This issue kicks off exactly where we last left our hero, Tohm, as he had found himself in the middle of a battle between his fellow cadets and Lord Vader himself. As this is a very dialogue-heavy issue, spoilers are unavoidable, so with that I say . . .
Still with me? Alright, onward and upward. In classic bad-guy fashion, Tohm’s cadet leader, General Gentis, has decided he wants to be Emperor and has persuaded all his cadets to follow out his orders to take down the Emperor and Lord Vader. Everyone that is, except for Tohm. It sounds like the same tired story we’ve heard hundreds of times before, but I have to say it actually kept me intrigued. The rebelling cadets used some sort of poison gas that, when inhaled, melts you from the inside out.
The plan goes according to plan, for the most part, and the Emperor is poisoned. Now, I’m no expert on taking out powerful Sith Lords, especially an Emperor, but I’m sure there could be other ways of taking him out besides a poison gas. If his right-hand man, one of the most powerful beings in the galaxy, is unaffected (That mask ain’t for show, kids!), then your odds of success are probably around 3,721 to 1. Vader instructs Tohm to put on a gas mask, and then proceeds to barrel down corridors taking out anybody in his way, completely unaffected by the gas, of course, which allows him to reach the Emperor in time to save him.
Well, not SAVE, save him. He has been affected by the poison, but is using The Force to keep the poison at bay. Here we meet Trachta, an aid of the Emperor it seems and, not coincidentally, also wearing a respirator over his mouth. Lucky guy. Perhaps, the Emperor should invest in a respirator of his own, instead of letting his guardians hog them all.
What really stood out for me, besides the incredible artwork that has grown on me since the last issue, were the action scenes towards the end of the issue. Fights are never the same in comics as they are in the films, but here we have two simultaneous battles. One with Trachta and a deranged 2-1B, and the other between Vader and Tohm versus some training droids at the Jedi Temple. In my opinion it’s difficult depicting Vader in the comics. He often comes off as too “animated,” or too talkative, or whatever. He doesn’t “feel” like Vader. But here, they nailed it. An intimidating presence who chooses his words carefully and is equally bad a– in a fight. Only really raising his arms when necessary.
Which leads us to the best part. Vader insists Tohm never speaks of what he’s about to show him as he pulls up a hologram of himself, as Anakin Skywalker, speaking before the Jedi council. We’re left with the cliffhanger of Anakin asking the council why all the dangerous Force wielders he has captured seem to mysteriously vanish the moment he hands them over to the Jedi Council.
Cue dramatic music!
So, they have now officially hooked me. I’ve loved the story so far, but that last panel had my geek blood boiling. Having Vader watch an old hologram of himself from his Jedi days is not something we often see. And, what does this have to do with the overall plot? It left me with so many questions, and I anxiously await for part 3 when it comes out next month.