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Darth Vader: Issue 13: War of the Bounty Hunters: Sound of Metal

What is it ? : Darth Vader sees red, as he carves his way through Bokku the Hutts Gamorrean guards, he thinks of Obi-Wan, of Palpatine, of Sly Moore and Mas Almeda, that they have all turned from seeing Vader as the chosen one, to putting their hopes in Luke. And he promised to find their hope and kill it.
Ochi of Bestoon warns Bokku that if he won't deal with Vader, Vader will deal with him, and Bokku yields, telling Vader that Han Solo was lost by Boba Fett. Although he resists telling too much, as that would be turning against his own people, but Ochi suggests that helping them would help increase his status by humiliating Jabba.
And Bokku tells them that a bounty hunter has been put onto the job, and he can take them to the hunter deep in Hutt space in his barge, as their shuttle would cause the hunter to go into hiding.
As they travel aboard Bokku's barge, he asks whether he'll be compensated, and when Vader tells him his service will be rewarded, Bokku questions whether Vader can be trusted, Ochi tells him that Vader has never lied to him, but he is Sith, so that must be considered. But to survive in this galaxy you just need to find the biggest monster and stand behind him, until you're big enough to take him out.
They arrive at Zee-Nine City Seven, a droid run pirate repair centre and data hub, run by the droid crush pirates, launching his Shuttle from the Barge, Vader strafes the ships here to stop anyone escaping. But the shuttles engines cut out and it crashes into the surface.
Bokku's crew informing him that a slicer just hacked into the shuttles systems and shut the systems down, which should be near impossible as Imperial systems are the most secure imaginable.
Under fire from the Droid Crush pirates, Vader and Ochi emerge from the crashed shuttle, only to be confronted by IG-88. IG-88 taunts Vader, mentioning how recently he was weakened by his own master, and that this will give the droid an advantage in the battle.
But as Vader easily deflects his attacks and approaches to defeat the bounty hunter, IG-88 presses a button on a device and seizes controls of Vader's cybernetic systems, putting his lightsaber to his own throat. Bokku's crew tells him that should be even more impossible, as Vader's armour and cybernetics should be even more impervious to attack.
Vader questions as to who gave IG-88 the codes to access his armour, but IG-88 refuses to tell, telling Vader that as long as he holds the remote he has the advantage here, but Vader reaches out with the force and takes the remote from IG-88, also grabbing IG-88's weapon and pointing it at the droids head before blowing the head free of the body.
As the Droid Crush Pirates swarm towards Vader before he can fully recover, Bokku orders his crew to bombard them and Vader with the ships weapons. Vader deflects the blast clearing the area around him, and causing the other droids to flee.
He then takes IG-88's hand, and uses it's id to unlock the data hub, revealing that IG-88 had been hired by the Crimson Dawn. He then confronts Bokku, who once again yields, telling Vader that he has now learned that Vader cannot be defeated, and Vader lets him live.
Meanwhile IG-88 returns to his employers on Coruscant to tell them Vader remains too powerful and he is abandoning the contract, and his employers are revealed to be a group headed by Sly Moore, who fears that Vader will replace the Emperor at some point and replace her and her group . . .

High Points : An interesting idea, but one that can only really be used once, having an attacker target not Vader but the technology which allows him to operate, shutting down his ship and seizing control of his cybernetics.
However the story easily turns things back in favour for Vader as he simply uses the force instead. It really gets the point across that not only is Vader physically very powerful, but he has incredible powers to fall back on as well.

And another interesting use of the flashbacks which are so key to this series, as Vader literally sees red as he thinks about everyone turning their attention from his as the chosen one to his son. It's a fascinating idea, that Vader who has been special for most of his life, would see everyone who once believed he was the Chosen One put their hopes into Luke, from Obi-Wan who originally trained him, through to Palpatine who wants to recruit him. Vader fears being cast aside for his younger, and possibly more capable son, and that fear is turning to anger and a desire to kill Luke and avoid this replacement.

Low Points : While I'm familiar with the Star Wars universe, and am aware that there are multiple copies of IG-88 around, the story doesn't help any readers which aren't aware of this fact, as it appears that IG-88 is defeated and his head removed, only for him to meet with Sly Moore only a couple of pages later. Some kind of identifier would have been useful, if the comic had called the two versions IG-88a and b for example, some way to let the reader know that while they're both IG-88's, they're not the same droid.

Also I'm not that impressed with IG-88 as a villain to face off against Vader, the slicing into his systems idea is interesting, and works with him being a technological opponent. But IG-88 isn't really a slicer, and is easily defeated by Vader even despite this massive aid given to him by Sly Moore.

So what do you really think ? : I have to say that I really quite like Bokku the Hutt, but he does make me laugh everytime I see him, the massive broadchested beefcake Hutt looks ridiculous and silly.

Final Words : If this is what War of the Bounty Hunters is going to be, Vader facing off against various Bounty Hunters from the movies and elsewhere, this is going to get boring quite quickly. Although I'm not sure why this is a War of the Bounty Hunters at all, unless the loss of Han Solo by Boba Fett is going to become more key as they fight over who gets to take him to Jabba for the reward?

Score : 8.5/10

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