By Charles Soule, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Daniele Orlandini, David Curiel
In case you needed another example as to just how much of a badass Darth Vader is, this latest issue of his ongoing series is here to remind you. It cuts straight to the point by throwing him into the middle of a conspiracy to take him out that reaches to the highest of levels in the Imperial High Command. It’s certainly an ambitious attempt to dispatch Vader, and this issue very much explores the consequences of him surviving that failed assassination attempt. It also makes a clear statement: if you want to kill Vader, you’d better make sure that you finish the job.
A good portion of Imperials are incredibly ambitious people, so when someone like Vader shows up on the scene completely unannounced by the Emperor and becomes his most trusted official, it leads some down dark, alternative paths. It’s interesting to watch these would-be-assassins react to Vader surviving assassination attempt after assassination attempt, and it’s another reminder as to just how cold he’s become since joining the Dark Side. This is a Vader who doesn’t hold back at all.
There isn’t any part of this book that feels rushed as Soule maintains an effective pace throughout the book and it flows really well. It’s not as action-packed as the last issue, but that doesn’t stop it from being an incredibly exciting, tension-filled read. It also answers questions about who was really behind the assassination attempt on Vader, and things aren’t as predictable as the cliffhanger at the end of the last issue would have you believe.
The art from Giuseppe Camuncoli, Daniele Orlandini, and David Curiel (on pencils, inks and colours respectively) ranges from good to spectacular. The final few scenes are brilliantly done, and the out-of-armor meditation is especially unnerving. The characters in particular are drawn well and their emotions and fears are conveyed perfectly, which really plays a key role in fleshing out that ending scene in particular and making it as memorable as it is.
“The Rule of Five” has so far done an excellent job at exploring the political side of things in the Empire in great detail. The fact that the cliffhanger at the end of the issue isn’t as over the top as some have been in the past is also refreshing and suitable of the storyline itself, merely serving a reminder that things are only getting started in this arc. Another thing that helps make the book feel so refreshing is that the people involved in the assassination attempt are not your typical Rebels as well, which is a real shake-up indeed from other Star Wars books, making it stand out in an otherwise familiar setting.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ll want to be reading this book. It provides nice nods to Vader’s past as Anakin by bringing up his flying abilities in a particular scene, and plenty of moments for fans of the character to enjoy. The artwork is great, really working in cohesion with Soule’s excellent storyline that continues to take Vader on an epic journey of political intrigue.