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Darth Vader: Issue 36: Target Aphra Part II

What is it ? : We start with a flashback to Zee-Nine City Seven two weeks before, Gee Ninety is getting repaired and awakens to find himself surrounded by various droids also patched up.
Their leader, Ought-Six, the leader of the Droid Crush Pirates who once attacked Vader tells him they are preparing to take Vader down. Gee Ninety expresses doubt since Vader destroyed him, and all the other droids, before. But the groups leader is revealed to be Vader's tactical droid ZED-6-7, but Gee Ninety attacks him before being convinced that Zed has a plan to take advantage of Vaders current weakness.
He convinces Gee Ninety to attack Vader, and we flash forward to the current time where Vader uses the Zaly Shield to focus his power and blast Gee Ninety. Flashing back to the meeting, Zed reveals that this is only a distraction for their real attack, and he speaks to the other droids there to gather information on how Vader destroyed them to use against Vader, and we see that 0-0-0 and BT-1 are among this group, as well as a Jedi Training droid called Arex.
Zed discovers the Kyberite nature of the Zaly Shield, so gets droids to build themselves smaller reflective Kyberite shields. So when Vader releases his next, weaker, blast, they reflect it back to him. However Vader uses the Zaly shield to reflect the blast and destroy the shield droids while they are unprepared for a second attack.
In the flashback Zed speaks to Arex who reveals that he not only was destroyed by Vader, but his parts were used to repair Vaders cybernetics, so they use proximity for Arex to seize control of his old parts to hamper Vader and make him vulnerable.
But once again Vader counters this as soon as he realises whats happening by reversing the control and taking control of Arex and turning him on his fellow droids.
Finally Zed reveals his true plan, which was to gather the droids and deliver them to Vader, and 0-0-0 and BT-1 also turn on their fellow droids as they want to be on the winning side, before they steal a shuttle and flee the scene.
As all this chaos is going on, Aphra and Ochi are talking, they both know that Vader will kill them sometime, but Ochi thinks his usefulness will keep him alive for a while longer. Aphra has no such faith, so flees in her ship.
As the battle ends, Vader orders Zed and Ochi to repair the droids, and we see him marching off with the repaired Droids in formation behind him. . . .

High Points : The format of the issue is well done, with the planning in the flashback then revealing how it turned out, before Zed reveals that it was only a distraction for the next plan, and the next plan, and the next plan, and then finally his double cross as he remains loyal to Vader.

Low Points : However some of the plans are too easily defeated by Vader, so I can only assume that Zed had informed him of them before hand. The shields feel like they shouldn't have been defeated with one blast, and Arex's plan to hack Vaders cybernetics is extremely easily defeated.
I also have to question the fact that the deputy leader of the Empire has cybernetic parts retrieved from scrap droids? Even after all the times his implants have been hacked off and replaced? It feels like maintenance, or just plain old damage would have led to those parts being replaced long ago.
I also wonder about Aphra, this much hyped characters guest appearance has involved her taking Vader to a temple, watching while he breaks in and retrieves the shield, then she runs away.
I also thought the temple was a secret that no one knew about, so how did Zed know where to find it and take the droids to?

So what do you really think ? : An enjoyable enough issue, and one which plays with the flashback format that the series has used so often in an interesting way. It feels like a game of Blades in the Dark, where the plan gets defeated, so suddenly back in the planning stage, they planned something else, so the defeat was always part of the plan.

Final Words : I'm getting pretty confused now, did Vader always know he was going to lose his powers? And arranged Zed to get him a droid army? But knew where Aphra was going to take him to tell Zed to bring the army there? If he did, why did he need Aphra at all?
And why does he need this droid army?
What's going on, and how long remains before Return of the Jedi?

So many questions!

Score : 8/10

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