(Dark Horse Comics, 2013)
Review by Jeremiah Kielman
Written by Tim Siedell
Artwork by Gabriel Guzman
Color Artwork by Michael Atiyeh
The Star Wars (SW) universe has always held a place in my, and I think every geek of a certain age with the good taste to prefer blasters over phasers, heart. And Dark Horse has always done Star Wars right. With the novels it’s hit or miss. Some authors are either writing for or they themselves are 5th graders. Others (I’m looking at you Karen Traviss) you need a dictionary every two pages to completely understand what’s going on. Dark Horse is more than likely gonna give you a well thought out story that retains some of the feel of the original movies. It’s like there some Force running through these books that makes the fans keep coming back for more.
This story; Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows is more reminiscent of the excellent clone novels by Karen Traviss. She is very much into Mandalorian history and culture. Probably because she was responsible for 90% of Mandalor it was her creation. Including the language, Mando. Her story is interesting one that involves the changing of SW canon for the first time in recent memory, so look it up for more details.
Our story begins when our hero, CT-5539, recalls a battle he fought in long ago. In this other life he was no farmer. He was a piece of a great machine of war. The Clone Army. They fought beside the Jedi. Died and watched the Jedi die as well. The galaxy is in awe of the Jedi and their near superhuman abilities. They look on them as flawless specimens, deserving of reverence and fear. Not so the clones. True the clones saw them do amazing things but they also were in a unique position to see them make mistakes. Mistakes that cost the lives of clone and Jedi alike.
The hero of our story saw more than he wanted. CT-5539 saw the callous way some Jedi view the clones who serve under their command. His general looked right at him as he lost his balance and fell from the transport they were in. All he needed to do was say something and his brothers could have saved him. Or he could have used the Force to keep him in the vessel. But no. He merely went back to the plans he was sharing with some other clones.
He knew as he fell what the Jedi really thought of the clones who served them. The cold truth was that he and all his brothers were thought of as disposable pieces of a great machine of war. He awoke alone, face down in the sand, abandoned by his general, forgotten by his brothers. He patched himself up as best he could and made his way towards civilization. And a small farm where he worked for the last few years.
His time as a farmer was largely uneventful except for the rumors of a new type of Jedi. A new type of warrior. One unlike any Jedi he had ever served under. No. Where the Jedi he served under played the part of the reluctant warrior, the guardians not the aggressors, this new fighter was ruthless, efficient. And he didn’t pretend to be a peaceful being, he was war and death and a ruthless hunter of Jedi. The one thing CT-5539 knew for sure was that he hated the Jedi.
If this Vader was hunting and killing the Jedi than that was where he needed to be too. This was a man he could follow. A true leader of men. He seemed to hate the Jedi as much as he himself did. So CT-5539 left the farm. Any debt he owed to the farmer was surely repaid by now. And that is where we leave him for the month, taking his first steps towards his destiny. His first steps towards Darth Vader and revenge.