Spoilers for Marvel’s current Darth Vader title are ahead…

Skipping ahead from my last review of Charles Soule’s landmark Marvel comic series, Star Wars: Darth Vader No. 19 delves deep into the darkness.

And I do mean deep….

After all, Soule teased “Fortress Vader” way back in May:

And, obviously, we saw glimpses of the castle back in 2015’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story:

But in “Fortress Vader: Part I” comic readers begin an arc that will show exactly how the Big Guy in Black gets (earns?) his castle on Mustafar. And, before we can surf any lava flows, Vader and his Inquisitors have deadly Dark Side nastiness to perpetrate.

Without getting too “spoilery” for this current issue, the storyline — based on the reappearance of a wayward Jedi (with whom we are acquainted) — begins in a maternity ward; an operating theater that should certainly remind fans of a certain hospital on Polis Massa.

This time, Daddy Skywalker actually shows up at a mother’s bedside, unfortunately for the family, his minions are in tow, and all the bad guys are on a mission similar to one we saw the Seventh Sister pursue during the Star Wars Rebels, Season 2 episode, “Future of the Force.”

The familiar wayward Jedi, no longer tethered to the dogmatic approach of the Jedi, allows his “Fear. Anger. Resentment” — his feelings — fuel his prodigious Force powers as he attempts to save his family from the Sith Lord.

Disparate comparisons and contrasts between the desperate loving father and the machine man are clear, calculated and allow little doubt as to the level of inhumanity attained by Obi-Wan’s former apprentice. And, as we see Vader handle a child, we are reminded just how deep “The Jedi” has fallen since he uttered the words, “That’s wonderful…” to the news of Padmé’s pregnancy.

This issue instructively shows another instance of Vader’s Dark Side meditation, which certainly captures the depth of his connection to the wellspring of death and destruction (and possibly hints at the reason Vader may need some space). Meanwhile, we get a list of suspected Jedi survivors of Order 66, as well as a reintroduction to Inquisitors we’ll see a little later down the line.

It’s a great comic. Once again, Soule’s writing kept me glued to the page, the art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Daniele Orlandini, and David Curiel — as well as the cover by Camuncoli and Elia Bonetti — were some of the best in the series.

Speaking of the cover, “What a juxtaposition!”

The only problem with this brutal, but engaging book, featuring an episode that does much to explain the depth of Sith depravity, is that it won’t continue until August 22.

This one easily earns 5/5 stars.

Check out this preview. Then, run to your local comic shop now. JB

Darth Vader


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