Review: Darth Vader (2015) #2

Our retrospective reviews of Marvel’s Star Wars comics continue as we take a look at Kieron GIllen’s Darth Vader #2…

 

This issue of Darth Vader opens up on the Dark Lord’s latest mission, recovering a pirate corvette and shooting down a stolen Imperial shuttle. With success and a few of Vader’s best lines – surely no one could fail to read “impressive” in any voice other than James Earl Jones’? – Vader returns to his new commanding officer: Grand General Tagge. Immediately, Kieron Gillen shows the distinction between the command stylings of Tagge, who Vader resents, and the deceased Governer Tarkin. Tagge is shown using statistics and strategy, whilst Tarkin relied upon the fear that only one, planet-destroying space station can provide. A higher degree of cunning is also shown within the Grand General, as he intends to use the captured pirate corvette to infiltrate another group of pirates, but that is still a little while away.

Whilst Vader appeared to enjoy some autonomy with Tarkin, here he must comply completely with Tagge’s orders, showing Vader having to restrain himself and allowing us to see him in a position we’ve very rarely seen. The Emperor is still very much disappointed with his apprentice, but the Dark Lord is on his way to his redemption and return to second-in-command position he enjoyed previously. Clearly, Tagge very much enjoys his new power over Darth Vader, dismissing his security leak theory, annoying his new inferior agent. As if to drive the knife in further, Tagge also assigns Lieutenant Oon-Ai to observe Vader’s activities and ensure he complies. Things are already looking bleak for the lieutenant…

With a new assignment to take down more pirates and a watchful, if inexperienced, lieutenant in hand, Vader and group of Stormtroopers do what they do best: leave no survivors. Catching the pirates off-guard, Larocca and Delgado combine to show a spectacular firefight between the prequel-era droidekas (the ones with the forcefields) and the Stormtroopers – a wonderful little call back to the Clone Wars. During this battle, we also get some cutaway shots of Vader’s astromech droid, moving sneakily between the ships, on a secret mission for Vader.

The battle comes to a close with Force-guided missiles, courtesy of the Dark Lord of the Sith, and Vader successfully obtains the information he required from the pirate base, with a fearful Lieutenant Oon-Ai barely keeping up. Reporting back to Tagge, Vader’s suspected security leak turns theory appears to be fact: Lieutenant Oon-Ai was apparently behind the deception, which puts Vader back into the closest thing he could get to cheery spirits, while Tagge is left somewhat embarrassed. Yet all is not what it appears; Vader ensures that his sneaky, little astromech has purged all evidence of a data upload before it self-destructs, quite possibly the type of data that would get an Imperial officer declared a traitor…

This second issue is a nice, smaller story, dealing with the conflict between Vader and Tagge, which will hopefully be one of the main subplots throughout the series, as Vader steps closer and closer to claiming his position as the big bad of Episode V. Nothing in the issue served to bring us closer having Darth Vader discover his son was closer at hand than he could ever believe, but there will be plenty of time for that storyline to come. Overall, a good follow up to a strong first issue.

 

Rating:

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