"Star Wars: Dark Times - Out of the Wilderness" #5 offers up all of the good and the bad that awaits fans of George Lucas' most famous brand. The final issue of the "Out of the Wilderness" storyline, this comic has the feel good moments found at the end of each of the original trilogy movies: heroes looking to the future while thankful for the victories they've achieved. It also balances in the foreboding sense of evil not yet vanquished that was present in both "Star Wars" and "The Empire Strikes Back."
Unfortunately, while we get (good) teases of fan favorite characters like Vader, we'll simply never get enough. Vader appears in a handful of panels, which will certainly be the tipping point for at least a couple sales on this issue, but his actions here amount to little more than a cameo appearance. Sure, that allows Randy Stradley and artist Douglas Wheatley more time and space to develop the expanded universe characters, but it falls short of being a satisfying appearance.
Through exiled and on the run Jedi Master Dass Jennir, Stradley writes, "The galaxy has never been more dangerous. . .like things will get worse before they can get better." Such an observation is apropos of a comic that features Darth Vader prowling down the trail of this Jedi survivor.
Wheatley draws a great group of misfits in the form of the Uhumele's crew and his human characters are every bit as fascinating. Most of the art is straight-forward in both panel construction and camera angle, thereby creating a story that is easy to follow and entertaining. Wheatley's knack for including insane amounts of detail certainly helps to add credibility to this story and Stradley plays to Wheatley's strengths nicely.
Dass Jennir has been on the run for quite some time and Darth Vader has been teased as being right behind him. With the conclusion of this adventure, it truly seems as though the expanded universe and the original cast of characters (through Vader) are set on a collision course. You can almost hear John Williams' music beginning to filter in over closing credits that aren't present as we await the next installment of adventures in that galaxy "far, far away."