This story, titled Technological Terror, fills in a very important gap in Star Wars history. This issue ties together a few areas of Star Wars canon, in particular Rogue One and Rebels.
Mike Deodato Jr and Arif Prianto handle the cover duties on this issue. Darth Vader stands in the forefront, lightsaber drawn with a squad of Death Troopers and the spires of Geonosis behind them. The frame of the Death Star looms in the sky in the top corner. Vader looks imposing and dangerous, like a walking deterrent to treason. The light of his saber reflects beautifully off his helmet and armor. Vader himself is what draws the eye in, as he should.
The interior of this book doesn’t feel as sharp as some of the recent Star Wars books I’ve looked at(Star Wars #50 and Thrawn #6), but still sets a solid atmosphere for the story. Leonard Kirk does a good job creating an atmosphere of fear and under-the-surface menace that pervades the Empire. An Empire where a mistake could bring Vader to your doorstep, or worse. Everything mechanical looks great in this issue, especially the shuttles. All told the art is solid. Not breathtaking, but it gets the job done and doesn’t take anything away from the issue.
This is were this issue really shines. Chuck Wendig writes this issue that explores Project Stardust, in its earlier days on Geonosis. Vader is sent to the site of the Clone Wars beginning to stop saboteurs from further delaying the project. The writing on this is beautiful, from the portrayals of Tarkin and Krennic, to Vader himself. Tarkin is cruel and aloof, completely in command of every situation. Krennic is as he was portrayed in Rogue One. A brilliant scientist, pre-occupied with power and ensuring he gets the recognition he feels is his.
There is a brief scene in the arena where Vader is brought back to the last time he was on Geonosis, and we can see that even in this dark time, there are still vestiges of Anakin Skywalker. It doesn’t last though, as Vader’s cold savagery only allows his memories a brief moment.
Once Vader gets to the bottom of who the saboteurs are, he is utterly ruthless. What we witness next is what was alluded to in the third season of Rebels. How this is all tied together is brilliantly done.
This issue is definitely worth picking up. While the art isn’t perfect, the cover is solid, and the story is amazing. Really, this is the book that even if you despised the art(which you shouldn’t), it would be worth it for the story!