Administrator Sly Moore conspires against Darth Vader

Administrator Sly Moore has been in Emperor Palpatine’s inner circle when he was still Chancellor of the Galactic Republic. A cunning political figure hailing from the planet Umbara and  who is Force-Sensitive, Moore is dangerous, possibly much more so than the Emperor’s other right-hand person, Grand Vizier Mas Amedda. 

When Darth Vader was punished by Emperor Palpatine for his side quest of finding out more information about his son, Luke Skywalker, Moore was one of the allies the Emperor ordered to eliminate the former Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. After Ochi of Bestoon, a Sith assassin, thought that he had defeated Vader on the volcanic planet of Mustafar, the Administrator felt that she had to pick up the pieces due to knowing that Vader could not be kept down that easily. After Vader got off Mustafar with Ochi as his prisoner, Moore was on board a Star Destroyer pursuing Vader and sending an entire fleet of TIE Fighters after him. However, the Sith quickly defeated the TIEs thanks to his skills as a pilot, his abilities in the Force, and a giant space creature enroute to the planet Exegol.  

After she, Vader, and Ochi witness the Emperor’s true power and his plans involving Exegol, Moore also witnesses the Emperor’s armored enforcer being restored. However, this has the administrator concerned and by the end of “Darth Vader no.13,” she is revealed to have conspired with IG-88 and a secret group of followers to finally kill Vader.

Warning Spoilers Ahead 

“Star Wars: Darth Vader no. 14” begins on the Imperial throne world of Coruscant where two Imperial cadets are in awe at how Darth Vader survived his ordeal  on Mustafar by just being held together by Separatist droid parts. They comment that Vader is basically unstoppable. As Vader strides triumphantly with his new right hand man Ochi of Bestoon at his side, Administrator Sly Moore is not at all impressed. 

Seeing her disappointment, Emperor Palpatine instigates jealousy within the Umbaran when he asks if she is satisfied with Vader being restored to full function and health. Sly admits that she failed to defeat Vader which the Emperor agrees and then chuckles as he walks away from her. To make matters worse, as the Umbara follows the Emperor, Grand Vizier Mas Amedda tells her that she is needed at the Prescreen Department. Moore quickly learns that due to her failure, she has been demoted to Sub-administrator. The Umbaran looks on as Amedda and Palpatine take the turbolift toward the Imperial Palace. Several Imperial officers and stormtroopers look on at the now Sub-administrator Moore. 

Property of Lucasfilm and Marvel

As I continue to read this series, I continue to praise Greg Pak as one of the many writers who knows how to write Star Wars along with Charles Soule. In this issue, the story’s main focus is on Sly Moore and the ongoing battle for supremacy within the Emperor’s inner circle. The inner conflict within the Galactic Empire is nothing new in Star Wars. We have seen plenty of Imperials conspire against each other or their allies. For example, there have been several past stories where the Grand Moff Tarkin has traded blows with Darth Vader. In addition, there have been previous comic issues where the Emperor has sent potential new enforcers or apprentices to kill Vader so that he can replace him. Furthermore, there have been other stories in the Star Wars Legends lore, like “Shadows of the Empire, ” where Vader has deep animosity for the Emperor’s ally and leader of the Black Sun criminal syndicate, the Falleen Prince Xizor. In this latest “Vader” issue, Paks narration and dialogue between the characters  are a reminder of how the Sith operate with each other and their allies. I also feel that Pak’s inclusion of the subtle infighting within the Emperor’s inner circle is a reminder of  the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis with Wise. 

While toiling away at the Prescreen Department with two Imperial officers, the now Sub-administrator Moore discovers that a high-ranking Imperial has been given an invitation to attend the auction of the carbonite frozen Han Solo from Crimson Dawn. Moore also hears the name “Skywalker” and sees this as a potential opportunity to enact revenge on Darth Vader. 

Moore begins to put her plan into motion by heading to the repair block where Vader was fully restored back in “Darth Vader no. 12” so that she can get the schematics on his machine-infused anatomy. Mas Amedda catches her and the two discuss their roles within the Emperor’s inner circle and how they serve the Sith and do not have the power to “indulge in their pleasures.” Sly being sly tells Amedda to pretend that he did not catch her while she, unbeknownst to the Grand Vizier, creates a holodisk containing the schematics on Vader’s anatomy. 

It is here that we learn how bounty hunter assassin droid IG-88 was able to track down Vader and  temporarily have the upper hand on him during their fight in the last issue. It was Moore and her fellow conspirators who provided the assassin droid and his army of droids with the disk.

