Darth Vader Annual 2 is a one-shot issue of the canon comic book series Star Wars: Darth Vader (2017). It was written by Chuck Wendig, illustrated by Leonard Kirk, and published on July 18, 2018 by Marvel Comics.
DARTH VADER intends for the Empire to hold no secrets for him — or from him. Which means it is time to dig into the pet project of GOVERNOR WILHUFF TARKIN and ORSON KRENNIC: the massive battle station being built on GEONOSIS. Opportunity arises when the project is hindered by sabotage from unknown forces. THE EMPEROR calls on his dark enforcer to root out the source of treachery that threatens to destabilize the Empire's galactic ascent.
Tarkin and Vader
Governor Wilhuff Tarkin travels with a contingent of Death troopers to the Imperial security complex at Citadel Tower on Scarif. An Imperial officer inquires about his visit but Tarkin responds that all he needs to know is that he has a meeting. Tarkin heads to the Scarif vault which is being occupied by Darth Vader, who does not have authorization to be there.
Vader does not care about Imperial protocol and says that he is interested in Project Stardust. Tarkin responds that he is not sanctioned to view the projects of the Tarkin Initiative. Vader retorts that the Force is all the authorization that he requires and tells the Governor not to deny its will. When Tarkin orders him to stand down, Vader replies that he is not a beast.
Tarkin responds that the Emperor begs to differ and tells Vader that he is his to do as he sees fit. Tarkin tells Vader that he can sense his anger, hatred, and homocidal thoughts. He asks Vader to consider how the Emperor would respond if he were to Force choke him. Tarkin contacts the Emperor via holoprojector. The Emperor tells Lord Vader that he does not recall sending him to Scarif.
Vader apologizes and says that he only sought to study the ways in which the Galactic Empire will extend its rule over the galaxy. The Emperor says that perhaps it is time for Lord Vader to know and orders him to serve Tarkin. He explains that there have been incidents of sabotage and tasks Vader with uncovering the treachery that disrupted Project Stardust's timeline. He tasks Vader with rooting it out and destroying it. He also warns Vader not to disappoint Tarkin since the Governor has full authority over him.
Trouble on Geonosis
Lord Vader travels on a shuttle to Geonosis where the unfinished Death Star is orbiting the planet. After being cleared for landing, Vader lands at an Imperial base where he is greeted by Commander Orson Krennic. Krennic is surprised to see Vader, who tells him that he is here to investigate sabotage. Just then, several explosives collapse a rocky arch on top of Vader's shuttle.
Vader and Krennic survived but the shuttle is buried under rubble and several Death troopers are injured. Vader blames saboteurs for the attack and requests a private meeting with Krennic. In Krennic's office, Krennic thinks that the rock incident was an assassination attempt by Tarkin, whom he fears is trying to take over the project. Krennic explains to Vader that Tarkin does not like Vader because the Sith Lord has the Emperor's ear. Krennic says that he is a builder and an architect while Tarkin is a politician.
Vader says that he is not here to entertain "baseless" accusations and asks Krennic about other instances of sabotage. Krennic recalls that an accident eight months ago killed two dozen Geonosians. Three months later, tests on the upgraded tractor beams went haywire, killing many Imperial stormtroopers. Imperial slicers determined that somebody had tempered with the code. Krennic adds that an O0-99 Imperial orbital load-lifter went rogue, killing at least one Geonosian before it was silenced by a TIE fighter. Krennic says that the recent assassination attempt shows they are both tangled in this. Vader vows to find the perpetrator and says that the truth will not escape him.
While reflecting on memories of the First Battle of Geonosis at the Petranaki Arena, Lord Vader is visited by Loyalty officer Sid Uddra. Based on her investigation, Uddra describes Tarkin as a manipulative autocrat and Krennic as a narcissist who have used deceit and death to reach their current positions. However, she believes that they are not behind the sabotage because they love the power that the Empire affords them.
Vader thinks the two men are dangerous, Uddra disagrees. Using a shah-tezh analogy, she explains that Tarkin and Krennic are trying to control the project rather than to destroy it. Their best bet is to forge ahead to victory and attempt to own that victory. Lord Vader asks Uddra to name a suspect and she suggests that he visit Galen Erso.
