Friday, April 5, 2013

Star Wars: Darth Vader And The Ghost Prison

This was one of the darkest Star Wars stories I've ever come across.

It probably should have been an obvious assumption to make about a miniseries starring the Dark Lord of the Sith. Lots of death, lots of betrayal, secrets, Jedi not really sounding all too heroic...

The first issue is perhaps a little bit too much in the way of setup. Before Vader is even seen we are introduced to a character named Laurita Tohm, one of the Empire's first graduating officers. He's done a great job and is happy to offer his loyalty to the galaxy's newest superpower.

When Vader meets Tohm, there is a real Doctor Who-esque vibe to the scene. I had to wonder if it was deliberate. Tohm is our everyman, and he is about to go on a wild adventure with a mysterious and dangerous man. Does he even consider for a second that he might not go? Of course not. Vader shares some secrets with Tohm by reactivating some old holocrons stored in the abandoned Jedi Temple.

The mission that Vader takes Tohm on is to stop a threat that has emerged from within the Empire itself. The very man who trained the Empire's cadets wants to be the Emperor himself. Palapatine is poisoned; Coruscant is threatened, and Vader needs a solution to the problems.

That problem winds up getting solved with the help of the Ghost Prison. As a Jedi general in the Clone Wars, Anakin Skywalker had helped to fill the secret prison with many enemies of the Republic. Now the prisoners are the best chance that Darth Vader has for assembling a quick army to take care of the insurgence. It's a crazy plan maybe, but it sure does work. The prisoners are eager to do anything that will get them out of their cells, and defeating a rebellion is almost too easy for Vader and company.

Vader hates the Jedi for many reasons and the Ghost Prison is just one of them. His former masters locked people up with no real impetus to ever put people on trial. It was just a place to send people with no consequences. It was a place that was designed to be all but forgotten. All it took to run the facility was a single Jedi and a hundred droids.

Darth Vader is every bit as menacing as you remember him from the movies. He kills and kills and kills. It is all that he knows after all of the blood that was shed in the Clone Wars. He is loyal to the Emperor, but at all times he is looking out for his own best interests (see the story's shock ending to find out what I mean).

Although it has a slow opening chapter, the rest of Ghost Prison rolls along like any good Star Wars tale. Reading it all in one sitting, it really did seem like I was taking in a cool brand new SW movie.