An expensive bounty has been put on Vader’s head! Who would dare try to challenge the Dark Lord’s place in the Empire?
Vader’s ship cruises through hyperspace. He is sitting at a workbench while the on-board computer analyses where the contract was submitted for Vader’s termination. It is 97% sure that it came from the Emperor’s offices, but there is no evidence of slicing. Vader is constructing his lightsaber, he requests a list of individuals with the correct access and they appear in his helmet lenses. With some final adjustments he holds the hilt in front of him and the crimson blade ignites to his satisfaction.
The Galactic Core.
Vader’s ship drops out of hyperspace above the planet of Coruscant. The Ninth Sister is at the controls and they are both anxious to make planet fall for differing reasons. An alarm sounds as they are asked to transmit their clearance codes by Orbital Defence, but the comms are being jammed. Three missiles spit from the defence platform aiming for the ship. The Ninth Sister is forced from her seat by Vader so he can take the controls, this situation does not need Force tricks, but skill. The first two missiles are taken out with ease, but the third is still on target. It clips the ship and explodes sending it hurtling toward the planet’s surface in a blaze of fire and trailing smoke. The ship comes down on a concourse as onlookers flee for safety and it comes to a screeching halt.
The Former Jedi Temple.
The Emperor stands admiring the secret room where Vader fought Jocasta Nu. He does not consider that battle as a victory, but the artefacts that it unearthed are of great interest. He senses Vader has other things to discuss. He explains how he was attacked on Cabarria and that the contract has originated from highest levels of the Imperial Government, then asks if the Emperor was the source. The Emperor gazes at Vader and notices his new lightsaber, he requests to inspect it. Vader hands it to him and the Emperor ignites the blade and holds it to Vader’s throat. The Emperor approves of his design, but denies making such a request, stating that he would not need to resort to indirect methods. Vader thought it may have been a test, but the Emperor does not test, but teaches. The Orbital Defence issue also has Vader suspicious, so the Emperor asks Vader to investigate.
Uscru District. The Room of Masks.
Their mission has failed so far. It has not even caused upset between Vader and the Emperor. They are angry that Palpatine has promoted this unknown through the ranks and overlooked others. Who is he? Is he a bodyguard? He is something more than that, they must try again.
Vader is meditating in his private chambers and reaching out through the force. He has a force vision of him force choking an officer as the Emperor watches on.
He visits the Emperor and tells him what he felt during his meditation. The culprits do not understand Vader’s purpose and do not know that he has the Emperor’s power. There must be consequences for this, but the Emperor has plans for Tarkin and must be spared.
Officers stand in regimented lines before of a dais where the Emperor and Vader are flanked by 6 Royal Guards. The Emperor wishes to eliminate confusion, he introduces Lord Vader to them. He lets them know that a command from Vader is as if he himself had spoken. Vader steps forward and calls the names Ferro, Bingan, Strephi, Azoras and Barokki. They step forward and Barokki’s face is panicked and sweaty. He explains that attempts have been made on his life and while he cannot prove the exact identities of the culprits, he does have his suspicions. Every time they try to kill Vader, he will survive. On this occasion he has chosen five at random, who will not. Vader reaches a hand toward them and all five officers’ collapse to the floor clawing at there ever tightening airways.
Vader is again meditating in his chambers in a chair before a window. His lightsaber floats in front of him with the blade ignited. The window starts to crack.
As usual we start with the cover. No variants this time around, but what we do have is evocative of the character artwork put out for The Force Awakens. It shows Vader holding his lightsaber out in front of him covering the left side of his face.
Charles Soule has done it again for me. Yet more twists and turns to the plot line that further explain the path of Vader to becoming the villain we all love from the original trilogy. The dialogue is very believable and holds the artwork together very nicely.
The consistency of the artwork has been a great benefit to the series. Giuseppe Camuncoli has really captured the essence of Vader, but I love the way he draws the Emperor. You can see the malevolence through his depictions. If I were to criticise anything, I’m not particularly enamoured by his drawing of Tarkin and Clone Troopers, but I can forgive that.
So, it wasn’t the Emperor who put the bounty on Vader, but some high up Imperial Officers who seem to be threatened by not knowing who he was and what his relationship is to the Emperor. At his ‘introduction’ we get to see more of Vader’s preference for force choking his victims, by exerting his opinion and dominance in this way.
It seems almost like issues 11 and 12 have been a sub-arc of their own to setup what is coming next in issue 13. Now everyone who needs to know about Vader and who he is, let’s see what this can bring next.
Really looking forward to issue 13, but I think I’ve said that for every issue so far!
This issue was released on 28th February 2018 and is available via the Marvel App and all good comic book stores. This issue retails at $3.99.