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The Future of the Jedi is Preserved in Marvel’s Star Wars: Darth Vader #10

Written by Charles Soule
Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli

 

Vader’s showdown with Jocasta Nu comes to a startling conclusion! What secret information has the Jedi librarian risked her life to protect? And can she stop Vader from getting it?

 

 

SPOILERS AHEAD

 

 

 

When we left Jocasta Nu in the last issue, she had used her knowledge of the old Jedi Archives to confront Vader with a hidden weapon. As this issue opens, she is on the offensive. She doesn’t believe that Vader doesn‘t want her dead. Jocasta clearly learned Vader’s true identity from the vault droid, and she sees him as Palpatine’s tool, little better than a droid, set out to destroy the Light Side. But, that is impossible, as she claims, because the Force is eternal, and as long as there is life, there will be the Force. And the Force will find the way.

 

Even when Vader dismantles her weapon, Jocasta doesn’t give up. She attempts to blow him up, but manages only to blow a hole in the wall of the former Jedi temple, startling the Clone Troopers outside. With a lightsaber acquired from the archives, Jocasta faces the squadron of her former allies.

 

 

Eager to contain the Jedi “traitor”, the Clone Troopers on the ground confuse Vader for another Jedi, which earns a broken neck for their Commander and a short reprieve for Jocasta. However, that is not enough, and she is finally overwhelmed by their superior numbers.

 

 

Faced with Vader and his troops again, Jocasta chooses to trust the Force and end her life, but that choice is taken away from her by Vader. She is brought on board and searched. The only thing in her possession is a memory crystal containing the names of recently born Force sensitive children. One thing is for sure, you have to admire the way Jocasta faces Vader – she isn’t afraid, she calls him ‘boy’, which compared to her age, this newly created monster certainly is.

 

 

When she reveals to the troopers that they are actually working for Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight, Vader deals with it in a truly Vader way.

 

 

He tells Jocasta that their deaths were her doing. Jocasta demonstrates the arrogance of the Jedi again here (or perhaps she really doesn’t know why the Clone Troopers turned on the Jedi) as she tells him they chose their own path. When she inquires about her own destiny, Vader ignites his lightsaber, and Jocasta accepts her fate.

 

Vader crushes the ship and informs Palpatine that Jocasta died in the attempt to escape. When Palpatine asks about what Vader learned from her, Vader destroys the memory crystal and says that he learned nothing.

 

 

But Jocasta’s words to Vader echo through the remaining panels: The Force is eternal. It cannot be ended, it cannot be stopped, not so long as life exists. It will find its vessels. It always does. It already has – you know this. There are others, waiting, out in the galaxy. When the time is right… the Jedi will rise again.

 

As her words play over the panels, we see her friend Gar at a secret location watching over the holocrons and Jedi knowledge they had gathered together, waiting for her return. When he is certain that she is not coming back, he destroys the entrance, sealing the secret archive within. But years later, when the time was right, the archives were uncovered, by a newly risen Jedi.

 

 

Let’s talk first about the star of this story arc (and that certainly wasn’t Darth Vader). Jocasta Nu gained notoriety over the years among the Star Wars fans as an example of Jedi arrogance and hubris: “If an item does not appear in our records, it does not exist.” (Attack of the Clones). Many of us, myself included, thought that she made a dumb decision to confront Inquisitor, thus attracting Vader’s attention. But, over the last two issues Jocasta proved that she was a Jedi through and through. Knowing that she wasn’t strong enough to confront Vader, she used her knowledge to her advantage, and even when she lost it, she was fearless. Anyone who calls Vader “boy” to his face is a badass in my book. Additionally, her trust in the Force is unconditional, even in the face of defeat and death. She went out like a champ, and I am glad that Palpatine didn’t get to get his dirty hands on her.

 

Speaking of which, Vader’s decision to destroy the memory crystal raises the question: did he do it to secure his future next to his master or did he do it to protect the children? It’s hard to say with this early Vader (and it’s hard to read the feelings behind the mask – even with Camuncoli’s expressive art). But, either way, you have to wonder if some of what Jocasta said to him penetrated through to Anakin beneath.

 

But, the most important thing this issue gives us are Jocasta’s words. They resonate through time, from these early Empire days, to Skywalker’s new Jedi, and then right to this new era we were just introduced to in The Last Jedi. When the new Jedi were killed in Luke’s training temple and he cut himself off from the Force, when the Dark started spreading across the galaxy once again, the Force found a way to restore balance. The Force found Rey.

 

gif by damnkylo.tumblr.com

 

I have praised this new Darth Vader run before, but it has to be said again: Soule does an exceptional job. Not only is he giving us an insight to the early days of Vader, but in this issue alone he managed to thematically connect three eras of Star Wars. I enjoy Camunculi’s art as well, the characters are recognizable enough, yet stylized in a way that never takes you out of the story. He does amazing things within limitations that Vader’s mask presents to the artist, doing wonders with reflections, cape and posture to achieve expressiveness.

 

What this duo will give us in the future, remains to be seen, but I highly recommend this arc to new readers. Until then, have a glass of your choice in memory of Jocasta Nu.

 

 

This issue gets 8/10 STARS.

 

 

NEXT TIME:

 

 

Written by Charles Soule

Art and Cover Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli

 

An expensive bounty has been put on Vader’s head! Who would dare try to challenge the Dark Lord’s place in the Empire?

 

 

Staff member, comic and book reviewer. Cheers for the Light Side, but would drink with Grand Admirals.

 

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