Darth Vader #2 (2017): The Jedi Traitor

18Darth Vader #2 (Marvel, 2017)

Greetings, readers! We’re once again off to spend some time with everyone’s favorite bad-decision-maker, Anakin Skywalker. This run of Vader comics, as you may recall, is set in the time period immediately after Revenge of the Sith — so here we get a Vader that’s only just begun his evil career (but what a first week on the job it’s been!)

Of course, what good is a Murderous RoboSith without a weapon to do some slashin’ with? As we all know, Anakin’s last weapon — that one that was his life — walked off of Mustafar with somebody else. (I’m not crying, and neither is Obi-Wan, except for multiple times a day and every night in his sleep.) (Sorry.)

No matter — Sheev didn’t like the aesthetics of Anakin’s last weapon, anyways. He’d told Vader to stop focusing on getting Kenobi Vengeance and go off, find a Jedi, kill them, take their lightsaber, and then turn its crystal red by making it bleed.

Reasons This Is Hilarious:

  1. Nobody in Star Wars has ever been able to stop focusing on Obi-Wan, LEAST OF ALL ANAKIN, so good luck with all that, Sidious;
  2. I’m not sure why Anakin couldn’t kill two birds with one stone here and focus on finding Obi-Wan so that he could kill him and either steal HIS lightsaber (or steal back his own and use THAT crystal!) I mean, I’m glad he didn’t, obviously, but still. (Amusingly, it appears that the reason Anakin doesn’t go this route is partially out of laziness, which sounds about right. We’ll get there!);
  3. I am still dying that this is the new-canon explanation for how the Sith get their red crystals, AND I like how it’s only BARELY more involved than how the Jedi get theirs;
  4. I am still dying EVEN MORE that Sheev waited until AFTER Order 66 to spring this whole thing on Vader. Like, he couldn’t have thrown this out there BEFORE Anakin and the clones mowed down 99.9% of the Jedi Order? Nope! Had to make sure that Vader’s Crystal Quest was going to be as needlessly difficult as humanly possible. As if Vader wasn’t having a bad enough week already. Sidious really loves making things worse for this guy.

All right! So, when we left off Vader was off on his latest kyber shopping trip, in search of somebody to murder.

Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Idiot

I would like to start today’s recap by treating you all to this very entertaining bit from the comics equivalent of the opening crawl:

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HAHAHA. “His wife died nonetheless.” I love how even THE CRAWL is like “…yep, all that and this dumbass still didn’t even get what he wanted. What a loser.” YOU SUCK, ANAKIN.

Recurring Theme: The Jedi Order, Totally Humble Understated Space Monks
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We open at a place we’re told was a mid-rim Jedi outpost called Brighthome. Awww. Just knowing that he probably hung out here once or twice with Obi-Wan and/or Ahsoka at various points Before The Badness is going to make what Anakin does here somehow worse. I mean, not “Main Jedi Temple on Coruscant” worse, but still. Can’t leave a single one of your old stomping grounds un-ruined, huh Skywalker?

Also, let us take a moment to appreciate this thing. The Jedi Order just…built this giant thing out in space? How many of these ARE THERE? HOW BIG IS THAT STATUE ON THE TOP FFS??

Recurring Theme: I Don’t Deserve This

There, some clones are digging through the Order’s shit and cataloging it all. One of them, Ding, picks up a lightsaber and jokes: look at me! I’m a Jedi!

His cohort replies:

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…he’d be dead! Oh. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Hilarious. The clones are cracking jokes about how all the Jedi are dead now because they killed them. Good one, guys! I’m totally OK with everything that’s happening right now.

Ding complains about how boring this assignment is, because instead of getting to do something cool, they’re stuck here going through all the Jedi’s dumb boring crap:

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YOU’RE TELLING ME.

My Men Are Trained From Birth

Ding gets chided to take this mission — and every mission! — seriously. Sure, they defeated the Separatists (I guess? Kinda?) but those guys weren’t the only menace to the galaxy out there (NO SHIT.) The Emperor will still need protecting! YEAH I’D HATE FOR ANYTHING UNFORTUNATE TO HAPPEN TO THAT GUY OBVIOUSLY.

But then it’s dropped out there that, well, the clones might not be the ones on Sheev Protection Duty anymore:

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Well, that was quick! (Also, please note the GIGANTIC JEDI STATUE back there. HOW MANY OF THESE THINGS DID THEY HAVE?! Did they carve them themselves? If so, did Anakin make a particularly glorious one of Obi-Wan that he totally did not have moved into Dramatic Bullshit Manor over on Mustafar later? SO MANY QUESTIONS.)

Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Overcomplicating Things

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Oh good GRIEF this part is ridiculous. Vader approaches this outpost, and the clones, having no idea who he is, take note with hostility.

So. Please recall that Vader and the Clones are still on the same side. Nevertheless, Anakin decides to show up at this place unannounced and refuses to identify himself or explain why he’s here or anything. So naturally a giant confrontation happens and Vader blasts a few ships out of the way and comes plowing into this branch of JediCo.

The clones, watching this from the inside, are like WHO THE FUCK IS THIS GUY? He took out a bunch of arc troopers (OH WHY STAR WARS) and he shouldn’t be able to do that…

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*sigh*

Recurring Theme: Star Wars and I Understand Each Other

With Vader making his approach now, Kicker tells Ding that, well buddy — looks like you got your wish for a more action-packed day after all!

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Hahahahaha COUNTING ROBES. I presume they kept a massive stash of them at every outpost throughout the galaxy so that Obi-Wan could pick up replacements at any time, since as we know the man left a trail of robes behind him everywhere he went. Bless you, Star Wars. (Also, look here, Ding, I will gladly rummage around through the Jedi Order’s closets if you don’t want to.)

