Not even the COVID-19 pandemic could stop the Dark Lord of the Sith from rampaging back to comic-book shelves. Published by Marvel Comics, Star Wars: Darth Vader #4 continues the newest comic series following the Emperor’s enforcer shortly after the events of The Empire Strikes Back. Writer Greg Pak, artist Raffaele Ienco, colorist Neeraj Menon, letterer Joe Caramagna, and cover artist InHyuk Lee take readers through a journey as Darth Vader’s grapples with the consequences of Luke Skywalker refusing to join the Dark Side.
The story preceding Star Wars: Darth Vader #4 initially followed Darth Vader attempting to seek vengeance on all who hid Luke Skywalker from the Dark Lord and made his son weak enough to refuse the Dark Side. He is joined by an Imperial forensic droid named ZED-6-7 who provides both wittiness and background information on events through the series. His investigation eventually brought him face to face with Sabé, one of Padmé Amidala’s entrusted handmaid’s fans see throughout the Prequel Trilogy.
Sabé has dedicated herself to finding the truth surrounding the death of her closest friend. She is joined by others who share her desire for justice forming the Amidalans. In this, Darth Vader sees as an opportunity. Those who know the truth about his wife’s death may have knowledge of who hid Luke Skywalker. Darth Vader agrees to help her but he underestimates the cunning of a woman who was known as the Queen’s Shadow. Sabé, with the help of other Clone Wars heroes Typho and Tonra, spring a trap on the Dark Lord as they believe he is the cause of death for not only Padmé Amidala but Anakin Skywalker as well.
Deep below the depths of Naboo in a Gungan memorial, Sabé, Typho, and Tonra call down a Sando Aqua Monster to dispatch Darth Vader once and for all. Star Wars: Darth Vader #4 opens in the heat of this attack as the 200-meter long beast and the trio attack the presumed murder of their former queen and her Jedi protector. Seeing as the Sando Aqua Monster is certainly one of the deadliest creatures we see on the big screen in Star Wars, it is no small feat for the Dark Lord to defeat the beast. However, given that his plot armor is harder than his black suit, Darth Vader emerges victorious and begins his hunt for the Amidalans.
It is in this hunt and eventual confrontation that Star Wars: Darth Vader #4 really shines. The previous three issues of the series have provided Darth Vader’s perspective through the events of his mission as he remembers many of these characters and moments through Anakin Skywalkers’ eyes. I was worried that Star Wars: Darth Vader #4 was going to be heavy on the battle with the Sando Aqua Monster. While the art team provided beautiful panels and it is awesome that Darth Vader gets to add the only person to kill a Sando Aqua Monster to his resume, the outcome is a forgone conclusion. This art team really thrives by showing the inner battles that Darth Vader is facing while being in these memories that seem like a lifetime ago but are still so fresh in his mind. Star Wars: Darth Vader #4 quickly becomes no exception.
The final confrontation of Star Wars: Darth Vader #4 brings everything together in a climax that will have fans awestruck. The expanded universe for Star Wars has done a lot fleshing-out of Padmé’s character and those who were close to her. We see from Darth Vader’s perspective in eerily red shaded panels of flashbacks to the memories of those same Amidalans he battles. The cliffhanger begins a bittersweet payoff as readers see characters that we have just come to know more deeply in recent literature just prove no match for the power of the Dark Side despite Darth Vader’s memories of them.
Writer Greg Pak has a masterful way of working with his team to tell a story the intertwines known and unknown story points to bring a new life to Darth Vader outside of the pain-filled juggernaut. Just when you think you know all there is all you need to know about the battle Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader, Pak gives more to appreciate. While the redemption of Anakin Skywalker may be controversial for the fandom, this series and Star Wars: Darth Vader #4 continues to show fans that Anakin Skywalker has always been within the Dark Lord. I am eager for the next issue in the series to see how the team adds future depth to pop culture’s most well-known villains.
Star Wars: Darth Vader #4 is now available wherever comics are sold.
Star Wars: Darth Vader #4
While the redemption of Anakin Skywalker may be controversial for the fandom, this series and Star Wars: Darth Vader #4 continues to show fans that Anakin Skywalker has always been within the Dark Lord. I am eager for the next issue in the series to see how the team adds future depth to pop culture’s most well-known villains.