Comic Review: Darth Vader #16

Published: May 9, 2018
Rating: Rated T
Writer: Charles Soule
Penciler: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Cover Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli

The Synopsis;

Vader and his Inquisitors lead an elite squad of clone troopers to flush out the Jedi traitor beneath the waters of Mon Cala… and the oceans will burn with their fury.

The Story;

Barr declares the start of the evacuation protocol, Palpatine’s Jedi hunters led by Vader know where they are and are on their way. Endee creates a backup of all Barr’s files and he sets the droid to self destruct when they are clear of the cavern. There mission is done here and they must get off planet, but first they need to get to nearest settlement. The Jedi’s followers all don underwater suits and make for the pool at the centre of their hideout.

In the waters below they mount their one man underwater vehicles and make their escape. Suddenly something is blocking their exit, its Vader’s ship. The call to scatter as the ship approaches from Stell is ignored by Nipaltoo who takes aim at the glass dome of the ship, they can destroy it with concentrated fire. Vader raises a hand aboard his ship and the glass dome of Nipaltoo’s suit starts to crack and with a clench of his fist, it implodes.

Nipaltoo stands in the doorway to his homestead and questions his mother on where they are taking his sister Palabee and she is to be a Jedi. A few years later a screen projecting an image of the Emperor is being watched in a square. Palpatine announces the deception of the Jedi and that they are to be hunted, but Nipaltoo does not believe what he hears. He is now stood in a cantina with Barr, who is telling him that if he joins him, he will find for his sisters murder, all with the wave of the Jedi’s hand.

Barr and his remaining followers head away from the Vader’s ship, their target is Bel City. Orvek diverts from the group and stands his ground. He wants to give them all a chance and will stand and fight the Empire. As the group move away there is an all mighty explosion.

Machinery is clearing a planet surface and clone troopers line the route for the population of his town. They are to be moved to a new planet to allow the Empire to strip the planets resources.  Despite Orvek’s protest they are moved along. In another cantina and with another wave of his hand, Barr enlists him to fight the Empire and follow him.

Barr and his followers reach Bel City and enter an airlock. They remove their underwater garb and they move toward the exit tunnel. Rebb volunteers to stay and ambush their pursuers, but Stell will not let her do this alone and stays with. Barr insists their efforts will be long remembered and the the force will be with them.

Stell and Reeb watch from a balcony high up as Imperial forces parade below. They need to do something to stop this happening, but the only important thing to Stell is Rebb. They too meet with Master Barr and they agree to follow him.

Imperial Star Destroyer, Sovereign.

An Imperial lieutenant reports to Tarkin and it seems they are winning the engagements. Tarkin agrees, but is concerned their forces are spread too thinly. The Quarren and the Mon Calamari are employing two tactics; they are either holing up in their cities or forcing the Imperials into unknown territories to fight or they scatter to the dar reaches of the oceans and force the Imperials to split up. But then there is Admiral Raddus stationed with the fleet to defend the southern polar region of the planet. He has taken the non-military merchant ships from the shipyards and linked them together to form a shield, building a literal fortress, quite a brilliant manoeuvre.

A commander reports to Raddus that their shields are holding, that news doesn’t surprise him. Asked if he has an idea of when the Imperials will tire in their efforts, Raddus almost hopes that they don’t’.

Vader followed by the Inquisitors and troopers march down a corridor in pursuit of Barr and his followers. Tarkin communicates with him requesting a favour, which will leave him in his debt. He asks Vader to divert to capture King Lee-Char and leave the Inquisitors to pursue the Jedi. He considers and accepts the new task and leaves the other to pursue their quarry.

Barr and his remaining two followers come to a dead end and they realise there is no escape. A crimson blade flies through the air and cuts down Daren.

Daren stands, arms aloft in surrender to two super battle droids. Then with a blue flash the droids are split in two from head to pelvis. Anakin Skywalker stands there with his lightsaber asking if Daren is ok and advises him to go into hiding. Daren faces Master Barr and offers his service as a Jedi once saved and he is willing to fight.

The Inquisitors and troopers burst from the corridor to face Barr and Verla. Verla goes to attack, but Barr stops her. He throws aside his weapon, he knows who the Inquisitors really are. Prosset Dibs, Bil Valen and Masana Tide and they are all former Jedi. They reintroduce themselves as the ninth sister, sixth brother and tenth brother. To Barr their past does not die, he smiles and throws his arms wide open. As he does so, the trooper’s helmets float from their heads to reveal the tattooed faces of clones. Barr has done his research and knows how Palpatine achieved the purge and the role the clones played. The faces are of clones from the last batches to be created, but their programming is the same.

Despite their new names they are still Jedi in the eyes of a clone, Jedi Mast Ferren Barr stands there and declares for them to execute Order 66!

The Review;

The cover as usual is by Giuseppe Camuncoli and is actually used in the comic as an illustration. I must say I do really like it! There is a Galactic Icon’s (#14 of 36) variant cover available, which features the much anticipated Enfys Nest from Solo: A Star Wars Story.

I have a bad feeling about this! Well, as to the fact of how Barr seems to have recruited his band of followers. There seems to be an un-Jedi like use of the force to influence them joining his crusade. This for me is pushing him to be more of a grey Jedi, if not a little towards the dark side. How expendable he sees his followers is not what we would call ‘Jedi-like’, it seems that he is willing to let them sacrifice themselves for his own survival. I assume he believes his methods will help defend the remaining Jedi, but is this going to end in a duel with Vader or dare I even suggest some sort of an impasse?

Raddus is proving himself to be the tactical genius we know from Rogue One. To join capital ships together to create a shield at the planetary pole even impresses Tarkin. It makes you wonder what Tarkin thought of his Hammerhead Corvette manoeuvre at the battle of Scarif.

I do find it strange to have changed some of the background artists half way through an arc. I know changes behind the scenes do happen, even the writers change, but mid-arc does seem strange. Saying that, it has not detracted from anything and everything on that front is to the usual high standard.

Charles Soule has struck again with another twist to the story, but more importantly a brilliant cliff hanger. What will happen to the Inquisitors as a result of the call for their Clone Trooper companions to execute order 66 all over again? We wait to see next time out.

Availability;

This issue was released on 9th May 2018 and is available via the Marvel App and all good comic book stores. This issue retails at $3.99.

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Steve Galloway
Steve was 5 years old when he saw Star Wars for the first time during its first UK cinema release. He considers himself a first generation Star Wars fan and in his own words is a ‘Child of 77’.