugation to the Emperor.
However, Sideous remains Vader’s teacher. When the younger Sith lord reports his findings, Palpatine tells his apprentice:
If you do your work properly, you will never lack for people who wish you were dead… It is the price of power, and also the joy. Your enemies will be numberless. Infinite.
However, while vestiges of the fallen Jedi continue, we also see that Skywalker readily taps into the Dark Side, a meditation process visually represented by the shadowy visage of Vader–red eyes glowing, severed limbs missing–floating (above an abstract view of Mustafar?) and flanked by Force lightning.
Tapping into the darkness, Vader senses the root of the conspiracy, and his solution–well, it has a uniquely Darth Vader resolution via an overstated gag.
The Bottom Line
Go out, buy it. Enjoy it. Get the back issues. This series is the real stuff.
- The cover, featuring art by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Elia Bonetti, is resplendent in red and black. You can almost hear the crackle of the lightsaber and the raspy breathing of Lord Vader. Frame it.
- The writing by Charles Soule continues to be spot-on. There is a subtlety to Vader’s character that Soule understands and uses as a storytelling tool. Not one of his passages caught me short.
- The art, again by Camuncoli (pencils) and adding Daniele Orlandini (inks) David Curiel (colors), keeps the eye moving, remains in canon regarding style and concept, and allows more depth on a second view.
Not much to quibble with here. It’s a thick read, above average in my estimation, and leaves me wanting more.
In that vein, it would have been nice to see more of the Ninth Sister.
The only other complaint I have is that the next book doesn’t come out until March 14.
My rating for this Darth Vader No. 12: 5/5 stars.
Previously, I reviewed Storms of Crait. JB