Game of Cat and Mouse Begins in Marvel’s Star Wars: Target Vader #2
“THE PLAN” – THE HUNTER BECOMES THE HUNTED!
VALANCE and DENGAR track DARTH VADER while also seeking out the perfect weapon to kill the SITH LORD… which they’ll need as Vader turns the tables on the hunters and corners them! Both hunter and hunted uncover dark secrets behind the criminal syndicate known only as THE HIDDEN HAND.
Writen by Robbie Thompson
Art by Stefano Landini
Colors by Neeraj Menon
After the unexpected whirlwind that was the first issue and the creation of a Vader hunting team, this issue opens with Beilert Valance‘s flashback.
Valance‘s entire family were miners – both his grandfather and father were miners all their lives. Generations of his family were mining as slaves until they were liberated and Beilert was born as a free man.
Considering their liberators, it is no wonder that Beilert found his way into the Empire. But, his current hatred for it is also understandable, too. The new canon does a good job of explaining why people willingly served the Empire and Beilert is just the latest example. The galaxy is vast and chaotic and some places are much, much worse than the Empire. Remember Rae Sloane?
In the present, Valance destroys a group of Imperial ships. While Chio Fain tries to explain that jammed signals would disable communications of destroyed ships, Dengar counters that usually TIEs aren’t far from a star destroyer.
The hunters arrive on planet Arvina in the Outer Rim. Valance leaves Urrr’k behind because he doesn’t trust him. He, however trusts his aim. If anything goes wrong, he should shoot it.
They are there to meet Fetya, Besalisk weapons dealer. She appears to be Valance’s old friend who owes him a favor. And she also works for Hidden Hand for almost a year. They are unlike any syndicate and operate more like bounty hunters. Fetya was clever enough to realize that one of their buyers is from the Rebellion.
Fetya might owe Valance one, but her grudge against him is greater. The hunters are surrounded, but Beilert is not intimidated. Of course he’s not, since he left a breadcrumbs for Vader to follow. The Imperial star destroyer flattens Fetya’s place and gives our hunters a chance to escape.
Though our hunters are followed, Urrr’k does his job as a sniper. The hunters fight their way through both Fetya’s people and the Imperials and escape. Valance always intended for Vader to arrive and he did, which is unfortunate for Fetya and her men.
As the hunters flee into space and Vader finishes mopping up the planet, both groups believe they have an upper hand. Valance and company believe that Fetya’s records of Hidden Hand’s outpost would tell them exactly where Vader would be. Vader knows where they would think to keep the secret informant hidden among them. The game of cat and mouse has begun.
As I said in the beginning, the first issue of this mini series was a surprise. I know I was not the only one feeling that we were getting a little too much Vader and this comic was quite refreshing. I haven’t read Han Solo: Imperial Cadet so every character, except Vader and Dengar, was new to me. And like in the first issue, this story moves. While I am personally more into mystical side of Star Wars, Thompson’s characters captured my attention, Valance most of all. It’s a long way from the mines to the life of a bounty hunter and hopefully we will learn more about him with every issue. We know his mission is doomed, but what of his fate? He reminds me a bit of Eneb Ray though they are on different sides. I wonder if he will be luckier with Vader than Ray was with the Emperor.
I really liked Landini’s art coupled with Neeraj Menon’s colors. In some panels, I had a feeling I was looking at shots from Tatooine in the New Hope: endless desert and vast sky. It seems that Landini will continue to provide art for this comic.
While not as dynamic as the first, this is the solid issue that sets the board for the first direct confrontation of our hunters and Vader and we can expect some casualties in the process. Who do you think is Vader’s spy? I am side-eyeing Chio Fain. But, that is for the future. Right now…
TARGET VADER #2 GETS 7/10 STARS.