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Darth Vader – Black, White & Red: 2

What is it ? : So once again the main multipart story, along with two backup stories.

Hard Shutdown: part two
The man who has shutdown Vader systems talks about how his father who made Vaders suit and cybernetics continued his experimentation on him, and one day as his father was replacing his knuckles with durasteel he decided he would make it his lifes work to undo his fathers.
He takes Vader into an operating theatre where he explains that Vaders mind is still functioning so he can hear what is happening and why, and also experience the disassembly they are going to do to him as he is chained to an operating table. One of his crew picks up an energy chainsaw to begin hacking Vader apart but finds himself under Vaders control, and the man realises that Vader is using the Force to defend himself and attempts to shutdown Vaders mind, but cannot as chaos breaks out in the theatre.
The installed incinerators which they placed to destroy Vader if he should break out turn on his team and he flees the building telling his people outside to establish a perimeter outside Vaders control and his people question that if Vader is still unable to move and is chained to the table why are their people inside still screaming, if he somehow managed to do all that without lifting a finger.
To which he replies, "He's Darth Vader, he's exactly what my father built him to be, but so am I" . . .

The Endless Mercy
Vader and a team of Stormtroopers arrive at a transport vessel floating in space where they have heard that a scientist is working on biological weapons. They board and find signs of blood, and come under attack by dangerous creatures called Z'Rakkon. These are vicious predators, and manage to capture Vader and his sergeant, killing the other members of the squad. He awakens suspended in tendrils of goo in the Z'Rakkon nest stripped of his lightsaber and helmet which lie nearby. The sergeant tells him he would die for the Empire but he doesn't want to die like this, and Vader retrieving his lightsaber promises him that he will be avenged. Vader fights his way to the Z'Rakkon Queen which he discovers is the scientist who has spliced herself into the Queen to control the hive of Z'Rakkon. She recites how her crew became infested with the Z'Rakkon and she found a way of becoming the ultimate biological weapon, but resisting her attempts at making his mind join the hive he tells her that the ultimate biological weapon already exists, and with that he kills her and crashes the ship into a nearby planet, walking away from the wreckage as he says peace only exists in death, and the Dark Side shall always endure.

A young boy is harassed by a gang, the leader of which he taunts back as being illiterate, the the leader says that he'll make the boy understand power and damages the rickshaw the boy uses for a living, promising this is only the beginning. The boy repairs the rickshaw saying that all the bully has done is delay him getting home by a few minutes. But when he gets home it is on fire and the bully is walking away, but moments later the settlement comes under attack by Stormtroopers led by Vader who demands to know where the fugitive is. The boys mother pleads for them to leave him alone as he is an innocent child, and Vader looks down at the boy so similar to he was at that age and does leave him alone, but raises the rest of the settlement before leaving, thereby teaching the boy of the real use of power. . .

High Points : So the multipart story continues and introduces the main concept of this story, that Vader doesn't even need to be able to move to be horrifically dangerous, and there's some nice concepts in here, I really liked the fact that the mercenaries hired to deal with Vader are now taken aback by hearing their comrades screaming inside the building. It's also interesting to have the son of the scientist be physically an improved version of Vader, he's had all the implants that Vader has, but they've been refined and enhanced, but this still doesn't make him in any way Vaders equal.

The second story is kind of Vader vs Aliens, with the Z'Rakkon being the Xenomorphs down to their resin nests, hive structure and Queen. But a Scientist working against Vader to create the ultimate biological weapon, something Vader obviously considers himself to be, seems very similar to the main multipart story. And the ending where Vader crashes the ship onto the planet and then walks away from the wreckage seems a little too much over the top for a character which had been captured earlier in the story, he's either awesomely powerful or not.

And the final story, hints at something interesting, that Vader doesn't hurt the child, seeing himself, or maybe even his son in the boy, but that isn't explored any further than that, and the story just comes down to it being Vader is a bigger bully than an illiterate gang leader on a backwater planet, which doesn't seem worthwhile telling.

Low Points : This issue really doesn't have much interesting to say or tell, the first story is still difficult to get a firm grasp on, as this issue it only continues for a few pages. The Second story goes over much of the same ground as the first, but is Vader hacking up some tentacle xenomorphs, and the third story is confused and doesn't explore the one interesting theme it introduces.

So what do you really think ? : As mentioned above two of the stories seem to cover much of the same ground, and the third doesn't have much to say, so I'm really not impressed with this issue. The artwork remains nice, and the three colour styling is definitely interesting, especially in the second story which has a lot of blood and gore in it.

Final Words : So much of this series relies on the main multipart story, which indeed has some interesting concepts in it to explore, but it's so short in this issue that it doesn't take the story much further than, people retreat when Vader reveals that he doesn't need to move to use the Force and begins slaughtering them. The majority of the issue is the second story, and there's not much meat in that one, except that compared to the most dangerous predators in the galaxy, Vader is worse.


Score : 7.5/10

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