After a stellar opening issue, writer Tim Siedell continues the story of clone trooper CT-5539’s journey to find and serve under the legendary Dark Lord of the Sith. Is it good?
Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #2 (Dark Horse Comics)
This issue has a very non-linear structure, which helped to keep things interesting, but also made it a bit difficult to follow.
We start with CT-5539 returning from the wilderness into civilization with a new haircut to go along with his new outlook on life. While observing a captured Jedi, he flashes back to his time spent trying to survive after being left for dead in the desert. It was during those days that he came up with a real name for himself: Hock.
This causes him to flash back (again) to his time on Kamino, where Hock met who he claimed was the “only” other clone to have ever given himself a name. If you’re a continuity stickler like me, that phrase probably caused the hairs on your arms to stand up. But fear not—in honor of the Star Wars franchise soon moving over to Marvel, we can totally “No Prize” this.
In issue #1, Hock was clearly shown in Phase One clone trooper armor when he was shot out of the Republic Gunship. That means that he easily could have been serving in the Galactic Army before the clones got all individualistic and started naming themselves.
But back to the story… the clone Hock was talking about had named himself Kaddack. He was the best clone trooper any of them had ever seen, but he also had a penchant for murdering his superior officers. This caused him to be placed into a cell for future study/plot use, where he carved up his face so that he wouldn’t look like his fellow clones…and eventually escaped.
“BABY I WAS BORN THIS WAY!”
After that lovely trip down memory lane, we flash back to Hock, who has now grown long hair, being discovered by the farmer from the first issue. A quick cut later shows us that Hock has rejoined the Imperial Army and is decked out in Phase Two clone armor (AH-HA!)
I do wish that we’d seen a bit more of the process involved in Hock “coming in from the cold” to his superiors, but Siedell makes up for this omission with Hock kicking all sorts of ass on the battle field.
It begins with him decorating his shiny new clone helmet with a red line that resembles the scar over his eye.
“Why’s the new guy being such a hipster?”
We’re next treated to Hock going full on beast mode through multiple engagements in an attempt to impress Darth Vader, who manages to live up to the high expectation the stories about him had created.
Hock’s battlefield prowess and ability to improvise causes Vader to promote Hock to the rank of Commander. This seems like a blessing, but Hock’s words at the end imply that his new responsibilities would soon result in some unforeseen consequences.
Is It Good?
If you’re not careful, the non-linear structure of this issue could throw you bit. But despite a few chronological loops, the overall story is still a lot of fun and has me geared up for the next one.
I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of how Hock reintegrated himself into the Empire, but that doesn’t seem to be the story that Siedell wants to tell. Fortunately, the tale that is being presented has plenty to keep the reader occupied both with enjoyment along with questions. And while there’s no doubt that Kaddak will end up playing a major part in all this, I’m much more interested in Hock’s shifting tone from worship to wariness towards Darth Vader.
This issue also provides us with much more action than the last time around, all of which is gorgeously rendered by Gabriel Guzman. It all comes together to create a package that’s not quite as exceptional as the first issue, but more than enough to carry the momentum towards ‘Cry of Shadows’ becoming a classic chapter in Expanded Universe lore.
Want to learn more about Siedell’s vision of the Star Wars universe and Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows? Check out our very own interview with Tim Siedell.