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A traitorous uprising against the fledgling Galactic Empire leaves Emperor Palpatine close to death. Saving the Emperor—and the Empire—appears to be a lost cause… unless Vader can uncover the secrets of the Jedi Council and locate the mysterious “Ghost Prison.”

It’s time for another comic review and this time, I look back to the 5-part mini series Darth Vader and The Ghost Prison from Dark Horse Comics. It’s from 2012, takes place 19 years before A New Hope and is written by Haden Blackman with art by Agustin Alesson.

I only remembered the story because it was in a trade paperback of Star Wars Legends stories that I recently read. The “painted” look of the art works best for the several one-page action shots of Vader.

I’ll try to break this story down the best I can.

• Cadet Tohm—an Imperial recruit who is horribly scarred and has one arm
• Headmaster Gentis gives a rousing speech to the class
• Do the other really like Tohm or just feel sorry for the poor guy? He’s the only one who wasn’t part of the plan
• Vader’s nickname amongst Imperial Officers is “The Warlock”
• The story revolves around a coup by Imperial Officers and the few holdouts who choose to protect the Emperor
• Tohm’s a bit of an ass-kisser to whoever’s the most powerful
• The Emperor uses the Force to keep himself alive after a chemical weapons attack
• Trachta: Cyborg officer whom I’m pretty sure I’ve seen in another story
• A look into the Jedi Temple, abandoned after the Purge (at least in Legends)
• The coolest idea of the whole story: A prison where the Jedi sent all the Separatists POW’s. “The Prism,” which just sounds like somebody spelled “Prison” wrong on Microsoft Word and chose the cooler-sounding word
• The Jedi warden of the prison didn’t know the Jedi order ended
• Trachta beating a prisoner to death with no explanation
• 208 War Criminals!
• They explain some of the criminal’s backstories with a simple word balloon that I felt was pretty cool: “Captain Shonn Volta, Confederacy sniper, arrested by Kit Fisto and Anakin Skywalker before she could assassinate Senator Riyo Chuchi”
• Just being with Vader turns the impressionable/likeable Lieutenant into a murderer
• Several panels show characters holding their blasters sideways, gangsta-style
• A rather brutal, Sith lightning execution by the Emperor
• Back to that Lieutenant: he becomes more brutal and ends up betraying 99% of the convicts
• He is later killed by Vader who will brook no rivals. Kind of written off as a point of fact.
• Tohm became ruthless and brutal for no reason whatsoever.

Michael Davis
Michael F. Davis became obsessed with Star Wars after repeated viewings of The Empire Strikes Back on VHS and a 1983 viewing of Return of the Jedi in movie theaters. He also saw all the Special Editions in the theater, bought all the Shadows of the Empire tie-ins, and even took a bus trip to Maine to see The Phantom Menace. He is currently employed as a Librarian in the US but has always has his sights on a galaxy far, far, away….