Well, for what could be perceived as the equivalent of a librarian, Jedi archivist Jocasta Nu sure is getting a comeback. Writer Charles Soule has certainly given the elder Jedi an intriguing backstory, making her a target of both the Emperor and Darth Vader. Not a target to kill, but one to find, as she is, and has always been, the authority on all things relating to the Force. The Emperor is anxious to find her and gain her knowledge, but little do he and his apprentice know, Jocasta Nu has returned to Coruscant to reclaim her most important piece of information from the Jedi Temple.
Before we dig in here, I just have to say I’m loving this new Darth Vader series. You’ve heard me complain about Vader-overkill, but it’s amazing to me how effectively the character and his circumstances are used to tell the stories in this series so far. Sure, we have a lot of Vader, but this is a much different one than the Original Trilogy, monolithic terror. This is a Vader struggling to grasp his new power and place in the galaxy. The character does not at all demand our sympathy, but as I read through these issues, the naivety of the newly anointed Sith Lord is a flaw I never expected to recognize in him. Writer Charles Soule continues to expand upon a character that has been vastly covered, while still peeling back layers and giving fans something new to find in the void of Vader’s dark mask.
The issue opens with Palpatine giving Vader a lecture about his proclivities for dispatching Imperial officers as discipline. Palpatine admits that he himself wants to Force-choke every being in the galaxy because he hates them and feels superior, but reminds Vader that hate is a weapon Sith need to wield. The Sith don’t let hate control them, they use their hate to make them powerful. It’s a carefully worded lesson that was interesting to see, as I love these little glimpses we get into Palpatine’s early tutelage of his apprentice. The Emperor gently reminds him that if Vader had his way, the Empire would be nothing more than the two of them, reigning over corpses. I’m guessing Vader takes the subtle hint.
Jocasta Nu has made her way back to Coruscant and the Jedi Temple. The Jedi archivist has been revealed to be the most knowledgeable being in the galaxy when it comes to the Force (at least from what the Jedi have encountered). She spent years studying and cataloguing every artifact the Jedi found, and she’s returned to ensure her knowledge is going to be passed on. Jocasta revealed in the previous issue, she intends to start training the seeds of a new Jedi Order, but the first thing she needs are students. Jocasta Nu has returned to the Jedi Temple for the most precious secret she has: the location of every Force sensitive being in the galaxy the Jedi knew of, before Order 66.
As Jocasta makes her way through the desecrated temple, she is guided by her trusty droid, Beetoo, who is standing guard over her ship. He lets her know that the local security forces guarding the Temple has detected their presence. The security isn’t aware of Jedi infiltration, as they’d no doubt call for some Clone support. By the time they find Jocasta’s ship, it’s too late for them. Beetoo initiates the self-destruct, destroying the ship that would identify his master, and himself. Aside from losing her droid, this leaves Jocasta in a tricky spot. She’s stuck in the heart of the Empire, without a way out. Nevertheless, Jocasta Nu proceeds on her mission that will ensure the protection of those the Emperor and his minions would either corrupt or destroy.
As you can see, Jocasta Nu is not all rainbows and library books. She’s just itching for a reason to use her lightsaber when she comes across the Inquisitor pilfering her precious archive. Nu must see this as a true violation, millenniums of wisdom all carefully archived in painstaking detail, now being sifted through by the lowest form of Force-user. Jocasta knows the Inquisitor is only searching selfishly for knowledge that will help him hunt, destroy, or subjugate the ideals she holds. I can’t imagine how blood-boiling a sight it would be to see your life’s work being used against everything your hold good. Despite the temptation to whip out her lightsaber and go toe-to-toe with the Inquisitor, Jocasta Nu remains focused on the mission and presses forward.
Uh oh. After Beetoo’s suicide self-destruct took out the local security, an Imperial investigator arrives on the scene. As soon as there is any hint this explosion could be related to the Jedi, the investigator follows a new directive he’d just received prior to this assignment. If there’s any chance of a Jedi, you pick up your com link and get Darth Vader on the line.
Holy crap! I nearly stood up and started clapping when I realized what I was looking at. First off, this frame alone is striking enough, even if it wasn’t Star Wars related I’d be impressed and intrigued. Thanks to artist Giuseppe Camuncoli, inker Daniele Orlandini, and colorist David Curiel, we get a vivid look at Vader’s sense of himself in the Force. This is what Vader sees when he’s meditating!!! This blew me away! The suspended body above a dark, troubled sea in the center of a storm. The phantom limbs in a ghostly white. The troubled soul stirring in blood red (the same shade we’ve seen in almost every piece of marketing for The Last Jedi). Then, there are these little, butterfly-esque shapes of light, dancing around Vader. The threads of darkness swatting them away just as they get close enough to speak to what’s left of a once great man who should have saved the galaxy from darkness. There are so many ways to interpret this so I’ll stop and let you draw your own conclusions. I love it!
Vader is quickly snapped back to Coruscant when he’s informed a Jedi may be on Coruscant. He’s got a Sith blade burning a hole in his holster and he’s ready to use it against any opponent, worthy or unworthy. Despite Vader and Palpatine’s disparaging remarks about Jocasta’s lightsaber skills in the previous issue, something tells me she can handle herself just fine. Vader starts to make his way to confront the intruder.
Jocasta makes her way to a secret cache of Force relics under the Jedi Temple. It seems she was the only one who had access to it and it survived the assault by the storm troopers. Remember, this story takes place almost immediately after Revenge of the Sith, so Palpatine has yet to claim the Jedi Temple as his Imperial Palace. Something tells me this cache of Force relics is going to be what prompts him to move in, but for the moment, Jocasta Nu has returned to find them just as she left them.
After resisting the urge to choke the life out of a snooty Imperial investigator, Vader demonstrates to the rube his investigative abilities. Anakin Skywalker’s handy traits certainly weren’t lost in his fall to the Dark Side, as the Sith Lord he became has shown an aptitude for reconstructing objects by using the Force. Vader puts the debris of Jocasta’s ship back together to reveal to the team of investigators a Jedi has landed on Coruscant. Vader orders them to start searching Coruscant, everywhere EXCEPT the Jedi Temple. He’ll deal with that himself.
Jocasta leaves the cache to an uncertain fate. Hate to say it but….I have a bad feeling about this. We all know Palpatine makes the temple his lair and it seems highly unlikely to me that he wouldn’t notice a trove of Force treasures buried underneath it. If you remember your recent Star Wars comic history, Lando Calrissian stumbled upon a similar collection when he accidentally hijacked one of the Emperor’s personal ships. I don’t think this secret cache is going to be secret for very long.
On her way out of the temple, Jocasta eyes the Inquisitor, who is still sloppily scouring through anything he can get his hands on. When she sees him scoff at a book and toss it aside, well…
Looks like Jocasta Nu is gonna get her lightsaber dirty in the next issue! I can’t wait!
Wow, for a character who had less than a minute of screen time in Attack of the Clones and a few pop-ups in The Clone Wars, count me as a Jocasta Nu fan. I’m very happy series-writer Charles Soule took a character we know almost nothing about and gave her a very important roll in the preservation of the Jedi. This arc, “The Dying Light”, is just getting going and I’m already stirred by it. These first two issues have been very good and we are only just getting started. The writing and art are excellent, and most importantly, they compliment some great Star Wars storytelling.