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Darth Vader: Issue 31: The Tambor Gambit



What is it ? : The thinks back to when he first turned to the Dark Side, when he offered Amidala a chance to be at his side and she rejected the path he was taking, and he thinks of the Handmaidens of Amidala as being a chance to try again.
The Handmaidens are accompanying him to rescue Sabe, and point out to ZED-6-7 that they are not serving him, but Zed tells them that this may not be Vaders point of view. Vader gets Sly Moore to speak to them, and she points out that the things they desire, be it technological advancement or just safety are things only Vader can offer them now. Vader then uses the force to hurl them into the path of the oncoming army of Jul Tambor, which they defeat, and Sly Moore tells them is a demonstration of what they are capable of if pushed.
Jul Tambor observes along with a caged Sabe, and decides to fight Vader on his own level by targeting civilians to force the Empire into an ambush to protect them.
On hearing this, the Handmaidens rush to protect the innocent, and realising they cannot win alone call on Vader, who is not interested in the civilians, but helps to demonstrate the power he can offer them.
Reaching Jul Tambors ship, he has rebuilt Gee-Ninety, who Vader has defeated before, but the droid unleashes smaller droids which electrify Vaders armour which Tambor slips away. The Handmaidens help Vader and they reach Sabe's cage, and while the other Handmaidens offer to help her escape, Vader holds them against the wall using the force and offers her the chance to stop Tambor before he hurts any other innocents, asking her if she would run while he slaughters innocents, or would she join him and have order . . . .

High Points : The ending of the issue is strong, with it being a fair offer that Vader is making Sabe, and one which is actually enticing for her characters. Should she flee with the other handmaidens, getting away from the evil temptations of Vader, but that decision will lead to the deaths of many innocents. Or should she join Vader, as mentioned, an obviously evil choice, but one which will protect the weak and save lives.
The other Handmaidens while seemingly being offered a choice by Vader, really only seem to be here to help ensnare Sabe.

Low Points : The problems with this whole situation is the way Tambor was introduced a couple of issues ago. He wanted the best for his people, seemingly to redeem his family name. But now he is only too happy to send his forces to attack and kill civilians just to lure enemy forces into a trap. He seems to have slipped into evil actions extremely easily.

So what do you really think ? : I'm having difficulty caring about Sabe. Vader is using her as a Padme substitute as she resembles his wife. But this is only very weakly being used to explore Vaders mind, which would be far more interesting, whereas they're spending a lot of time on the motivations and thoughts of the various Handmaidens, who the comic seemed only too happy to kill off a number of issues ago, only to resurrect them here.

Final Words : I know I'm stuck on repeat on this comic series, but all of this is happening between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, there's a lot of storyline, and a lot of pointless diversions happening in what seemed originally to be a nice exploration of Vaders journey from total Villain in Empire, to ready for redemption in Return.
Even the cool action, with Tambors forces made up from ex-seperatist and ex-republic equipment, Battle Droids backed up with LAAT/i's, and Vader slashing at Starships with his lightsaber from upon a speederbike, is now getting a little dull and repetitive.

Score : 7/10






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