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Find the write up on the previous issue of Star Wars: Darth Vader here.
Charles Soule knows how to stretch out a story. The second issue of Star Wars’ new Darth Vader comic that begins just after Anakin turns on Obi-Wan and is outfitted with a cybernetic body. The first issue was the epilogue of Episode 3 where we learned why and how a Sith lightsaber glows red. This issue’s portion of the first arc is just Vader flying and killing Empire soldiers for no reason searching for a certain type of Jedi and then saying he was going to go get them. Not very impressive.
Well, a little impressive.
The reason is because this issue is still written well. Sure, it stretched out the story for no good reason (except to make an arc that should be shorter into a full six issue arc). But there was funny banter between a droid and an anger filled Darth Vader. The issue included information about Empire phasing out the post Episode 3 clones and the existence of the Barash Vow was revealed. So a few fun and new things introduced in an issue that felt like filler.
The Barash Vow is the more interesting tidbit of canon related information to which we were introduced. Since the order began, there were about 14,000 Jedi who took the Barash Vow according to the droid in the issue. The idea was good in that it’s plausible and doesn’t feel as forced into the canon as some other things do that go unmentioned in the more worshipped films (I talk a little about the Star Wars film worship more in the Captain Phasma #1 write up). The Barash Vow also gives some fuel and “canon fodder” (that pun was on purpose) to stories that might detail the development of the Inquisitor program featured in the Star Wars: Rebels.
Despite the first two issues being expensive exposition, the character and the era still intrigue me and make me believe there will be payoff coming. Whether this series is successful or not will depend on how Soule is able to develop Vader within the confines of the timeline. There’s an advantage to having a weaker Darth Vader more driven by anger and less conniving or political than the version we get in Kieron Gillen’s Darth Vader run which takes place between Episode four and five and can and would wipe out entire battalions if needed. But we can take only so much filler within the overall story structure when we’re paying $3.99 an issue, it doesn’t matter how much you pepper it with cool canon additions.
Some of that cool pepper comes in the cameo of the Barash Taker Kirak Infil’a. Kirak Infil'a has great character design. His Jedi focus was only in battle no wussy diplomacy or research.
On the last page of the issue we get a glimpse at a white bearded green skinned Jedi in a floating meditating position looking both solemn and dangerous with a number of weapons and trinkets floating around him.
“Apparently Master Infil’a had one purpose within the order. To fight.”
The future of this title can’t be that bad right? We should at least get a good fight. It’s inevitable that Kirak Infil’a will die, but it would be cool to see an antagonist (that is actually a good guy but an antagonist from the point of view of our star) get developed over a series of issues. Soule gets to play with a lot of things according to the canned interview he did on Starwars.com, but I hope while he is fleshing out the “the Inquisitors, the military, Imperial society, etc.”, he doesn’t rely on filler issues as much. There is a ton to write about in this era. Rebels and Rogue One have begun to touch on it, but the galaxy is as wild as it gets in the era where the Empire is revealing its power and Vader is conflicted and running on the fumes of anger, there’s no need or time for filler.