Review by Ian Keogh
Relatively early in his career Darth Vader is tasked by the Emperor with locating a lost starship commanded by Moff Tarkin’s son. As Tarkin distrusts Vader, he will be accompanied on the mission by Captain Shale, a close friend from his son’s graduating class.
Seeing Darth Vader as a man of action is novel, as is his fawning subordination when addressing the Emperor, yet it seems at first as if Haden Blackman has created an ordinary, linear story. There’s plenty of action over the opening chapters as Vader leads his troops in battle, all thrillingly drawn by Rick Leonardi, but even the disruptive presence of an ambitious religious leader does little to move the story beyond standard. However, at almost the midway point the political considerations come into play, and events become more interesting. The Emperor cares little for the loss of a single admiral and his starship, but greatly values the talents of Moff Tarkin, and fears the cruel application of those talents will be diminished by the loss of his son, who must therefore be located at all costs. Vader may view the priorities differently.
Leonardi’s action pages are excellent, well designed and never lacking for detail, and he’s also given the opportunity to draw Vader as few others have, and relishes that as well. Toward the end his art becomes less detailed, and that’s accompanied by the plot losing focus. Throughout Vader has brief interludes reminiscing about his past, which only have purpose in the final accounting, which is somewhat forced and coincidental given the memories began before they could have been implanted. This is also among revelations that the more astute readers will have figured out before they’re disclosed, which leaves this as a decent enough romp, but flawed.
Vader’s story continues in Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison, while Darth Vader and the Lost Command can now also be found within the Marvel Epic Collection Star Wars Legends: The Empire Volume One. It’s accompanied by tales of events occurring roughly simultaneously in other areas of the galaxy. The Lost Command has also been re-issued with each chapter packaged as an astonishingly expensive hardcover.