So with my hype levels overloading for that new Doctor Aphra audio drama, I ran back to where we first met the opportunistic archaeologist! In Kieron Gillen’s 2015 Darth Vader run…
I know there are like 3 or so Darth Vader series’ now which can be a bit confusing when I’m trying to put my comics in order but I digress…
The series is a pretty good example of some weird Star Wars but it still holds up well and so do the new characters Doctor Aphra, Triple Zero, and BT-1!
Here are a few of my favorite moments!
SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD!
Vader meets with Jabba to negotiate on behalf of the Empire. He also has some personal business to inquire about. Vader does not mix the two. I feel like the scene is written to remind us of Luke’s negotiations in Return of the Jedi but I found myself thinking of The Clone Wars movie and the differences between Anakin and Vader in similar situations.
Wielding the Weapon
Turns out after that meeting aboard the Death Star, Tagge ghosted out and lived to lead a fleet another day! With everyone else blown up by the mysterious Aluminium Falcon Tagge is promoted to Grand General and Vader, lone survivor of that particular military embarrassment, is given orders to answer to Tagge. As you can imagine this doesn’t go very well. Vader still lies in that weird “not quite military hierarchy” but is second to the emperor somehow and all that. We are used to those things playing out in a very “Motti talks poodoo and gets rekt kind of way” but now Palpatine in his annoyance specifically puts Vader under Tagge to probably teach him a lesson but maybe also as a punitive punishment.
Also Tagge at some point has an assistant guy to “watch” Vader. That works out how you’d imagine as well…
Our favorite lovable train wreck starts her story here. Her introduction issue still holds up and having her as the foil for Vader in this series was an excellent choice. You have Vader who is light on words and exposition so toss in the super witty over sharing Aphra and you’ve got a way to make some fun adventures. While Aphra has grown into her own, looking back on her early days here she really holds up and I’m just so glad to see her keep adventuring!
Where The Clone War Started
Vader is looking for a personal army so Aphra leads him back to Geonosis to find one… Vader probably hasn’t been to Geonosis… but Anakin sure has…
Also if I’m not mistaken this might be the first mention of the mysterious Droid Gotra which fascinates me A LOT.
Triple Zero and BT-1
Rounding our Vader’s crew are the sadistic murder droids Triple Zero and BT-1. I just love the take on evil 3PO and the amount of weaponry on BT-1 is like… War Machine levels.
Vader has a very familiar ship. Now that we have that 2nd Darth Vader series I wonder if it’s the same one?
Vader tracks down his enemies and finds their base is built into…
drum roll please…
Giant Cyber Space Whales!
I thought that was pretty metal.
Turns out the Emperor has experimented with possible replacements for Vader. This was a crazy kind of battle royale with all these cybernetically enhanced beings. There are twins who are augmented to fight like Jedi but have no Force abilities. A Trandoshan whose pain receptors are shut down. A female with cybernetic brain implants that are like… bluetoothed to lots of laser droids. And last but certainly not least, a Mon Cala that is like… a HUGE fan of General Grievous.
Vader is not amused.
So early in the story Vader sends Boba Fett off on a mission to find the boy who detroyed the Death Star.. and also tried to fight him on Cymoon recently… While Boba doesn’t find Luke he does learn his name.
And informs Vader.
This is the beginning of Vader’s unraveling. This moment is where Vader is able to put together the lies and plot and plan for himself knowing the truth of his master’s deceptions.
I Know Where We Stand
This arc introduces some very great characters into the Star Wars universe that I’m glad to have seen grow into their own and have plenty more stories to weave. I love seeing the story this arc weaves of Vader and the path that leads him to where we find him in The Empire Strikes Back.
And once again… Aphra rocks.