The third run of Darth Vader at Marvel Comics has completed a grand job constructing on its predecessor’s examinations of the titular Dark Lord. It’s checked out him each because the fascinating determine of energy we’ve admired throughout Star Wars’ lengthy historical past, but additionally because the equally intriguing bridge between Star Wars’ authentic and prequel trilogies. This week, for a second, that latter introspection has discovered a climax.
Darth Vader #6—written by Greg Pak, that includes artwork and lettering from Raffaele Ienco, Neeraj Menon, and Joe Caramagna—opens with the tantalizing second arrange in prior points, with Vader standing able to crack open the ultimate resting place of Padmé Amidala. Nevertheless, we don’t get to see a stunning second there—to not keep away from the grotesque sight of Vader’s skeletal masks watching over the corpse of his former spouse however as a result of Vader, for all his bluster, can not escape Padmé’s memory.
As a substitute, pulling away from the tomb permits his companion droid Z67 to discover a medical scan that reveals the true final moments of Padmé’s life—sending Vader and the chasing Amidalans to the secretive medical amenities of Polis Massa. After luring his foes to the asteroid discipline and promptly dispatching them, Vader seemingly solely finds ruins. However a close-by maternity droid’s databanks—nonetheless partially serviceable, in contrast to the wiped computer systems of the power itself—present solutions, and after disposing of Z67 (the final unfastened thread to this complicated quest he’s been on), Vader reveals them to himself.
What he sees is Padmé’s dying. He doesn’t get to see her hand off her kids—the revelation that past his son there is indeed another—all he sees is a drained, damaged girl, imploring Obi-Wan that there’s nonetheless good in her husband as she fades away. It’s hauntingly compelling.
Because the holorecording likewise fades, Darth Vader returns to its favourite visible trick of this arc, Ienco and Menon’s artwork inviting us to see by the red-tinged lens of Vader himself. When he seems to be down, he doesn’t see the ruins of Polis Massa, however the Cloud Metropolis shaft his son plummeted down after rejecting him. As a substitute of seeing his personal failure, the household that he’s misplaced, Vader sees Anakin as he’s now, as a padawan, as a baby. Tumbling deep down inside him.
Darth Vader is arguably the Star Wars character Marvel Comics has most powerfully resonated with because the writer acquired the license in 2015. The rationale for that goes past the truth that “Wow, Darth Vader sure is cool.” He’s an icon of common tradition and that has been mined for all its price with the gleeful explorations of his energy, his worry, and sure, that subtle extra-ness that makes the character each fearful and yet beloved by followers of all ages. However Vader’s potential—not simply Darth Vader the title and picture, however as Vader, the masks of Anakin Skywalker—has allowed two-and-a bit runs of comics to essentially dive deep into enmeshing these identities, and the flicks they existed in, deeper than the saga itself ever may. True, it provides us these moments of Sith Lord cool, however Star Wars #6, and the problems which have come earlier than it, remind us of simply how a lot of the character’s true identification is wrapped up within the grief of his previous.
Now Darth Vader is aware of the ultimate moments of Padmé, and that he didn’t actually, because the Emperor led him to believe—and for a moment, believed himself—kill her. He is aware of the phrases that, on a touchdown pad on a Forest Moon three years on from this, his personal son will echo in turn.
It’s information price being punished for, as Palpatine reminds him on the situation’s climax—punishment for the truth that Vader has allowed himself the luxurious of being consumed in grief, reasonably than the hate that makes a Sith. However whilst he watches his former self fall deeper into his psyche, Darth Vader is aware of that someplace inside him, Anakin Skywalker lives.
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