Historical Lesson Ends Up in a Tsunami in Marvel’s Star Wars: Darth Vader #14

Written by Charles Soule
Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli

As the Emperor’s grip tightens on the galaxy, no tolerance for rebellion can be afforded… especially not when being fomented by a surviving Jedi on Mon Cala.



When we left Mon Cala in the last issue, Vader had arrived with his Inquisitors to Dac City in search for the surviving Jedi, while the Empire staged the assassination of its own ambassador in order to allow Tarkin to start the invasion of the planet.



As this issue opens, the battle is raging. Mon Calamari are not an easy target, but those on the landing platform, facing Vader and his companions, aren’t very lucky. Vader believes that they should proceed to the palace where the king is. He recalls the time when he met the king Lee-Char (in some panels taken straight out of The Clone Wars episode “Prisoners”) and believes that the Mon Cala King would not have abandoned his city.



And he is right. Lee-Char is organizing the evacuation of his people from the surface cities to the underwater ones. He also has two possible responses to the invasion once his people are safe. One, diplomacy, fails almost immediately. His request for the Empire to withdraw its forces falls on the deaf ears of Tarkin. The Governor believes that the Empire has a knowledge of everything Mon Cala can throw at them and doesn’t take Lee-Char’s warning seriously.



At a secret location, the mysterious man Vader was looking for is revealed as Master Barr, a Jedi of the Iktochi species. He is surrounded by a group of young human fighters, and he recounts pretty much the entire history of Anakin Skywalker  to them, from his beginnings as Jedi prodigy to his fall to the Dark Side. Master Barr even acknowledges the Jedi’s inability to see the darkness hidden in their midst.


While his companions want to fight, Barr advises caution. He has another plan concocted with Lee-Char. In communication with the king, Barr tells him that the Force showed him that invasion of Mon Cala is just the beginning of the Empire’s plan for the galaxy: the iron fist will seize it all. But he also saw that Mon Calamari are at the center of the galaxy’s liberation. He urges Lee-Char to do what he must.



With the evacuation complete, Lee-Char leaves the defenses of Mon Cala in the hands of Ackbar and Raddus, while he implements his second plan to push back the Imperials. Before joining them, he wants to address his people once more from the throne room. But, before he can do that, Vader and the Inquisitors arrive, and he is given to the Ninth Sister who attempts to extract the location of the Jedi from him.



In orbit above the city, the Imperials are getting a strange signal from all over the planet. Down bellow, as the Ninth Sister tortures Lee-Char, we see enormous whale creatures jumping out and into the ocean all over the planet. The torture session is interrupted by the massive tsunami wave that not even the combined power of Vader and the Inquisitors can stop. The Tsunami washes away all the cities on the surface of the planet as well as the invading Imperial forces.



Tarkin wouldn’t be Tarkin if he’d give up that easily: he is still planning to continue with the invasion, but not before he dresses down the security officer who didn’t provide the information about this Mon Calamari ability. He tries to contact Vader on the surface to no avail.



By now, we all know this is a great comic run. But this particular arc is practically pushing and pulling us, backwards and forwards, through the history of Star Wars, while providing us with valuable insight into the characters. Vader’s memories, for example, not only remind us of what Lee-Char was like during the Clone Wars juxtaposing his more mature and experienced self in the present, but it’s also giving us more insight into this early Vader. He not only remembers himself and Padme in the past (something he claims he left behind him), but he remembers Lee-Char with respect. In the future, only a handful of people would be awarded this honor, but at this point in time, Vader is still incapable of separating his past, good experiences from what he feels and thinks in the present.


In true Jedi fashion, Master Barr has already started learning from the Jedi failure. He studied the purge to determine how it was possible that they failed so completely and concluded that they should have been looking at themselves. In the same vein, he is already making plans for defeating the Empire by surrounding himself with followers and finding an ally in Lee-Char. Still, and maybe because Luke will always be my Jedi, I couldn’t get rid of the impression that he was using Lee-Char to do his dirty work. But, at least, we know that his sight was true: the Empire will strengthen it’s hold on the galaxy and Mon Calamari will play a huge role in it’s liberation. Both of Lee-Char’s closest subordinates – Raddus and Ackbar – will play their roles in it.


In Tarkin’s portion of the story we see the foreshadowing of his (and the Empire’s) hubris. Confident that he knows everything he needs to know about Mon Cala, Tarkin looses a good portion of his forces. I wonder if Lee-Char has a few more surprises for him in store. We know where the king ends up: Leia and company are currently trying to save him from the imperial prison in the latest Star Wars comic. But, perhaps, and this is my fervent wish, we will see the take off of Profundity and the Mon Calamari Exodus Fleet in the following issues.



I have enjoyed Camuncoli‘s art from the first issue and that hasn’t changed. The action, emotions, all of it works great especially enhanced by David Curiel‘s colors, but there is something in the way he draws Vader and the Inquisitors that is both badass and super dramatic the way Star Wars can sometimes be. Simply put (read cheesy): it’s giving me life.

The duo of Soule and Camuncoli is giving us a great story: the myth, the characters, the adventure. What more could we wish for?


So, I am saying, hop into the Mon Cala waters via the Darth Vader comic; you will not be sorry. We can predict how some of the things that will happen (especially to Master Barr) and we know that some of the characters (Lee-Char, for example) will survive this conflict. I have a feeling someone should say to both Vader and Tarkin:



But, to know for sure, we will have to wait until…



Darth Vader #15

(W) Charles Soule, (A) Giuseppe Camuncoli


Darth Vader continues his mission to bring Mon Cala to heel! Vader goes in for some wet work in this brutal story!



Until then, this issue gets 7/10 stars.



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

Jelena Bidin (LadyMusashi)

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