The last we left "the gang," Tohm had suggested recruiting the very prisoners that Anakin Skywalker had put away to the "Ghost Prison" to serve in their own newly-formed army against the Emperor's attackers. Just typing that sentence alone fills my Star Wars fanboy heart with great joy. This arc is something I haven't seen from Star Wars in a long time. Don't get me wrong, I love The Clone Wars animated television series, but as it is geared more towards a family friendly audience, it can only get so dark. But, here we're given truly dark Star Wars. Anakin Skywalker was an incredible general and The Clone Wars shows him kicking a lot of major butt, but here we see his handy work. Not the actual "bada--ery" itself, but its brilliant outcome. The prison is filled with some of the roughest scum in the galaxy, and the majority of them were put there by just one man. Vader suggests that Tohm have the inmates fight to the death to see who truly belongs in their army. Tohm describes just who these people are through his inner monologue: a sniper taken down by Anakin and Kit Fisto; another: one of Dooku's former enforcers captured by Skywalker near the Maw Cluster. These small details bring to life a past of Anakin we haven't seen depicted. At least, not for me.
Vader steps up at one point as he is attacked by a jaded former Jedi recruited by Count Dooku. These scenes with little dialogue are executed beautifully as Vader casually disarms the former Jedi until he begs for mercy. We have here an excellent portrayal of the Anakin we know from The Clone Wars mixed with the cyborg he is now. Not as powerful and nimble as he was in the past, but he makes up for it with sheer power over the Force. You don't want to mess with this guy. Period.
Out of the 270 prisoners released into the yard to fight, only 33 survived. Much like earlier, we are treated to Tohm casually walking through the lifeless bodies strewn about the yard as he describes to himself, and us the reader, just who some of these guys are. When one of the men springs back to life, Tohm is about to put him out of his misery with his blaster. Vader stops him, explaining that he needs to conserve his blaster energy, and offers him a giant pipe instead. What follows is a fantastic exchange between Tohm, who feels sick after murdering the remaining survivors, and Moff Tracha, who expresses his own feelings towards Vader. He respects him for sure, even fears him, but thinks of Vader merely as a blunt instrument under the Emperor's control.
Meanwhile, on the other side of things, General Gentis is planning to lead Tarkin into a trap and eliminate him. It is revealed that Gentis has secured information about the Empire that I really don't want to spoil for you all!
There's a lot they've built up here for it all to be concluded with just one issue left, but the creators of this series have really wowed me with this arc. I'm excited to see how it all comes to a close, but, depending on how it ends, I'd love to see more from Tohm. Five issues just doesn't seem long enough to me, but maybe that will work in its favor. Short and sweet.