“If an item does not appear in our records, then it does not exist!”
We all remember when Jocasta Nu, Chief Librarian of the Jedi Archives, dismissed Obi-Wan Kenobi’s theory that the archives were possibly incomplete. You could tell by her reaction how much reverence she had for them. Now imagine if someone were to go beyond questioning the archives and instead threaten them. Yeah, I wouldn’t think any rational person would want to mess with her either. But Darth Vader isn’t what I’d describe as rational.
Vader’s story continues! Jocasta Nu, the Jedi Temple librarian, puts forth a desperate effort to gather and preserve whatever he can of the Jedi legacy after the purge. Vader and the Grand Inquisitor cannot let Jocasta succeed and are sent after her, as Palpatine views her as a particular threat. Her knowledge makes her almost a one-woman Jedi Order that must be stopped.
What’s the skinny?
Emperor Palpatine moves to secure his new Empire through strength of arms, destruction of the Jedi Order and The Force. Somewhere buried deep within the Jedi Temple is a secret so valuable that Palpatine is willing to save a Jedi’s life to secure it. Jocasta Nu, Chief Librarian of the Jedi Archives, is the keeper of the secret Palpatine desires and he’s ordered Darth Vader to take command of the Imperial Inquisitors and ensure she’s captured, alive. These orders are much to the chagrin of the Grand Inquisitor and the Imperial Troops who’ve been bred to hate the Jedi traitors.
While Darth Vader hunts for Jocasta Nu, he finds himself in the crosshairs of other hunters, and unlike him these ones don’t intend on taking its quarry alive. Vader’s new to the Empire at this point, so most people aren’t aware of his awesome powers, the depth of his rage and his total and utter ruthlessness. The individuals hunting Vader are about to find out the hard way just how dangerous the newest Sith Lord is.
What’s the catch?
Charles Soule comes pretty darn close to telling a perfect Star Wars story. While I feel the need to point out what I view as a storytelling misstep, please don’t mistake my criticism for dislike — this is an utterly fantastic story arc. That being said I have real trouble believing that someone as experienced and intelligent as Jocasta Nu would be foolish enough to return to Coruscant in a Jedi Star Fighter. The Empire is hunting down Jedi with a frenzied enthusiasm, Nu is on a mission that if successful could revive the Jedi Order and she comes to the most dangerous planet in the galaxy waving her teams flag for all to see. I struggle to see her making such a reckless choice.
Is it good?
We’ve seen Sith and Jedi meditate before. Anakin on Naboo, Vader in his meditation pod, Yoda guiding Luke on Dagobah, Luke guiding Rey on Ahch-To and countless other examples through comics, novels and so on. But we’ve never seen a visual representation of what the Force user is seeing within themselves, until now.
Giuseppe Camuncoli has outdone himself with his depiction of Vader meditating. There are two parts of the story where we get a special look at his mediations and both are absolutely incredible. On the outside we see Vader seated in his chair with this lightsaber ignited, suspended in air in front of him. On the inside we see Vader as a humanoid creature of red-black swirling patterns of rage and hate, seated cross-legged, floating in a hellish landscape that’s reminiscent of Mustafar. Red lightning crashes around him and Vader has all his limbs again, with the ones he lost in his transformation to a Sith bathed in white light. It’s almost as if they represent the good part of himself that was destroyed along with his hands and legs.
On the other side of the coin Charles Soule is just as astounding with his character work and valuable additions to the vast world of Star Wars lore. It’s particularly exciting to see the origins of Vader’s lightsaber, one of the most famous weapons in the Star Wars franchise. How many Jedi and rebels met their end courtesy of that weapon?
Through Jocasta we see several Sith and Jedi artifacts, but most notable is a weapon that to my knowledge has never been seen before in the Star Wars universe. I had always thought of Nu’s character is an obnoxious librarian that held no greater role than chastising Obi-Wan. But after reading Soule’s story I find myself admiring her bravery and sacrifice. It’s a real credit to the writer for being able to take a more or less forgotten character and turn them into a beacon of hope and hero of the Jedi Order in a six issue run.
Darth Vader’s story is known front to back by every Star Wars fan. So how much deeper can we really go into the meat and potatoes of a character who’s had six films devoted to his story? Apparently if your name is Charles Soule that isn’t a challenge to balk at.
“My friend, at times I think you might kill every being in the galaxy” -Emperor Palpatine to Darth Vader
At one point the Emperor has to stop Vader from killing an Imperial officer and imparts some words of wisdom on his apprentice. Vader’s rage, pain, focus on power and desire to kill essentially everything are bordering on dangerous grounds. The Emperor warns that if he isn’t careful, these emotions will soon come to control him. How screwed up do you need to be for Emperor Palpatine to be the one telling you to cool it with the evil stuff?
While Vader mildly tempers his out of control rage, it certainly doesn’t stop him from marching headlong into the dangerous situations he encounters in his hunt for Jedi. Which leads up to a deeper look at what drives him to so recklessly risk himself, when he has near limitless troops and underlings to risk in his stead.
Charles Soule takes the reader on a classic Star Wars adventure with Legacy’s End. Along the way you’ll find bounty hunters, clone troopers, Force powers, lightsaber battles, Inquisitors, plots within plots and more. Best of all we’re given a look at the origins of Vader’s lightsaber, Jedi lore and a look at seeds of the future Jedi Order. Soule pours rage, hate and pain down Vader’s throat and through Camuncoli’s incredible artwork, lets us look at what having all that inside you does to a man.