Dark Times: A Spark Remains #4

Dark Times: A Spark Remains #4 (of 5)

(Dark Times #31, Star Wars: Republic #114)

Writer: Randy Stradley
Artist: Doug Wheatley
Colorist: Dan Jackson
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Cover Artist: Benjamin Carré

Dark Times: A Spark Remains #4 sets things up for the end. The confrontation is coming. The Jedi versus Vader. With a steady buildup throughout, the story raises the tension and the stakes. Who will live, and who will die. Those questions may have to wait for the last issue in the arc, but the anticipation couldn’t be greater.

Hudorra: “I have a plan…”
Jennir: “I hope it involve all of us not dying.”

Randy Stradley pens a story that works subtly to play on emotion. This isn’t a big action piece issue, or even a major, emotional piece. Instead, this part of the story is much more low key. Master Hudorra catches up on what Jennir has done. Jennir states his intention for the crew of the Uhumele to part ways with him for their own safety. There’s the natural tension between him and Ember, even Bomo and Heren, none of whom want to leave his side. On the other hand, Vader, the assassin Sang, and Lt. Gregg are all eager to do some killing. The time has finally come for them to catch Jennir once and for all. They make their plans for the assault and put their forces in motion. The comic ends with some of the events we’ve already seen—Vader’s march riddled with explosions and fire—though from a slightly different viewpoint. All of those little moments build up to a crescendo that’s left hanging. Thankfully readers have only one more month to wait for the final chapter in this arc.

“Here’s to the end.”

Alongside the story is more artwork from Doug Wheatley and colors by Dan Jackson. While not every panel will blow your socks off, there are some really nice close-ups, especially of Hudorra. The old Bothan gets quite a lot of attention, and with some of the vague hints in the storyline, I have a feeling he could be making his big exit in the next issue. There’s something crafty going on at the end, and I’m anxious to see what that will turn out to be as things wrap up.

Aside from Hudorra, there’s some nice shots of the badguys, too. The Imperial officers get some detailed attention and there’s a cool shot of a Venator-class Star Destroyer hangar bay that’s very reminiscent to the Death Star‘s hangar bay. When Master Hudorra catches up on what Jennir has been up to, the art takes advantage by showing some flashbacks to previous arcs. Wrapping the issue up is one full page shot of Hudorra in some sort of fancy ceremonial armor, ready for battle. It’s the end cap of the crescendo as we all wait for what will happen next.

On it’s own, this issue is probably the weakest in the arc as it is such a heavy setup for the next issue. However, as far as setting the stage goes, it does its job well. There’s no need to bog the next issue down with exposition that would slow the pace. Everything is set for action and conflict. The pacing in this issue is slow, but it builds steadily. With good artwork and subtle tension, I give Dark Times: A Spark Remains #4 a four out of five metal bikinis. It may be a low key issue without a bunch of action or surprises, but it does deliver one nice punch of drama overall. A lot is riding on the next issue, so we’ll all have to wait and see how it turns out. For the moment, issue #4 gives readers something to think about. Can Jennir get out of this alive? Will Bomo make it? Is Ember going to get her heart broken? And perhaps most importantly (and likely) of all, will Hudorra go out like a total badass? I’ve certainly got my fingers crossed for something epic.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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