Written by Eric Onkenhout
Former Sith, Asajj Ventress is hired for a bounty that takes eight arms to hold in Star Wars: Return to Vader’s Castle #3.
This article contains plot points for Return to Vader’s Castle #3 Bop Sh-bop, Little Sarlacc Horror.
Return to Vader’s Castle #3: Bop Sh-bop, Little Sarlacc Horror dropped on 10/16 and has become one of the most anticipated and enjoyable Star Wars comics.
This issue felt very different than any other in this series, or the previous installment in that it isn’t based on a Universal or Hammer monster movie. Instead, it’s based on the 1986 science fiction/comedy starring Rick Moranis, Little Shop of Horrors. Joining writer Cavan Scott and artist Francesco Francavilla is artist, Nick Brokenshire. Nick is a veteran of Star Wars, having worked on IDW’s Star Wars Adventures.
Thom Hudd has escaped the clutches of the vile servant Vaneè and is desperately seeking an escape from Vader’s castle. While trailing Hudd, Vaneè asks if he’s heard about the assassin who became a bounty hunter. One has to wonder how do they have time to recall so many stories, as each issue begins with Vaneè and Thom Hudd playing cat and mouse—telling stories. Rinse, repeat.
Having said that, Return to Vader’s Castle isn’t the type of series that deserves over analyzation. With Brokenshire carrying the art duties for the flashback, his contrasting art style is a perfect foil for Francavilla. His use of yellows, oranges, tans, and peach brings the art of Moebius to mind. Jean Girard, or Moebius, was a French cartoonist and writer who inspired several artists and filmmakers, including George Lucas. Moebius was known for using bright colors in his art.
The body of the story begins in the Coruscant Underworld Level 1313, where a Snivvian is cornered by a Coruscanti officer. The Snivvian pleads his innocence when a tentacle reaches out from a dark alley and pulls him to his death. And just as the officer is calling in his report, he too gets yanked, screaming to his doom.
The repeating disappearances have caused people to get jumpy, and the local gangs are blaming each other for what’s happening. Lacezzi Macran, one of the underworld’s primary crime lords, has called on Sith turned bounty hunter, Asajj Ventress, to leave no stone unturned, and it doesn’t take long for the hairless harpy to catch on to what’s been causing the disappearances.
Ventress returns to the scene of the last disappearance and discovers a strange powdery substance on the ground. Ventress then hears a noise coming from behind a wall when green rat-like reptilian creatures bust through to attack Ventress. Before Ventress can dispatch the last of the vicious creatures, a tentacle reaches out and pulls it back. All Ventress hears is the chomp of a midday snack. Then more of the dust-like powder gets spewed out and covers Ventress. The powder is not just any powder. They are spores coming from the tentacled creature.
Not Lacking Sarlacc’s
Shortly, Ventress gets stunned by an unknown attacker, leaving her alone in the streets unconscious. Regaining her awareness, Ventress tracks down her assailer, who turns out to be the adopted son of the crime lord who hired her in the first place, Lacezzi Macran. Ventress soon learns that he (who remains nameless) has been keeping sarlaccs as pets. In the struggle, one of the larger sarlaccs gets lose and turns on her master. Sarlacc creatures are a popular creature of late. See Galaxy’s Edge #1.
Ventress, however, is not on the menu and kills it. That’s not the end of it, however. The spores that are spreading are spawning baby sarlaccs all over town, eating anything that isn’t bolted down, including a poor tooka cat. Ventress, in all her cleverness, tricks them by getting them to chase her onto her ship. Once she’s high enough above the surface, Ventress bails out and detonates her own ship, destroying the multi-armed menace.
Returning to claim her bounty, Ventress is refused payment from Macran because of what happened to his son. Ventress gets the last laugh when she leaves Macran with the one sarlacc who wasn’t aboard her ship. The lesson being, never cheat a Sith from their prize.
Hudd’s Road to Nowhere
Meanwhile, back on Mustafar, Hudd discovers a hidden passage in Vader’s castle, but when he enters, he is confronted by a pair of Sith training droids—the same ones seen in the new VR game Vader Immortal. It looks like there’s no way out for Thom Hudd. Will he meet his end? Find out next week (10/23) when Return to Vader’s Castle #4 comes out with Vault of the Living Brains!
Return to Vader’s Castle #3 didn’t have the scare factor previous issues had, which makes sense since it is based on a science fiction/comedy instead of a monster movie. Hopefully, next week’s issue will return to its roots.
Ventress, for all her evil-ness in The Clone Wars, is a likable character considering all she has been through. From a Jedi padawan whose master was killed in battle, a Sith Apprentice to Dooku who abandoned her, to a bounty hunter, to love interest of Quilan Voss. Ventress is a survivor who helped Ahsoka escape arrest. Ventress: another great Star Wars tragedy.