Property of Lucasfilm and Marvel

Toward the end of the comic, we are left off at the part where IG-88 meets with Moore and her followers. The droid tries to terminate his bounty contract since Vader defeated him during their last encounter. Much to Moore’s horror, Vader sneaks behind IG-88 and slices the droid with his crimson-colored lightsaber. Moore and her followers flee from the Sith Lord while they try to kill him. Moore also tries using the same mechanism IG-88 used to defeat Vader but ultimately, Vader overpowers her. 

With no choice and admitting defeat, the Umbaran bargains with Vader by mentioning the Crimson Dawn invitation to the auction of Han Solo and also how Luke (who would not be far behind to rescue the smuggler) could potentially kill Vader. Sly makes a promise with the Sith Lord to purchase Solo for Vader so that the Sith could not only take Solo but also potentially fight Luke. The two come to a compromise on the plan. However, at the auction, things go south when Jabba the Hutt and his fellow Hutt, Bokku (who has allied with Vader) outbid Sly. The administrator is puzzled as to why Bokku, who is allied with Vader, is bidding against her. Ochi responds that it is the Hutt’s way to humiliate her and himself which in turn would expose her weakness to the Emperor.The assassin further explains that although Sly was very power with uniting her allies to defeat Vader, the Sith Lord is too powerful to let that happen. The end of this issue leaves off toward where   “War of the Bounty Hunters no. 2” ended but with Vader inviting himself to the auction by force choking several Crimson Dawn guards. 

As I mentioned before, the character of Administrator Sly Moore is very dangerous and shrewd. Greg Pak brought this character to life. Before the “Vader” comic, Moore was just a character who stood on the sidelines with a brooding expression in the “Star Wars” prequel films.  Pak’s take on Sly Moore is a high ranking Imperial official who is an opportunist and a quick study. She is willing to do whatever it takes when an opening presents itself to execute her plan. She also is no push over when it comes to executing that plan by mentioning Luke Skywalker being the only person who could kill Vader and take his place. This shows that she is as much of a manipulator as the Emperor. In the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who dies in the fight between Vader and Luke (who she may or may not know are father and son). One way or another, whoever dies, she would probably go for the killing bow.

I also like the direction Vader is going in this arc also. Yes, he knows that Luke is his son however, it seems that the Emperor wants to use that in order for him to have one less Skywalker to worry about. The Emperor is hell bent on manipulating Vader to kill Luke or vice versa since having an enforcer strong in the Force would serve his agenda. Especially if the Emperor was able to seduce someone as powerful as Anakin to the Dark Side. It will be interesting to see if Vader really is set on killing Luke or if this is just a ruse to get the Emperor off his scent of his own plans which involve having his son rule at his side. 

Property of Lucasfilm and Marvel

The art by Raffaele Lenco and the coloring by Jason Keith played just as huge of a role  as Pak’s writing did in bringing Sly Moore to life. The drawings of Sly Moore show the stark differences between her time as administrator in  the Galactic Republic to her time as administrator for the Empire. When she was administrator for the Republic, she was wearing a silver, or lighter, gown while under the Empire, she was wearing an all black short trench coat with black slacks and boots. In addition to her clothing, Moore’s facial features are further darkened and chiseled, possibly to show her age throughout the 23-years she has been in service to Palpatine. But I also think that those additional lines and shading on her face make her far more brooding than she did in the prequel films. 

Overall, the “War of the Bounty Hunters” arc has been the blockbuster of the summer that has rocked the Skywalker Saga in the Disney era. There hasn’t been such an arc since the Shadows of the Empire that has changed the landscape and expanded the Star Wars Universe. With the inclusion of Han Solo’s ex girlfriend Qi’ra, from “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” pulling the strings by gathering all entities in the galaxy, there is no way that it would be a “Star Wars” blockbuster without Darth Vader. Greg Pak’s post “Empire Strikes Back” Vader is ruthless, determined, and cold-blooded. From what I read, he knows that he cannot take on the Emperor alone but he also knows that Luke could very well defeat him. With that, Vader has no choice but to kill Luke or at least defeat him enough so that he could have one less potentially powerful enemy to worry about. Or, as I mentioned before, Vader is likely playing possum and secretly wants to have Luke at his side (which he actually does) so that they can overthrow the Emperor. 

“Star Wars: Darth Vader no.14” is now out wherever comic books are sold.

Writer: Greg Pak

Artist: Raffaele Ienco

Colorist: Jason Keith

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagnna

Publisher: Marvel
Synopsis: “The Blade Behind the Curtain” For decades, no figure has stood as close to theEmperor with so much mystery surrounding her. Who is theUmbaran? What is her role within the Empire and in the War of the Bounty Hunters? And what happens when she emerges from the darkness to challenge Darth Vaderhimself? Featuring an unprecedented look at the inner workings of the Emperor  inner circle – and the return of IG-88!

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