Colleen’s Book Corner: Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith, Book 2: The Dying Light
Author: Charles Soule
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Published: November 2017-January 2018
Set set directly after RotS
This book continues to be beautiful. Giuseppe Camuncoli's illustrations are dynamic and stunning, bringing each character to distinct life. He's particularly good at scenes with water and anytime Anakin is in a meditative state. Applause also to the colorist on Vader's form while in meditation. What remains of Anakin's flesh body is wreathed in black and red, swirling patterns and designs etched in his skin. His lost limbs are presented as bright white, ghosts of their former selves. And he is surrounded by blue pearlescent butterflies, perhaps the bits of his light side trying to reassert itself. It's the most stunning visual representation I've ever seen of Anakin/Vader.
The Plot’s the Thing
Moving on to the plot of this collection, The Dying Light focuses on Vader training the Inquisitorial Squad, his group of malcontents. He's not very excited to be a teacher (and his skill set has altered slightly since he taught Ahsoka). He lobs off limbs and cuts out eyes with reckless abandon then tells his pupils to walk it off. He's an absolute DICK. Even the Grand Inquisitor, who is the epitome of assholes, thinks Vader goes too far. But the trainees are still thinking like Jedi and holding back when it comes to making the kill. They'll be completely fine killing people in Rebels, so Vader's training must have worked.
The main plot-line follows Jedi-on-the-run Jocasta Nu, desperate to start rebuilding the Jedi order. As librarian and keeper of the ancient Jedi secrets, she would have been an excellent candidate to restart the order...if she weren't the SW equivalent of Madame Pince. Old guy Palpy puts a hit out on old Jocasta, so we know her days are numbered. She infiltrates the Jedi headquarters to round out her already enormous holocron collection and spirit away the Force-sensitive youngling list, believing that it will be one of Palpy's chief quarries. But our good friend Sheev knows all the tricks. He wants Vader to save Jocasta so he can wrench secrets from her mind.
Jocasta Nu, a Hothead
Our girl Jocasta, you'd think she would be super stealthy about her mission to retrieve the damn CIA agent – I mean youngling – list but it's all for naught. She catches sight of the Grand Inquisitor pouring over her precious books and throwing one over his shoulder, and she rages out. I thought she would've had a green saber, the saber of a Jedi who values knowledge and spirituality, but Jocasta's is blue. She's a little more hot-headed than I would have hoped. And she tries to throw down with the Grand Inquisitor. And she still has the most precious list of kiddos in the galaxy ON HER PERSON! Our favorite Inquisitor wrecks poor ancient Jocasta, but Vader steps in to “save” her.
One of the most devastating parts of this arc is when Jocasta realizes who Vader is. Her horror and grief are cowed enough for her to grab a giant fucking kyber crystal-enabled rifle and almost defeat Vader. But it's not to be. The weapon melts her saber, and Vader has her. What comes after is just as difficult to read/see. I won't spoil those last bits, as there's both sorrow and hope to be found.
Titles, Titles, Titles
The title of this arc refers both to the dying of Anakin's L\light side nature as well as the fall of the light side itself. The rise of Palpy and his dark side users will last for two decades while Anakin anguishes in his hate and misery. While Jocasta and her reservoir of knowledge may seem like they're gone, it's important to remember that good can never really be extinguished, so long as there's someone left to search for it.
Recommendation: 8/10 Lightsabers