Darth Vader #3 + Doctor Aphra #9

Wednesday is up on us, once again, and for the third time in four weeks we’re graced with a multi-issue Star Wars comic book day! I’m really starting to wonder if quality isn’t suffering for all this quantity, though…or maybe I’ve just adapted a cynical lens whilst reading Star Wars comics lately…I suppose that’s possible, but unlikely – even when Star Wars disappoints me, I’m quick to forgive (though not necessarily forget as I do rip on Heir to the Jedi quite a bit)…anyway, there are two books to get to, so how ’bout I quit babbling and get on with it?!?!

Darth Vader #3
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So, going into this issue, I don’t actually expect Vader and Master Infil’a to fight. It’s an ongoing series, they’re in no hurry, they’re going to milk this encounter Dragonball-style. That said, let’s see what goes down:  we begin with Master Infil’a hovering crisscross applesauce while putting together what we find out are “padawan’s traps.” While he’s doing this, a protocol/MagnaGuard hybrid attacks him, under his orders, so he can practice splitting his concentration. While he’s doing this, lo and behold, Vader comes flying in. I guess this makes sense, he did recover the old master’s location after all. In an interesting turn of events, Infil’a sends the padawan traps at him…and he can’t avoid them…this played a little odd in my head seeing how Vader’s basically the best pilot ever (until Poe, of course), but whatever, I’ll go with it…anyway, his ship is damaged so he has to land. It’ll take his modified probe droid two days to fix it (so this battle will likely take two days). On his way up to Infil’a’s mountain retreat, a giant metal wall rises from the ground to block Vader’s way. From up on a ridge, Infil’a greets Vader and gets a Force choke in return. Being a strong master, though, he fights it off and Force pushes Vader back. Vader admits he was the one that killed the Jedi, and that he’s there to kill Infil’a, to which Infil’a replies, “as I hoped.” Master Infil’a makes a speech, and Vader begins his climb in earnest. The fist obstacle he encounters is flood gates being opened (not figuratively, literally). Vader gets knocked over by the force of the water, but then plays Force Moses and parts the sea. His next challenge is a bunch of pretty cool birds of prey that attack him on a small rock bridge. He handles them pretty easily, but, ah ha! Infil’a has the bridge rigged to blow…but tells his droid there will be no more traps…hmm, I guess I was wrong about their confrontation…oh well…so, Vader makes it to the top and attacked Infil’a with some rocks, knocking him back. The Dark Lord then grabs the lightsaber-ish weapon from Infil’a’s droid, pretty much tossing it about like a rag doll. And just like that, with Vader’s metallic left leg exposed, the two clash sabers. Infil’a denies that Vader could have destroyed the Jedi because he’s “weak,” and decides there must be a master that he’ll have to rid the galaxy of once he’s done with Vader. Which, as it turns out, doesn’t take him long. Vader’s exposed leg fails, leaving him crippled, and Infil’a Force pushes him from the mountain top to the river below…and thus ends the issue…how will Vader get out of this and defeat Infil’a? My guess is he’ll take fix himself with Infil’a’s droid, but we’ll wait and see…

Doctor Aphra #9
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Aphra sure does clean up nice…okay, so, here we are post-Screaming Citadel:  Aphra and crew are on a floating lab where she has Rur in some kind of containment device that doesn’t allow him to use his ability to take over technology. Cool. Then we cut to the title card for this arc:  “Star Wars Doctor Aphra and the Enormous Profit.” Cool. And to get this profit, it seems she’s going to sell Rur with his containment technology to the highest bidder…cue a scene we’ve seen before:  tons of degenerates and baddies all in one place to bid on something (I’m using a lot of colons in this post). Blah blah blah, this person and that person are there, there’s a cameo from Papa Toren and his fairies, and Aphra shows up to the party looking like an X-Men villain from the 90s (not wearing the nice-looking outfit she’s wearing on the cover, unfortunately)…she explains the deal, a droid says “technopathy is impossible” in an HK kinda way, she gives Rur minimum access, he takes over the droid, it tries to attack Aphra, Krrsantan shoots it…a Rodian with a cybernetic eye asks how she’s going to keep someone from just taking Rur. Aphra responds by opening up a bunch of automated guns, to which the Rodian responds with concern that she did so with an entity that can control technology in the vicinity. Fair concern, honestly. Aphra puts his fears to rest (sorta) by saying it’s an “example of how completely sure I am of my control system working.” Then Aphra tells them to talk among themselves and she’ll be back around later. As Aphra is going back to her room, 000 asks if he can kill anyone because he’s getting “bored.” Aphra says “only on express orders.” The sneaky murderbots take this as not necessarily meaning an express order from Aphra only, but any master…and the other master they have in mind is, of course, Darth Vader…dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn…and that’s the end of the issue…

So, so, so…what’d you think? I enjoyed the Darth Vader comic, though it’s another example of the “how’s he going to get out of this?” cliffhanger vs. Aphra’s “I wonder what’s going to happen?” cliffhanger. I think it’s safe to say Vader succeeds in his mission to acquire a lightsaber crystal, we just don’t know how…we are unsure, however, of what happens to Aphra…so, despite the Aphra issue being kind of dull, it does have the more compelling ending…which book did you like better? Are you on pins and needles to see what happens to Vader vs. Master Infil’a, or do you just kinda want to know what happens and move on? What about with Aphra? Are you worried she’s not going to make it out of her own series, or do you think she’ll manage to elude Vader again? Give the books a thorough second read and let me know what you think in the comments…or I’ll Force push a bunch of padawan traps at you the next time you’re driving down the freeway…TWS out.

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