Ding notes that maybe this is their big chance to prove to Sidious that the clones are still worth keeping around (*sniffle*!)

Eventually Vader makes his way indoors, and he’s totally understated and quiet about it just like he always is.

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DOES HE HAVE A BULLET HOLE IN HIS THIGH? He’s been in that suit for like 2 days and he’s ALREADY DAMAGED IT? God, Sidious is going to need to allocate an entire part of the annual Imperial budget to Vader Repair and Upkeep.

Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Traitor

The clones and Vader face off — one of them grazes his shoulder with a blaster bolt, and Vader just seems greatly annoyed by this — and it culminates with Vader grabbing a loose lightsaber that was laying around, and Force-pushing them backwards.

At this, the clones are alarmed: YIKES! I guess our first impressions were correct — that IS a Jedi!

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ANAKIN. PLEASE. TONE IT DOWN A SHADE. Or at least turn your theme music down a little. For fuck’s sake, what a drama queen. There is zero way Obi-Wan did not sense this ridiculous display through the Force.

Vader puts an end to this conversation by slaying several of the clones. Well then. I guess Anakin felt like he might as well cap off this week by betraying and murdering every single last group of people in his life. Why should the clones get off scot-free, right? *bawls*

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I DO NOT LIKE YOUR CHOICES, YOU STUPID STUPID MAN. Just in case that wasn’t clear.

Recurring Theme: Hilarity Thy Name Is Star Wars

Ohhhhkay, so, as it turns out Vader’s here because he was looking for information. As you will recall, the whole reason he’s on THIS particular crime spree is to find a Jedi to kill and steal from. (What a guy.) With the clones out of his hair for the moment (HA HA JUST KIDDING ANAKIN’S BEAUTIFUL HAIR IS GONE OH I MADE MYSELF AND OBI-WAN SAD), he walks over to a console and then asks his helper droid to help him access the Jedi’s records. He needs access to the Order’s HR files because he’s looking for a particular sort of Jedi:

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Yes, here’s a new comical thing for us to talk about: the Barash Vow. So apparently, the people taking this vow were still Jedi, but they were Jedi who had been naughty and needed a time-out. They were required to go be by themselves and have nothing to do with the Order whatsoever.

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Well, that had to be pretty goddamn terrifying, yes? You sense the mass-murder of your people, but you can’t do anything about it? I’m sorry, but vow or no vow, I’d have been like HOLY SHIT and run for the hills.

Also, I laughed a lot at this:

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You’d think that Anakin would have learned a few lessons this week about not trying to take the easy way out of things, but whatever. I think we all know he’s a slow learner.

I Think Sidious Already Has One Of Those

Ding and Kicker reappear now and hurl a grenade thing at Vader, forcing him to hold it at bay with the Force. While they’ve got him cornered and unable to strike them, Ding decides that their best bet would be to take him prisoner.

They begin to speculate on all the great stuff they’ll get for taking custody of this mysterious Jedi they’ve found:

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…awwww. These guys. They point out that there’s nothing a Jedi can do to them while he’s trying to keep that grenade from exploding!

Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, A Little Touchy About That

This sets Vader off, and he sets out to prove them wrong, because JUST In case we’d forgotten:

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Oooh, Anakin can do two things at once with the Force now. I’m sooooo impressed GOD IT WAS TOTALLY ALL WORTH IT WASN’T IT.

He caps this off by crushing these guys’ windpipes, and then making a dramatic proclamation to nobody:

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…well, except that you can no longer brush your own hair or breathe without assistance. Also I bet you’re not as good at dancing as you used to be. Hmmph. (Look I know I’m being mean to him here BUT HE DESERVES IT. HE MADE PADME CRY. THEN HE MADE OBI-WAN CRY. THEN I CRIED.)

This Guy Could Have Come In Handy

He yells to his droid: ARE YOU DONE FINDING ME A JEDI EXILE YET OR WHAT, BECAUSE I AM GETTING A LIIIIIITTLE TIRED OF FENDING OFF THIS GRENADE AND KILLING PEOPLE HERE. He’s told that, yes — there IS a guy out there who took the Vow of Nonsense.

He’s told that they did find someone — it’s unlikely Anakin ever ran across him, as the guy’s been on his pilgrimage since before Qui-Gon kinda sorta kidnapped Anakin. Vader stalks out of the room, the grenade exploding behind him, as he learns more:

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And, what’s more, even when this guy WAS active in Jedi affairs, the Order didn’t use him for the usual stuff like diplomacy or coming to the aid of teenage warrior queens or having torrid romances with Yelling Mandalorians or lying to the electric company about how the check is totally in the mail. Nope — this guy had one purpose and one purpose only:

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HAHAHAHA OK, HOLD UP. First of all, LOOK AT THIS GUY. He looks like a SUPER BUFF WARRIOR SANTA CLAUS. Secondly, I love when the Jedi do that goofy thing where they make junk float around them. I would do this all the damn time if I was a Jedi. Thirdly, the Jedi had a dude they held on reserve JUST to fight? OH MY GOD, I know he took this stupid Vow and left town or whatever, but you’d THINK that the desperate nature of the Clone Wars would have prompted them to SEEK OUT THIS GUY AT SOME POINT IN THE LAST FEW YEARS. WHY DIDN’T THEY SEND THIS GUY TO KILL GRIEVOUS? Then Obi-Wan could have stayed home, and Anakin would still have 3 out of 4 limbs intact right now.

At any rate, it’s on this cliffhanger that this comic leaves us! Will Vader find Jedi Master Kris Kringle and have himself a little War on Christmas? Or will this guy prove a formidable foe, leaving Vader still weaponless (and probably looking at a pay cut)? We’ll find out next time — see you then!