Target Vader #3 Review

by Dennis Keithly

Darth Vader catches up to Beilert Valance and his crew and the fight to take out the Dark Lord of the Sith rages on in Star Wars: Target Vader #3.

Warning: This article contains plot points for Star Wars: Target Vader #3.

Target Vader #3 Cover

Star Wars: Target Vader #3

Writer: Robbie Thompson |  Artist: Stefano Landini | Colorist: Neeraj Menon | Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna | Cover Artist: Nic Klein | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman | Editor: Mark Paniccia

Target Vader #3 continues Beilert Vallance’s mission to destroy the Dark Lord of the Sith. Of course, such things are never easy. They only get more complicated when Darth Vader has an informant in the take down crew. Vallance has a plan though, and with Darth Vader closing in, he finally has an opportunity to spring his trap.

Reflecting on the Past

Target Vader #3 commences with Vallance reflecting on his time in the Imperial Academy. This is a time that readers of Star Wars comics are familiar with from Han Solo: Imperial Cadet. During his time at the academy, Vallance was a model cadet, and he was frequently viewed as a mindless grunt in the service of the Empire. He was loyal to the Empire to a fault and served the Emperor with honor. Even when his TIE fighter was shot down during a training mission, Vallance remained dedicated. The Empire wouldn’t pay for his prosthetic limbs and implants, so he did it himself. When he was no longer able to fly a TIE fighter, he continued his service as a stormtrooper. What is even more intriguing is that Darth Vader once saved his life. Cornered by enemies on a distant world, Darth Vader rescued Vallance’s squad and lead them into battle. Vallance was already fiercely loyal to the Empire for saving his family, and Vader’s action could only have inspired more loyalty. So, what changed in the interim? That is still a mystery.

Vallance and Urrr'k

The Hunt Continues

In the present day, Vallance and his team continue the hunt for Vader. In the last issue, they left a trail for the Dark Lord to follow. Furthermore, Vallance has an informant on his team. Although scant clues have been left as to the informant’s identity, the future of these characters suggest that Dengar is the most likely suspect. Regardless, Darth Vader is closing in. Vallance knows this, and he is preparing a trap.

Vallance’s team selected a Hidden Hand fortress to spring their trap on Vader. The fortress they selected on Heva was stocked with a squadron of drone fighters. When the Empire arrives, Vallance takes his ship, the Broken Wing, with an escort of drone fighters into battle. He survives the initial onslaught from Vader and his wingmates, and then uses the drones to destroy the bridge of Vader’s Star Destroyer. This leaves Vader stranded on the surface of the planet. All that is left to do is kill Vader. Easy, right?

Additional Intrigue

During the course of Target Vader #3, a number of subplots are discussed. First, there is the Hidden Hand. This is the organization that hired Vallance to destroy Vader in the first place. In addition, Vader is hunting them down as well. They are supplying weapons to the Rebellion, and the Emperor is not pleased. Their bounty on Vader is not purely for the betterment of the galaxy. They need Vader off their scent. Vallance’s contact on Heva had past dealings with the organization. The Hidden Hand destroyed a rival gang of Pykes to gain the opportunity to buy the contact’s weapons. Business was never better for the contact after that. Although the Hidden Hand supplies weapons to the Rebellion, they aren’t the good guys. They seem more like the weapon dealers Rose Tico and DJ spoke of in The Last Jedi.

One of Vallance’s companions also has a colorful past. Urrr’k, the purported Tusken Raider in the crew, accompanied Vallance on the Broken Wing for the assault on Vader’s ship. In a moment of privacy as the battle commenced, Vallance told Urrr’k he didn’t have to speak Tusken when it was just the two of them. Vallance had figured out that Urrr’k was someone else in disguise because Tuskens never leave Tatooine. Urrr’k relents, and as he takes a position firing the ships cannons. As he takes aim at the approaching TIE fighters, Urrr’k prays, “May the Force be with us” as he prepares to open fire. This raises the possibility that Urrr’k is a former Jedi in hiding, a Force sensitive, or he might simply be someone that believed in the Force.

Vader Lands - Target Vader #3

Final Thoughts on Target Vader #3

Target Vader #3 is a fun issue. It is packed with action, but still delivers on story. There is room for development of Vallance’s backstory as well as room for allowing the primary story to unfold. In addition, Robbie Thompson dropped just enough hints about the Hidden Hand to keep readers intrigued. The story continues to feel like an underworld tale with hints of old west lawless thrown in. That tends to happen anytime bounty hunters are thrown. Overall, it is an entertaining issue worthy of the attention of the reader.

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