SPOILER REVIEW: "Darth Vader #10: Into the Fire, Part V: The Red Horror" by Greg Pak
This issue was not at all what I expected and I'm still trying to figure out what I think about it all. We knew from last issue that Vader was about to head to Exegol, using the wayfinder he found in the Eye of Webbish Bog's possession. And Ochi of Bestoon was with him for the ride, having been captured and imprisoned by the dark Lord in an escape pod strapped to the bottom of an old Eta-2 Actis-class light interceptor (the very same one that Anakin flew to Mustafar all those years ago!!). In such a position, Ochi quickly goes from menacing threat to blundering oaf which I'm not a huge fan of. He's terrifying in The Rise of Skywalker and I want him to stay that way!! Oh well, I guess this just means Vader is all the more powerful for it...
So with all the above in mind, I figured this issue would be a trip through the difficult spaceways that make up the treacherous path to Exegol. And...no. Instead we have Vader/Ochi going through what seems like a very small chunk of the path to Exegol, one inhabited by a relative of summa-verminoth (the species of creature right outside the Maw in the Akkadese Maelstrom in Solo). But first, Vader has to make a choice because in front of him lies the creature and behind him lies three Star Destroyers each with a contingent of TIEs and the random Umbaran from a couple issues ago commanding them all (although technically Admiral Corleque is in charge)... There's still no explanation for this new character except, "The Emperor has sent me to complete Ochi's mission" and the title "Administrator." I need to know what makes this character so special!! Also, all this pageantry and excess definitely makes it seem like the Emperor really does want Vader dead and doesn't just want to test him. Not so sure how I feel about this either...
Well, Vader fights off a number of TIEs while verbally sparring with the "Administrator" and then takes the plunge and enters into the spooky red matter surrounding the giant creature...the mind games begin. Vader sees Obi-Wan, both old and young. He sees Luke and at the end of all the visions, his body prone on the ground with his own blue lightsaber sticking out of his chest courtesy of none other than his own son--who then proceeds to walk away with the Emperor. You'd think this would shake him, maybe knock him off balance. But no, Vader ends the issue with a little twist of Yoda's old teachings: "Fear leads to anger...anger leads to hate...and hate...leads to power. So now, let the Emperor fear me." All of this while standing atop the now-dead creature (having killed it with nothing but the Force) right in front of the entrance to the Sith dwelling place on Exegol. Well dang, dude!!
Okay, so this issue was pretty bad ass in some regards. But I was hoping for more of a journey to get to Exegol and not just a short hop. We know from Rise of Skywalker that the path is crazy treacherous and long and I just wish that had been reflected in this issue. And who is this freaking Umbaran?!? And why did they have to go and make Ochi so puny?!? Fine, I have frustrations but I also have highs--seeing Vader with no fear toward the Emperor and wishing to take him down a few notches because of what he's done to him and what he might do to his son?? This is the Vader we see at the end of Return of the Jedi and I am so here for this transformation!!
But, side note, the sub-title of this issue is "The Red Horror" and I don't quite see it. There's nothing overly spooky about what takes place in this issue even with the giant beastie that lives amongst "Red Space" and toys with Ochi's and Vader's minds.
MY SCORE: Hmmm...this is a hard one...perhaps a 7.5/10? It was still good but there were just some things that didn't sit well with me.
"Darth Vader #10: Into the Fire, Part V: The Red Horror" written by Greg Pak, illustrated by Raffaele Ienco and Neeraj Menon
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