Issue #2 opens with a U-Wing narrowly escaping as a Star Destroyer and accompanying TIE squadron has laid waste to a rebel base. By most accounts, it was a great victory for the Empire. An entire rebel base was destroyed without even taking a single casualty. But there’s the pesky matter of that rebel spy who escaped and may or may not have had potentially damaging intelligence on the Empire. Upon hearing the news that Lord Vader himself is en route to question the spy, Commander Tylux goes full PTSD, remembering how a prior failure led to young Lieutenant Tylux becoming a Commander in the first place. Spoiler alert, throat hugs were involved.
Tylux goes apeshit to say the least. He immediately orders the Ship to pursue the rebel, even though no one really knows where he is headed. Commander Sweaty Palms has his crew hyper jumping through asteroid belts, ordering TIE squadrons into sandstorms; the works. The entire sequence is amazing. You can really feel the panic in this man as he desperately tries to capture this rebel before he must face judgement for his failure. We’ve seen the fear that Vader instills in his officers before (“you have failed me for the last time, Admiral”), but never on this scale, and never this in-depth.
Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum again writes the story for this issue and its obvious. While Vader is most certainly the central theme, these stories are more focused on his effect on the people and places around him. In other words, in most Vader stories he is the stone splashing in the water, but these are more about the ripples. Another cool thing that Hopeless has done through the first two is to give us a story both about someone who knows Vader and someone who has never heard of him. The juxtaposition of these two perspectives really adds to the overall enjoyment of the anthology thus far.
While Hopeless is writing the stories for this Vader run, the artists seem to be changing from one issue to the next. While the first issue had a modern sci-fi look, this issue had a 1940’s Captain America feel to it. I think this also helps to ensure that the reader is getting a new and independent experience for each issue. I dug it. Another Home Run for Vader Dark Visions.