Don’t doubt the librarian. Jocasta Nu makes a stand against the dark side in Darth Vader #9, “The Dying Light Part III.”
This review contains plot details for Darth Vader #9 – The Dying Light Part III.
Darth Vader #9 – The Dying Light Part III
Writer: Charles Soule | Pencils: Giuseppe Camuncoli | Inks: Danielee Orlandini | Colorist: David Curiel | Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna | Cover Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli & Francesco Mattina | Assistant Editor: Heather Antos | Editor: Jordan B. White
The hierarchy of the Empire is still settling. Readers learned in Darth Vader #8 that Vader is an unknown quantity in the days following Order 66. The Imperial Security Bureau permitted his presence at an investigation as a courtesy. If it weren’t for Emperor Palpatine’s gentle admonishment about killing every inferior being in the galaxy, Vader might have proven exactly who he was the officer in charge. In Darth Vader #9, “The Dying Light Part III”, Vader’s authority is a little more apparent. However, he and the ways of the Sith are still a mystery to the galaxy at large. Vader isn’t the only mystery though. Jocasta Nu, the Master Archivist of the Jedi Order, proves that she is full of surprises. The other chief character involved in the unfolding drama inside the Jedi archives is the Grand Inquisitor, and he too has his own mysteries. Charles Soule investigates them all in the pages of Darth Vader #9 – The Dying Light Part III.
Jocasta the Warrior
Jocasta Nu is famous for her brief appearance in Attack of the Clones. When the Jedi archives failed to reveal the location of Kamino to Obi-Wan, Jocasta displayed a healthy dose of Jedi arrogance. If the planet wasn’t in their records, then it didn’t exist. She appeared small, elderly, and frail. Most people wouldn’t consider her any type of threat. Those same people made the same mistake as Luke Skywalker and failed to learn the lesson of Yoda. The diminutive Jedi Master also appeared small and unassuming, but his appearance belied a power connection to the Force and prowess in battle.
Jocasta is anything but small and frail in this episode. She dominates the early phase of combat with the Grand Inquisitor. Her tactics make use of the ceiling, her lightsaber, and brute strength through the Force. Later, the fight turns to Darth Vader. In that fight, she doesn’t measure up nearly as well. However, she is resourceful. She utilizes her terrain, the library and the books within, and a secret lightsaber powered weapon to her advantage.
Finally, Jocasta is capable of making the tough decisions. When she realizes Darth Vader and the Grand Inquisitor are after the secrets of the Jedi Archives, she also realizes she is unlikely to prevail in combat. Therefore, she takes an action that seems extraordinary. She purges the archive. This action is contrary to the possessiveness she displayed with respect to her books in the prior issue.
The Bitterness of the Grand Inquisitor
Prior issues of Darth Vader made clear the bitterness with which the Grand Inquisitor held Jocasta Nu, the Jedi Council, and their control of the Jedi archives. In this issue, he reveals the depths of his disdain for them. Taken as a child, he never felt a brotherly or sisterly bond with his fellow-Jedi. The only thing the Jedi showed him was the light side of the Force. In the context of his rant, it is clear he wanted more. The void he felt is now filled by the dark side of the Force. Perhaps this is a commentary on the arrogance of the Jedi. And perhaps that message is that the Force itself is not enough. Beings need community, family, and more.
No Trust in the Dark Side
The Grand Inquisitor finally gets the better of Jocasta Nu. It was a moment he cherished. However, before he delivers the killing blow, Darth Vader intervenes. The Grand Inquisitor is naturally shocked. He and the Inquisitors, after all, are charged with hunting down and destroying the remaining Jedi. Vader, as per the Emperor’s commands, refuses to divulge his reasoning. After Vader commands the Grand Inquisitor to deactivate his blade, the Grand Inquisitor challenges Vader’s loyalties and suggests he deactivate his own blade as a sign of trust. Clearly, the Grand Inquisitor isn’t thinking like a Sith.
If nothing else, this scene demonstrates how much a mystery Vader still is. In prior issues of this series, Darth Vader brutally trained the Inquisitorious. The Grand Inquisitor and others chaffed under his methods. They saw how brutal he could be. Yet, the Grand Inquisitor still challenges Vader now.
Eventually, Vader finds himself stalking the Archives while hunting Jocasta. He comes across Jocasta’s droid assistant, Castor. With a bioscan, Castor does what no Jedi can through the Force – he identifies Darth Vader as Anakin Skywalker (and, yes, I know Ahoska figured it out, but she is the first to point out that she is no Jedi). Castor, like Jocasta and Vader, is more than meets the eye.
Vader immediately hurls his lightsaber at Castor when the droid challenges his right to enter the archive. Castor catches the blade and explains that he is also the “guardian-protector of one of the most sensitive areas of the Jedi temple.” His programming includes defense against any and all threats to security, including lightsaber attacks. Although he doesn’t survive the ensuing onslaught by Vader, he did manage a crippling attack on Vader’s right hand. Castor, like everyone else in this issue, was full of surprises.
Concluding Thoughts on Darth Vader #9 – The Dying Light Part III
It is difficult to capture the feeling of a Star Wars story. Plus, once a writer captures the elements that make a tale into a Star Wars story, it is difficult to introduce something new that readers haven’t seen or read before. Charles Soule succeeds brilliantly with “The Dying Light” story arc of Darth Vader. The newly minted Sith Lord displays the raw power for which he is known, but he is still new enough that he is far more vulnerable than readers are used to. Darth Vader #9 offers readers the opportunity to see Vader’s brute strength challenged in an unexpected manner. Furthermore, it is plausible within the Star Wars galaxy. Darth Vader is among the best Star Wars content available right now. Other stories would do well to follow its lead.