Bringing this arc back in line with the rest of the series, the focus rests on the dogfight between Luke and Vader and Droids and Ochi vs. Sly Moore is a confused mush-mash of events.
Vader attempts to get Luke to land on Jekara but Luke toluene tail, luring Vader into the skies. Unfortunately for him his ship gets harpooned by one of the gangs but the ropes are severed by Vader in his TIE Advanced.
Then in a deviation from what we’ve seen in other arcs in this series, after Luke’s X-Wing is damaged and crashes, it is repaired by the Droid gang working for Sly Moore, other members of which are attacking Vader in his ship. With Luke’s ship back in action to fight returns to the sky.
Meanwhile, after a brief discourse with Bokku, Ochi approaches Sly Moore and the two engage in a pretty good fight which seen Ochi injured by Palpatine’s former aide. He notices the Hutt fleet approaching the Shuttle carrying Solo which subsequently explodes.
I can honestly say that I expected too much from this issue after that last two. Pak refrains from using lots of unnecessary flashbacks but gives us a serious deviation from the narrative from the mini series. The arrival of Sly Moore’s Droid gang feels like a pointless add-on that doesn’t actually move the story forward, it actually prolongs the story in a way that’s not needed at all.
In fact, other than the Ochi parts of the issue, this was incredibly disappointing. I feel that it’s a sorry state of affairs when a comic called ‘Darth Vader’ is actually better when the titular character isn’t involved (granted the irony of me saying this whilst the internet collectively complains about two episodes of ‘The Book of Boba Fett’ where Boba Fett is only on screen for a minute is not lost on me).
To say that I really didn’t like Ochi in the Exogol arc is putting it lightly, and nothing about the character has changed, but his is the more interesting character as well as the devious machinations of Sly Moore who’s own personal mission to kill Vader and prove herself to the Emperor is brutal and well played out.
The next (and last) issue of this arc really needs to do some heavy lifting to make it pop. After a pair of really strong issues, for the quality to drop faster than Luke’s X-Wing is a huge disappointment. I’ll hold out judgement until after next issue but I think that my time of buying the ‘Darth Vader’ series is coming to an end.
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