THE COST OF FAILURE
To command an IMPERIAL DESTROYER is a coveted position. But with such great responsibility comes grave consequences if you fail your mission. How far will one officer go to spare himself from the judgment of DARTH VADER?
A Rebel U-Wing flees the might of the Imperial Navy, and in a blink it disappears into hyperspace.
Commander Tylux is raging. Failure is unacceptable, he has failed in the mission. His officers remind of what they have achieved, destroying a Rebel base, striking down the Rebel’s operating from that base and zero casualties of their own. 1 Rebel ship cannot be classed as a failure. Appeased, he agrees, asks them to submit a report of their success and retires to his quarters.
While relax, sipping caf, an officer enters his quarters to advise him that the Emperor is pleased with their work and has despatched Lord Vader to retrieve the captured Rebel spy. Panic sets in, Tylux has seen what happens when Vader thinks he has been failed.
Years ago, he was a lieutenant who witnessed the wrath of Vader. The only survivor of this meeting, he was promoted to Commander replacing his now dead superiors. Panic truly sets in and he races back to the bridge.
He wants the star destroyer to break off from the fleet and pursue the Rebel that got away. He has no care for the consequence, but he cannot fail like others have before. Course calculated the ship jumps into hyperspace.
On reentering real space, they are on the edge of an asteroid field, the perfect place for a Rebel to hide. The star destroyer starts to enter the asteroid field, officers declaring the dangers, but Tylux has spotted what they came for. On an asteroid is the U-Wing undergoing repairs.
the Rebel spots his pursuer and flees as a squadron of TIE fighters are sent after to disable his craft. The U-Wing takes hit after hit and changes course for the atmosphere of a near by planet. The sandstorms on the planet make this a hazardous place to follow, but Tylux despatches all of the TIE’s onboard in pursuit. The pilots are beyond belief that they are all being sent after one ship, and the dangers are huge. He can almost feel the pressure on his throat from Vader’s Force grip.
In atmosphere, sensors blinded, one by one the TIE’s are destroyed until there are only a few left. The U-Wing breaks atmosphere heading for space once more and ambushes the remaining TIE’s.
Tylux orders the star destroyer into the asteroid field to chase down the Rebel. The U-Wing heads deeper as an exogorth appears out of an asteroid. The Rebel flies his craft into the throat of the beast and the star destroyer follows. It is too big, but the U-Wing punches through the back of the exogorth with the star destroyer still following.
The Rebel looks on in disbelief as Tylux commands his crew to lock on with their tractor beam. Power surges stop them from deploying the beam. The ship is covered in mynock’s feeding off the ships hull and draining its power.
Suddenly, five Rebel ships appear from hyperspace surrounding the wounded star destroyer. The barrage of cannon fire is relentless and Tylux gives the order to abandon ship. He flees the bridge and gets to his escape pod. Strapped in and ready to go, a dark figure appears before him, lightsaber in hand to remind him failure is unacceptable!
We have two cover for this issue. Firstly the direct edition is from Greg Smallwood featuring Vader, a fearful Tylux and his star destroyer. The way this is all encompassed into the shape of Vader’s silhouette does make it an interesting cover, especially as it is back by a stark white backs ground. The one thing for me, is the look on Tylux’s face is so similar to Belloq at the end of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. Secondly we have the variant from David Curiel and Gerardo Sandoval. This shows Vader in full wrath mode not accepting the failure of his officers, and while not being graphic, you know exactly what is coming.
2 things that stand out about this issue for me are the fact that we now see the Vader we know, compared to the hero last time out, but the big one for me was the artwork. Not just the drawings, but the use of the frames for each segment. Viewed individually on a tablet to computer you don’t get the real feel of this, but when you read in page mode, or pick up the physical comic itself, this framing takes things to another level. No pun intended there, but Brian Level has done an absolutely amazing job. Possibly one of the best single issues ever of recent years.
Now, the story, is more psychological, almost cerebral and I would assume this is difficult to write. Again, Dennis ‘Hopeless’ Hallum has taken us in a previously unseen direction with how he has composed this story. We have seen this type of event from Vader’s perspective on screen, but to flip the coin and give us the other side is refreshing. It shows the fear that the Imperial’s have of Vader and even in his absence his ‘legend’ goes before him and can strike fear of failure into anyone who knows these tales, let alone witnessed them.
I did like the use of the exogorth in the asteroid field and the twist of the mynock’s bringing the star destroyer to it’s knees.
Was Vader’s presence at the end real, or was it all in the imagination of a man cracking under the pressure of his failure? I can’t decide, but it wouldn’t surprise that Vader somehow caught up with Tylux on the dying star destroyer to exact his punishment.
From the preview of the next issue, it’s leading me to think that Vader may have a love interest. Not sure how correct that is, but I know for sure, I’m really looking forward to it.
This issue was released on 27th March 2019 and is available via the Marvel App and all good comic book stores. This issue retails at $3.99.