Uncovering a conspiracy
Darth Vader travels to investigate Galen Erso's office on Coruscant while Erso is at home. He reflects on Loyalty officer Uddra's briefing that Erso is a family man with a wife named Lyra and a daughter named Jyn Erso. Erso was a polymath and genius who was embroiled in a tug of war between Tarkin and Krennic. Krennic ultimately won, earning Erso's freedom and loyalty.
Uddra doesn't think that Erso is the saboteur but he is bothered that Erso is a pacifist. Vader dismisses pacifists as fools who are naive about the necessary reality that violence creates orders. Vader views a hologram of Erso and his family. Erso is based offworld on Coruscant while his wife is caring for their daughter Jyn while she researches crystals for him on Alpinn.
Acting on Uddra's intelligence that Erso receives shipments of Geonosian technology, the Sith Lord discovers several kyber crystals and a Geonosian egg or Ootheca. Returning to Geonosis, Vader meets with Krennic and smashes the Ootheca on his table. Vader recalls that the Geonosians are a servant species who are forbidden from breeding freely and asks why Erso has one.
Krennic explains that Erso receives shipments of Geonosian technology and blue prints for him to study. Krennic describes the egg as a rogue infestation. He thinks that the Geonosians sent the egg to Erso in order to enlist his help. Lord Vader demands a contingent of death troopers immediately.
Lord Vader leads a contingent of death troopers to the Korakanni Mound. The Imperials are attacked by a rogue Geonosian hive, who are armed with sonic blasters. Storming the nest, they find it inhabited by a rogue queen and her progeny. Armed with his lightsaber, Lord Vader kills several Geonosians. His Death troopers gun down several of the aliens. Charging the queen with unsanctioned breeding and sabotage, he hacks her to death with his lightsaber.
Later, Darth Vader meets with Governor Tarkin aboard the Carrion Spike, informing him that he has caught the saboteurs. Vader explains that he found evidence in the brood chamber and that the Geonosians sent an egg case to an Imperial scientist in the hope of winning him to their cause. Vader determines that the scientist was not complicit in their treachery.
Vader informs Tarkin that Imperial slicers have confirmed that the rogue Geonosian hive installed corrupted technology into production, ensuring accidents. They also located detonite charges whose accelerant configurations matched those found on the rubble that nearly killed him and Krennic. When Tarkin asks how he dealt with them, Lord Vader says that the Geonosians were "animals" and that he slaughtered them like animals; bringing back memories of Anakin Skywalker's slaughter of the Tusken Raiders for murdering his mother Shmi Skywalker.
Tarkin is pleased and asks if there is more to be done. Vader replies that the true scope of the Death Star project remains hidden for now and deduces that it is not merely a battle station but a planet killer. When Tarkin asks what gave it away, Vader says that he is aware of the kyber crystals, which can be weaponized. When Tarkin senses Vader's displeasure, the Sith Lord responds that he distrusts his reliance on this "technological aberration" and that he relies on the Force alone.
Tarkin reminds Vader that he is a "technological aberration" and thinks that Vader wants to be the Emperor's only "technological aberration." He thinks that Vader fears that the battle station would rob him of that title. When he asks Vader what he is, Lord Vader warns him not to invest too much of himself in the battle station since it may end up as his tomb. When Tarkin asks if that is a threat, Vader tells the Governor that it is merely a prediction.
On the run
Later, on the Outer Rim world of Alpinn, Lyra is excavating kyber crystals in a cave, hoping to obtain a nice specimen for her husband Galen. Her droid DD-9 senses an intruder which turns out to be an RA-7 protocol droid, who has come bearing a message for her. Lyra asks who sent the droid but it replies that is unimportant.
The droid tells her that she and her husband are working on a superweapon of "unparalleled magnitude" and that if she continues this work, the deaths of countless galactic citizens will be on her shoulders. The droid asks her to consider what her daughter Jyn would think of her before self-destructing.
Lyra tells Nari Sable to prepare the shuttle for departure. When Nari asks what is wrong, Lyra says that it is something big. While she doesn't know what it is, she says that she has to get Jyn and get to her husband.
Darth Vader Annual 2 overlaps with Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel, although the ending of the comic book seems to contradict elements of the novel. In Darth Vader Annual 2, Lyra Erso is eager to leave Alpinn to return to her husband, Galen, on Coruscant. However, before Lyra returns to Coruscant in Catalyst, she attends a party and visits the Western Reaches.
- UPC 759606083695; July 18, 2018; Marvel Comics
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