When this was announced, I cringed. Did we really need a THIRD ‘Darth Vader’ run? Don’t get me wrong, Kieron Gillen’s first run with the character was fantastic, and from what little I have read of Charles Soule’s run was great and I heard amazing things (I will be starting to read it soon), and I’m not including ‘Dark Visions’ or ‘Target Vader’ in this, but I have felt for a while that he has been overused and that air of mystery that surrounded him in the Original Trilogy is being wafted away by extractor fans in an attempt to cash grab because he is a bankable character.
That being said, when left in the right hands, Vader is a powerful storytelling tool and focal point to drive narrative and fill our canon junkie minds with more questions and answers than are even possible to comprehend.
And like Gillen and Soule before him, Greg Pak’s hands seem to have a firm grip on this character.
Vader is searching for clues about Luke’s past, to learn why, in Vader’s eyes, Luke has been made weak.
His search takes him to Tatooine, and the Lars homestead where they are attacked by Pirates. Of course, Vader dispatches them with ease as he is reminded of his past through flashbacks to the events of The Prequel Trilogy.
They then visit Coruscant, and the former apartment of Padmé where, again haunted by his memories, Vader and his Droid sidekick locate a surveillance chip and follow its signal to Vendaxa.
Once on the planet, Vader enters a building which is being overrun by local wildlife. Vader makes easy work taking them out and as he turns a corner he stops dead in his tracks, coming face to face with Padmé (or someone who looks just like her).
Pak fills this issue with flashbacks which could feel overused but given everything Vader is going through, it feels very fitting.
Ienco’s art just jumps off the page for me, easily some of the best images of Vader I have seen for a long time.
The story flows well, Vader’s almost silent nature works alongside his new Droid companion, who I feel is the avatar for the audience, at least at this point.
I thoroughly enjoyed this issue and I can’t wait for what comes next in Darth Vader’s ongoing story.
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