Greetings again Star Wars fans! This week I'll be talking to you about the 3rd installment of “Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison.” This was my entry point into the story, but I've got to say, I wasn't lost for a second. Haden Blackman does an excellent job of writing this issue in such a way that by the end of it, you forget you're actually reading part 3.
To fill you in on what happened before, the Headmaster of the Empire's military academies has made an attempt on the Emperor's life. All of his students are behind him save one, disabled Lieutenant Laurita Tohm. Tohm aids Darth Vader and Moff Trachta in moving the Emperor to a secret hangar bay while they look for a place to get Palpatine the care he needs. Perhaps the Jedi had such a place, and it is at the beginning of this issue that we see Darth Vader has gone to the abandoned Jedi Temple to find out.
It gave me such an eerie chill to see Vader standing in the middle of the Jedi briefing room watching holograms of Jedi Masters long since dead. We learn that the Jedi had a secret prison, secret even from the Republic, and that they've been running it for years. It was Vader's former self, Anakin Skywalker, who was in fact responsible for the capture of more than half of its inmates.
Vader is enraged to find that this was kept from him and hurls a chair out of a window with the Force. It was really shocking to see Vader lose his cool like this. We're all used to seeing the cold and collected Vader from the films, who very rarely shows his anger. So to see him completely lose his shit, even if just for a moment, is pretty damn awesome. To do it in such a recognizable location from the films just adds that much more weight to the moment.
For those like me, who haven't read the previous issues, we're then introduced to two more major players, Lieutenant Laurita Tohm and Moff Trachtis. We get to see how each of the characters suffered their own disfigurements, we get a good feel for the balance of power between them, and we get the feeling that there is clearly no love lost between these two, though there is at least respect.
In the next scene, we see both new and familiar faces. Grand Moff Tarkin is being briefed by Headmaster Gentis of the attack on the Emperor. When questioned, Gentis makes it seem like he has the Emperor in his care and that Darth Vader has mysteriously disappeared. This greatly interests Tarkin, who decides to come visit Gentis on Coruscant to take over the investigation. It was cool to see another familiar face from the films. I always thought Tarkin could have made a better villain if Lucas had known his franchise was going to be popular enough to continue past the first film, and so it's very nice to see him again here. Gentis is interesting because, while he is loyal to the Empire, he's not at all loyal to its leader. His one-page scene later on, where he explains the motivations behind the attack, really makes you root for the guy, because he values each and every Imperial life. Well, you know, except for the Emperor's.
The last part of the issue, when Vader takes over the Jedi prison Prism, moves at a quick pace. Vader comes one step closer to the eradication of the Jedi, Trachtis shows just how much a monster he really is, and Tohm comes up with a plan to help Vader retake control of Coruscant. It sets up the next issue nicely and gives you a better understanding of the newer characters. I'm definitely interested in continuing this series. As a huge fan of the original trilogy, it's always nice to read new stories that feature Vader. It also doesn't hurt that Agustin Alessio's art here is absolutely incredible. This is the first time I've read a Star Wars book that felt less like a comic and more like an extension of the films, and that is due in no small part to the expertly drawn characters and environments by Alessio. His characters are all very emotive and it really lends a lot of weight to certain scenes when you can clearly see what the character is feeling. I can't wait to see more of it.
Let us know if you enjoyed it too. Until next time, may the Force be with you.