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Darth Vader: Issue 41: Dark Droids: More Machine Than Man

What is it ? : Vader has given into the Scourge, accepting it's control of his cybernetics, but then he separates that infection from the hive mind. Revealing that he wanted access to the code it is using, and he travels to the planet of Mirgoshirax to create his own Spider Droids to spread the infection, but this time under his control.
While he is working, the Empire tracks him down and sends forces against him, but he seizes control of their droids, and turns them on the forces. Showing that not only can he control the droids, but seeing through their eyes he can manipulate the force through them, spreading his control further.
Scourge forces arrive, and the Scourge tells him this is the power that it wanted when it tried to take control of him, but it never imagined that it could be used through the droids. It tells him that although he has control of a number of droids, he is only a man and can only control a few at a time, where it can control millions.
Vader tells it, that Man or Machine doesn't matter as he is Vader.
The Scourge continues to try to get him to give in, telling him he has always been a tool, but together they can beat Palpatine, but Vader lashes out in an explosion which destroys numerous droids.
Meanwhile three figures are watching remotely on viewscreens, they discuss that Vader claims to be working for order, but creates chaos, but they aren't sure if that is him or his master. The figures are reveals, and one of them is Governor Tauntaza, who wonders if Vader could really bring order. But her colleagues tells her that the Schism Imperial will bring order, but the question is do they recruit Vader or kill him. . . .

High Points : The idea of Vader being linked to a network of droids, and being able to use the Force through them makes sense, we saw in Empire Strikes Back that he could use the force through a communications screen. And him remotely controlling a force of droids, and being able to project his power through them is an interesting idea which expands upon this.
And we're back to Vader using the skills he displayed as Anakin, but we rarely see him use as a Sith Lord, this time the boy that built C-3PO hacks the Scourge and builds his own version of it, this has long been one of the nice features of this comic in showing us Vader still having the same capabilities he did when he was younger.

Low Points : It's really only one long pointless fight, the Scourge has millions of droids across the galaxy, so Vader smashing a few of them is unimportant, and the Scourge attempting to convince Vader to join it also doesn't work very well as it's not coming up with any decent arguments. We see why controlling Vader gives the Scourge an advantage, that it would gain access to the Force, another tool it could use. And now he has shown it that it could use this ability through any of it's droid hosts, it makes it even more interesting to the Scourge. But we don't really see it offering anything to Vader which would make joining it useful, he has the power it wants, and using that power it could perhaps beat Palpatine, so achieve Vaders goal? It's pretty tenuous.

So what do you really think ? : This feels like the end of the Dark Droids storyline, we get a big battle which Vader wins, and the introduction of yet another problem for Vader to deal with, the return of Tauntaza, and she's connected with an insurgency within the Empire, the Schism Imperial. But as mentioned, the fight is completely irrelevant in beating the Scourge and doesn't give us any closure. Also this is becoming a habit of this series, where an enemy is beaten, goes away and then returns, believing this time they're a credible threat. We saw this before with Sabe and the group she headed trying to avenge Padme, they were beaten, came back with a new plan, and were beaten again.

Final Words : The amount of threats the Empire is facing makes it seem as if the Rebellion is completely pointless. We've not seen Rebel forces do almost anything in this series, but we've seen remnants of the Confederacy rise up once again, the Scourge, Crimson Dawn, and now the Schism Imperial, it's almost making me feel sorry for the Empire as they're really coming across as the underdog here, with so many enemies.

Score : 7.5/10

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