Vader’s punishment continues.
Broken and beaten, Vader makes it to the Techno Union outpost but is being followed by a mysterious character.
Once inside he relives his massacre of the Separatist Leaders whilst he has a group of MSE Droids help attach various droid limbs to allow him full movement.
The mysterious character arrives, introducing himself as Ochi of Bestoon. The two begin to fight which takes them out of the outpost. Vader beats the assassin and threatens his life for answers, Ochi tells Vader that the Emperor is building something which Vader wants more information.
During the interrogation, Vader awakens something from inside a cave which calls to him. Ochi tries to shut the cave by causing a rockslide but Vader gets through where he finds The Eye of the Webbish Bog.
This issue lacks something and I can’t put my finger on it. So far it’s the first issue of the series I have felt disappointed with, I feel like the continued brilliance of the series up to now has spoilt me and this part of the story, which is essentially putting the next set pieces together to build up to a bigger and greater story, but with very little pay off except Vader rebuilding his removed limbs and finally meeting The Eye of the Webbish Bog, which we have had teased for months when Marvel released images of the cover for next months issue.
The build up around the introduction of Ochi the Assassin doesn’t pay off here. To me he looks like a rejected design for ‘Red Hood’ in the ‘Arkham Knight’ game which is disappointing to me, why they didn’t choose to keep him without the mask makes no sense to me, he doesn’t come across as threatening like he does in the brief glimpses we in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ with his face on show. He also comes across as very cocky as he interacts with Vader, again, not something I would have imagined a follower of the Sith would do in the presence of a Sith Lord, even if he is disgraced at the time. I’m sure he will continue to show up in this arc and so hope that the character pays off in the end and isn’t just a tenuous link to the Sequel Trilogy, only there as a small piece of connective tissue.
It’s not all bad however, Vader’s flashbacks to his turn to the Dark Side, where he aided in Order 66 and the slaughter of the Younglings haunts him, we see that Anakin/Vader was hesitant to kill the children but did so at the behest of Palpatine. His eventual attack on the Separatist leaders also causes Vader to hesitate but once again, he follows his Master’s orders. It seems evident that he wasn’t truly converted to the Dark Side until the culmination of his duel with Kenobi where he felt truly abandoned by everyone he loved.
Whilst the story is lacking and the design of Ochi in his armour is lacking, the art in general is stunning and has some of my favourite imagery from the run so far, especially when Vader enters the Techno Union stronghold and finds the remains of the Separatist Leaders.
The issue works in terms of building towards something bigger but with very little pay off it feels a bit ‘filler’, however once the full run has been released it will probably feel better in the grand scheme of the story.
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