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Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison #3 Review5
by Sara 'Babs' Lima on
The latest issue proves that this is one title that all Star Wars fans should be reading.
For whatever reason (and I think I can probably guess), Darth Vader has been very trusting of Laurita Tohm -- a recent graduate of the Empire's military academy. The disfigured student is completely in awe of Vader as he assists Vader and Moff Trachta in smuggling and caring for the injured Palpatine -- which is where we left these characters at the end of the second issue. This is an important issue in this five-part arc -- it is here that the reader is introduced to the Jedi council, and it is at the very beginning of this issue that the reader learns of the secret Jedi prison, which is referenced in the title of the series.
I think that the scene with the holographic council members is a very important one; particularly the moment when a young Obi Wan begs the question of whether or not the Jedi Council will ever reveal the truth about the secret prison. That line is quickly followed by the question of how the galaxy will react the to the existence of such a prison. This is important because it allows the reader to question the "good" of the Jedi. How "good" can the order be if they are insisting that they maintain this secret prison, and continue to keep it hidden from the public eye. The conversation that ensues is incredibly interesting: members of the council debate back and forth whether keeping the secret prison is the right thing to do. Obi Wan argues that the Jedi are not Wardens, but defenders of peace and freedom whilst Yoda explains that war "changes everything." It's that last line from Yoda that really intrigued me and brought me out of the story a little bit; mainly because it is so familiar. I really did not expect writer Haden Blackman to get so political in this series. During war time, governments change their policies; they make exceptions for keeping secrets and doing things they wouldn't normally do under peaceful conditions, and Blackman uses that as a plot point in this series in a way that makes the reader question whether the Jedi Council are really actually the good guys in this story. Heroes don't keep secret prisons -- that's just dishonest; and that seems to be exactly what the Jedi council are doing. It's really a very interesting thought.
I think what's most impressive about this series is the way Blackman can convey a completely different perspective to the reader in such a short amount of time and in so few panels. In this scene alone he's established the Jedi Council as a less honest group, and made the Empire look like the victims. It had me scratching my head and looking at the characters and the scene in a completely different point of view.
I think it is also very interesting to see the parallels between Laurita Tohm's character, Darth Vader and Moff Trachta in this issue -- all three are disfigured and suffered horrible accidents, all three survived. These characters have a commonality, and that brings them together and also tears down the barriers between them. It's an interesting parallel to draw.
Honestly, there is absolutely nothing I did not love about this issue.
The things I really like about this issue (and this series in general) are the underlying themes. I think that those are what really give this book a serious kick -- it's what makes it interesting and entertaining. The central story, however, of Lord Vader's struggle to see Palpatine cured and the discovery of the Jedi Ghost Prison is very interesting. It's the perfect backdrop to tell a much deeper, more inviting tale.
I also want to stress that I really loved the art in this issue. It really helped to set the mood and tone of the book, and I found some panels to be absolutely breathtaking. If there's one book you should pick up this week, it's this one; particularly if you are a Star Wars fan.