Darth Vader has been put in charge of training the Inquisitors in the art of lightsaber dueling, and his lessons have been harsh and memorable. The Grand Inquisitor is eager to begin hunting Jedi, and the Emperor has sent forth a list of preliminary targets for the Inquisitors.
Among the selected is a peculiar target which confounds even Lord Vader.
This issue establishes what the relationship between Darth Vader and the Inquisitors will be, and it is a brutal one. Vader appears to hate having these former Jedi as students. He has no patience for their failures, and he seems to hate the Grand Inquisitor most of all.
Darth Vader joined up with the Emperor for power, glory, and the belief that he would attain everything he wanted. As such, being made babysitter for would-be Sith Jedi-hunters would understandably be beneath his expectations of the Empire. His anger here jives with his character.
The Grand Inquisitor is a spiteful and ambitious man, and he’s quite likable for it. He obsesses over the Jedi archives and how he was unable to pursue his thirst for knowledge by the keeper, Jocasta Nu. He longs for her death, and then he will “read every blasted book in this place.”
The plot is a bit slower this issue. It’s by no means boring, but this book’s primary concern is setting up the story for the next few issues. The character relationships are established nicely, and the main players, Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, and the Grand Inquisitor, are all compelling characters. Each are one is a lovable monster in their own right.
Moving into spoiler territory now.
Jocasta Nu is the first target given to Vader and the Inquisitors by Palpatine. Much of the comic is devoted to her labors to create a new Jedi Academy and accompanying archive. She clearly has been working hard since the fall of the Jedi to bring about something new from the wreckage of the Jedi Order. There is a contrast between the hateful means by which the Grand Inquisitor and the Emperor’s description of Jocasta and what we see of her, which makes a lot of sense of course.
Giuseppe Camuncoli’s artwork is solid, even if the style still feels ill-fitted for the character of Darth Vader. The style invokes a more upbeat aesthetic, but the characters are still quite expressive and distinct. The swordplay looks quite good as well. It may not be perfect, but it’s still good and effective.
The color work of David Curiel noticeably bright, though a part of this is due to the sheen Camuncoli gives to Vader and much of the surfaces in the comic. The bright color palette is ill-fit for the comic as well, but the overall work is still solid. Again, it’s not perfect, but it looks good and is effective.
Darth Vader remains a compelling read under Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli. While the art isn’t quite fitting, it’s still solid work backing up great storytelling. This one remains on my recommended list. Give it a try.
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