When we last left our courageous Rebel heroes, the once malevolent Col. Bircher revealed himself to be an Alliance agent, Prithi departed to explore her Force sensitivity, and Leia dropped the proverbial bomb of her recent engagement in order to secure a safe Haven for the Rebels. But Star Wars #13 isn’t about any of that.
This month, writer Brian Wood switches focus to an arc that has received fleeting attention over the last year. While Luke, Han, and company deal with the latest surprises to befall the Alliance, Darth Vader, fed up with being sidelined by the Emperor, sets out on his own clandestine crusade to plug the proverbial hole which allowed a Rebel agent to infiltrate the highest ranks of the Empire.
With the assistance of an elite team of six Stormtroopers and one lowly Ensign, Vader cuts a swath across Imperial-controlled space as he scours every possible corner of the Empire for information, not once caring how many bodies pile up in his wake. While even the most casual Star Wars fan is aware of Darth Vader’s ruthlessness, Brian Wood spends the entire issue bringing it to a new level, taking such things like the Dark Lord’s classic Force choke and putting a new spin on it.
New to the series is Facundo Percio, filling in for regular artist Carlos D’Anda. Percios’s style maintains the standard that loyal readers have come to expect, but still maintains his own unique style. Portraying Darth Vader’s unmoving visage on the page can be a challenge, but Percios tackles it well, using that cold, lifeless mask to further the intimidating presence of the character.
The series still has one more issue with which to play around with Vader’s quest for blood before we rejoin the Rebels with issue #15 in March. In the meantime, this mini-arc looks to be doing a fine job of laying the groundwork for the line from the famous opening crawl from The Empire Strikes Back, “The evil lord Darth Vader, obsessed with finding young Skywalker…” Be sure to see how many more officers get choked from across the room next month.
Star Wars #13 is available today from Dark Horse Comics!