The threat of Vader’s wrath drives an officer to take desperate measures in Vader: Dark Visions #2.
This review contains plot points for Vader: Dark Visions #2.
Vader: Dark Visions #2
Story: Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum | Art: Brian Level | Colors: Jordan Boyd | Lettering: VC’s Joe Caramagna | Cover Artist: Greg Smallwood | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman | Editor: Mark Paniccia
Darth Vader’s intolerance for failure is legendary. In The Empire Strikes Back, at least two officers died for their shortcomings. Vader’s reputation for handling failure is the motivation behind Vader: Dark Visions #2. In this instance, owning a shortcoming might have been preferable to an attempt at a cover up. Darth Vader’s reputation for reacting to failure, and the threat thereof, proves to be just as dangerous, if not more so, than any perceived failure itself.
An Overall Success
Dark Visions #2 tells the story of Commander Tylux. At the time of this issue, Tylux oversaw an Imperial operation that devastated a Rebel base. However, a single Rebel spy got away. This immediately sets Tylux on edge. In Vader’s empire, failure is unacceptable and Vader’s harsh reaction to failure is well known. So, the Commander is understandably nervous even though the operation was a success.
Tylux initially sets aside his unease when one of his officers highlights the successes of the operation. The Rebel base was destroyed. The Empire suffered no casualties. Plus, the Rebels efforts in the sector would be severely hampered, and the Empire has the opportunity to pull plenty of intel from captured Rebel computers. These successes reassure Tylux that he has nothing to fear from Vader.
That is, Tylux was at ease until he received a communique from Coruscant. The Emperor was pleased with the outcome of their operation. In addition, Darth Vader would be arriving shortly to take custody of the captured Rebel spy. One problem: they didn’t capture the spy.
Fear as a Motivator
Tylux’s ease immediately evaporates. Capturing the escaped spy becomes paramount. Therefore, he pulls his ship out of the Imperial fleet against orders, sacrifices his entire wing of TIE fighters in pursuit, risks his ship in an asteroid field, and recklessly subjects his Star Destroyer to additional damage at the hands of Mynocks. The recklessness displayed in Dark Visions #2 is astounding.
What caused such irrational behavior? Tylux isn’t just aware of Vader’s reputation for punishing violence with death, he has seen it first hand. Years before, when he was just a lieutenant, Tylux witnessed Vader kill a room full of officers that failed him. So, he is determined to avoid Vader’s wrath at any cost.
The Cost of Vader’s Anger
Dark Visions #2 demonstrates why Vader’s anger is so destructive and costly for the Empire. In an Empire where no level of failure is tolerated, officers become desperate. Desperate men and women make foolish and dangerous choices. As much as Tylux failed, Vader’s wrath inspired Tylux’s spree of reckless behavior.
Incompetence is one thing, but simple failure is another. There is no evidence that Vader’s intolerance for any failure, no matter how large or small, actually improves the effectiveness of anyone in the Empire. It is quite the opposite in fact. In his desperation to save his own life, Tylux threw away the lives of every TIE fighter pilot on his Star Destroyer. None of them had previously failed. Then, Tylux ruined his ship in further pursuit of the spy.
By the time Vader caught up with Tylux in Dark Visions #2, Tylux’s failures multiplied due to his fear of the Dark Lord. A simple failure resulting in a demotion or reprimand would have cost the Empire far fewer resources.
Final Thoughts on Dark Visions #2
Dark Visions #2 is an incredible ride. This review hasn’t even touched on the most wild part of the issue yet. After Tylux’s pilots flush the Rebel spy away from a storm infested planet, the spy flies his U-Wing right into the gaping maw of an exogorth (the space slug). Tylux commanded his Star Destroyer to fly right in after it. The exogorth never stood a chance. However, the mynocks that infested the exogorth chewed up the Star Destroyer after it exited the remains of their former host.
The panel style is Dark Visions #2 is unique. Most Star Wars comics use the entire page. Dark Visions #2 employed a very stylized panel style. Many of the panels eschewed rectangles and squares in favor of trapezoids and parallelograms. The panels on one page were arranged in the shape of a Star Destroyer. The panels on another captured the shape of the asteroids in the field Tylux commanded his ship enter. Brian Level’s art beyond that was first rate. Tylux’s anxiety and fear drips off the page. The exogorth swallowing the Star Destroyer was amazing work.
Dark Visions #2 is a different type of story from the previous issue. Dark Visions #1 detailed the formation of a legend when Vader destroyed a monster threatening a world. This story is a different type of legend. It is the legend of Vader’s wrath and what it drives men to do. Both have been great, stand alone stories. The Dark Visions series has found a new way to grow the legend of Darth Vader using multiple perspectives.
Dennis Keithly is a graduate of the University of Missouri, North Texas attorney, husband, father of two, and co-host of Starships, Sabers, and Scoundrels. In addition to Star Wars, Dennis is a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and super heroes in general. When not engaged in fictional universes, Dennis is reading a good book or watching the NHL, football, or studying the NFL draft.