Darth Vader comes hot off the launch of Marvel’s Star Wars series and was said to run concurrently in the new canon timeline soon after Episode IV. This issue takes place sometime after the first 2 issues of the Star Wars series and when the rest of the arc is released we’ll probably know it’s exact spot.
The issue opens soon after the events on Cymoon 1 which means Vader is coming off not only after the colossal failure of the Battle of Yavin but apparently has also failed to defeat the rebels on Cymoon. The story kind of jumps around the days after Cymoon in an interesting way. When I was saying the Star Wars series was giving us a very cinematic group story I also said I wanted to get some more personal stories that really revolved around the character. Darth Vader’s story is given to us here from a very personal point of view. I really like the insight that even this first comic gives us into where Vader is at this point in the timeline. This is also the beginnings of what will become Vader’s quest into the identity of the rebel who destroyed the Death Star.
We open with Vader confronting Jabba for a personal favor. The scene really feels similar to when Anakin confronted Jabba during the Clone Wars film. It’s another one of those Lucas rhyming thingies where the scene is familiar but very different as Vader is NOT the Jedi who confronted Jabba all those years ago. Vader makes sure Jabba realizes the differences of dealing with a Jedi and shows him the power of the Sith when Jabba tries to threaten him.
The story then jumps back to receiving the Emperors orders to go to Tatooine and Vader having to report another failure to his master. We also see the beginnings of Vader hiding things from his master as he seems to keep the details regarding his encounter with Kenobi on the Death Star and Skywalker on Cymoon to himself. We also learn that Admiral Motti did NOT die on the Death Star as he returned to his fleet shortly before the Yavin fiasco. I thought that was really cool as in A New Hope Motti was the only one besides Vader who doesn’t see the Death Star as the “ultimate power in the galaxy”. The Emperor also reveals his worries about the state of the galaxy as he dissolved the senate intending to force control over the galaxy with the Death Star.
Vader meets with Boba Fett and a Wookiee bounty hunter telling them to find the pilot who left Tatooine on the Falcon and the mysterious being meeting with the Emperor on Coruscant. While we don’t yet learn why the Emperor sent Vader to meet with Jabba we see that Vader has destroyed another Tusken camp.
Vader returning to his home planet is a really interesting place to be in this story. There’s an interesting amount of reflection and also insight into Vader and just how much of Anakin still remains there. Even after more than twenty years Vader’s anger towards the Tuskens remains. Also its is very interesting to see Vader’s personal dealings and how much he is hiding from Sidious at this point. The relationship between the two seems to be tinged with lies and mistrust which makes for a great Sith relationship. I wish we knew how long and how deep the lies and secrets between them goes. I’m certain Sidious’s duplicity has been there since the beginning but I’m curious to see when Vader begins to make his own plans. The story was good but once again we only have a piece of the full arc. The art is great and much more “comic book” style then the art in the Star Wars series. I love the insight into Vader himself and can’t wait to see where this series goes.