DARTH VADER #9
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: VC Joe Caramagna
Release Date: December 6, 2017
Plot: One of the surviving Jedi, Master Archivist Jocasta Nu is on The Emperor’s most wanted list. But he doesn’t want her dead. He wants her power. Deciding that she is more of a threat for her capability of keeping information from the Sith, in Darth Vader #9, Darth Sidious commands his apprentice to capture Jocasta, even if it means saving her life. Of course, as wise as the old woman is, she finds herself back in the archives in the heart of Coruscant to retrieve a tool that will help her to restart the new Jedi Order. Unfortunately, her love for her books got the best of her when she saw the Grand Inquisitor tossing them like “drivel.”
Story: I really appreciate creative writing, and the excitement of the threat of conflict, especially when we know that one person’s skills are more better noticed than another’s. While I’ve always respected and admired Jocasta Nu, I hardly believed that she was the best combatant among the Jedi. Not only is she older, but all of her time and focus was spent in the Jedi Archives. In a previous issue there’s even a moment when she takes up her lightsaber and refers to it as an “old friend,” thus implying that hasn’t used or even seen it in a long time. But every Jedi has a different strength, and a reason for holding the title of “master.” Hers is knowledge.
I love the idea that her impeccable knowledge of the Jedi temple led her to infiltrate it without the knowledge of pretty much anyone there. I think she would’ve successfully emerged too if it wasn’t for her love of her books. I cringed in the last issue when she decided to attack the Grand Inquisitor, not knowing who he was. For a moment I allowed myself the idea that she may defeat him, but then thought better of it. While not as powerful as Vader, he did indeed have skill. Being saved by Vader had to happen, but again, it’s her navigation of the temple that survives her.
The funny thing here is that this comic has Darth Vader as the Protagonist, but like in the previous arc featuring Jedi Master Infil’a, we are expecting good to somehow triumph over evil while knowing deep down that it won’t. This creates a unique dichotomy and fascination while reading these stories. We are against our protagonist! Or are we? Jocasta proves that she is well equipped for confrontation, even against enemies more powerful than her, as she wipes the data from the archives and retrieves a weapon, powered by her lightsaber, that not even Darth Vader is ready for. This kind of innovation and “home team” advantage has me excited to see what will come of the fight in Darth Vader #10.
Art: As in all previous issues, Darth Vader’s art proves to be masterful. Camuncoli has a talent for line art that is expressive throughout an entire character’s body language. When Jocasta confronts the Inquisitor, you can see the disdain throughout her entire stance. You can feel the anger from the disrespect of her archives, and when she fights, despite being old, you can still see the skill of a Jedi Master in her style. Furthermore, the colors as seen in the reflection of Vader’s helmet, or the folds of Jedi robes, is simply immaculate.
Verdict: Like nearly every issue of this run so far Darth Vader #9 did not disappoint. It’s storytelling is fun and creative, and the stakes are always raised. The capacity for conflict is always there and there is always an expected revelation in every issue. I loved the idea of featuring Jocasta Nu and showing her style of fighting, despite her weaknesses. I am more than excited for the next issue.
Star Rating: 5 out of 5.