SPOILER REVIEW: "Darth Vader #7: Into the Fire, Part II--The Assassin" by Greg Pak
This was definitely a worthy follow up to the gruesome last issue in which Palpatine punished Vader not only mentally, but physically as well, destroying his cybernetic limbs and leaving him to fend for himself on the beaches of Mustafar. Ochi of Bestoon (from The Rise of Skywalker) has been sent by Palpatine to take Vader down and Palpatine has told Vader in no uncertain terms that he is not to use the Force at all. Vader is certainly left in a crazy tight spot, but he's Vader (Anakin), so even without the Force, he's got this one in the bag!!
Throughout the issue we get flashbacks to Revenge of the Sith. I always enjoy when Vader reflects back on his past!! We see Palpatine making sure that he killed ALL the Jedi including the younglings in the Temple and then we see him tell Vader to go bring peace to the galaxy which of course leads to his violent killing of the Separatist leaders on Mustafar. There's even a desiccated Nute Gunray on display in the present timeline. *shiver*
So Vader needs to fix himself and to do so, he has made his way, dragging himself along the ground with his one human arm, to the place where he killed all the Separatist leaders. Mouse droids are still scurrying around the place and he manages to catch a few to help him rebuild his body...with battle droid parts!! Needless to say, a variety of different battle droid models and their parts are also scattered throughout the room. It is fascinating watching the man work, soldering himself together as he makes his body fully functional again!! I've always loved how the prequels added being an incredible tinkerer to Vader's skill set!
Then Ochi shows up, full of bluster and confidence, thinking Vader will be an easy kill. But he's in way over his head because Vader has tenacity and power of will greater than anyone else in the Star Wars galaxy. Even when he's down, broken, and beaten, he still manages to conquer all. So Vader and Ochi throw down and while Vader has his lightsaber, Ochi has what looks like a spear with an axe-like blade on one end that seems to be resistant to the saber's blade...very interesting. In fact, even his armor seems resistant! I guess Palpatine fixed him up perfectly for being a deadly assassin toward any victim. During the fight, Vader even walks through lava with his new battle droid legs!! I am confused as to how the metal legs don't melt away in the lava, but I managed to suspend my disbelief for this one.
Ochi makes some mysterious comments about knowledge he has on Palpatine's true plan, saying, Palpatine has "power beyond your understanding and mine. Power that only the Emperor could build." And Vader gets stuck on the word "build," knowing that there's something more there that Ochi knows. Then, in the midst of the distraction brought on by the word "build," Ochi gains the high ground and Vader hears a voice calling to him from a cave and who might it be but...The Eye of Webbish Bog!!!! The super bizarre creature from the novelization of The Rise of Skywalker. I am SO FREAKING EXCITED to find out more about this creature and his "place in all this." I am over the moon that they're connecting this series to both the prequels AND sequels!! Star Wars canon connection story-telling at its absolute best!!
I couldn't be more stoked for seeing where this arc goes from here. I was worried it was going to be boring or at least monotonous with just a "punishment" for Vader, but dang if it hasn't pulled out all the stops and continued to hold my interest with a super firm grip!
MY SCORE: 8/10 because the canon connections keep coming and I just LOVE seeing Vader be a tinkering bada**.
"Darth Vader #7: Into the Fire, Part II--The Assassin" written by Greg Pak, illustrated by Raffaele Ienco and Neeraj Menon
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