Return to Vader's Castle #3 Review

by Ellie J. on October 16, 2019

Author: Cavan Scott
Artist: Francesco Francevilla
Publisher: IDW Publishing

After an amazing #2, Return to Vader's Castle #3 is a bit of a disappointment. If you read my review for #2, you know I loved it; it had genuine twists and painted Tarkin as a true villain. #3 isn't like that at all. The first issue focused on Darth Maul, the second focused on Tarkin, and the third focuses on Asajj Ventress, Count Dooku's former Sith Assassin. Ventress could be a good focus for a villain/horror-centric story, but the story is set during possibly the worst possible time, so it really doesn't work.

If you're not familiar with Asajj Ventress, she appears in the Clone Wars TV show as a Sith assassin. She has a gradual redemption arc over the show's several seasons (and the novel, Dark Disciple, which is an adaption of unfinished episodes), and by the end, she's a mostly good character without all the evil qualities that could make for a good horror story. The reason this story doesn't work is because it's set towards the end of her redemption arc, when she's working as a bounty hunter. 

In the story, Ventress is hired to find and kill a creature that's killing the locals on Level 1313. She's attacked by it, and finds out that the creature is actually a brood of baby Sarlaacs, bred by the son of the crime lord that hired her. It's kind've a lame twist; you don't see it coming, and I mean that in a bad way; it's just really random. She kills the son, and escapes the wrath of his father. It's a fine story, but it's literally not a horror story, which is the whole point of the series. Meanwhile in the framing story, Thom Hudd escapes his shackles and runs from Vanee; he finds a schematic of the Castle, which he'll presumably use to escape. He ends up being stuck between Vanee and a duo of lightsaber-wielding training droids.

I'm really conflicted about this issue. On one hand, it's not a bad story. It just doesn't fit the premise of the series, and it feels largely unimportant. The best thing I can say about it is that the art by Francesco Francevilla continues to be really good. Overall, it was a pretty meh issue, though I'm still looking forward to the rest of the series. Hopefully the issues about Darth Vader and Jabba are better.

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