Holy Mustafar, the first chapter – The Chosen One, Part One – in the new Darth Vader comic series by Marvel (not to be confused with the previous Darth Vader comic series by Marvel) hit the ground running! Written by Charles Soule (Poe Dameron, Lando, and Daredevil, among others) we get our first glimpses into what happens immediately following Vader being placed in his new suit of armor in Revenge of the Sith. Of course ***SPOILERS*** abound, so proceed with caution after the image below. Also, all images and imagery are property of Lucasfilm and Marvel, duh…..
So I’m not going to do a review per se, I’m going to cover a few important panels and pages from the comic, which I personally believe adds a lot to the transformation of Anakin Skywalker into the Sith Lord, Darth Vader. Let’s start with these panels:
So we pick up literally right after Darth Vader is placed in the cybernetic armor, suit, and helmet for the first time, uttering the infamous (and oft-maligned) NOOOOOOOOO line from Revenge of the Sith. Even me, the well-noted prequel apologist, isn’t a huge fan of this Frankenstein-esque moment and line from Vader in RotS. However, the comic addresses that beautifully and adds to it in very dramatic fashion:
What is interesting here is that Vader’s reaction is so strong in the Force not only does he crush all the droids and machinery in the operating room, but he also pushes Sidious with the Force, a very unexpected turn of events and one I think adds a ton of depth to this scene. However, in the next panels I’m going to show you, Vader is still enraged and tries to use the Force on his master again…:
In an epic exchange of dialog between master and apprentice, Darth Vader once again tries to use the Force on Darth Sidious, this time in the form of a Force Choke. Sidious is having none of that, as he brushes off Vader’s attempt and offers up a choice – accept his new gift of pain and the dark side or die:
Vader makes his choice – to live – and is rewarded with a heavy dose of Force Lightning from his master, the incredibly powerful Darth Sidious. After enduring the blast of energy, Vader and Sidious proceed to watch a galactic press conference of sorts, with Grand Vizier of the newly formed Empire, Mas Amedda, presiding:
These are awesome panels, and I love the contrast of Amedda and his speech to the citizens of Coruscant and the Empire at large, to the thoughts of Palpatine and Vader here. As the Vizier disavows the Jedi, having the Clone Troopers place all of the dead Jedi’s lightsabers in a cauldron, we see master and apprentice having a different kind of conversation – a conversation about Kyber crystals. One thing the new canon has placed emphasis on is reinterpreting Kyber crystals and their place in the Star Wars universe. We got our first mention of the Sith and the Inquisitors ‘bleeding’ Kyber crystals, turning them red. Well in these pages and panels we get a MUCH deeper explanation of how this works. In the new canon, Kyber’s are treated as living crystals. This has been mentioned throughout many sources – from being hinted at during The Clone Wars animated series, to the Ahsoka and Catalyst novels, and into Rogue One. Sidious explains to Vader that you have to pour pain and darkness into the Kyber, until it finally gives in and it’s will is broken to the dark side, hence turning it crimson in color. I LOVE this, as in the old Legends material Sith and dark side users had to rely on synthetic crystals to power their lightsabers. Vader comes to the understanding that he must hunt a crystal (and presumably a Jedi) down and get the Kyber from his or her saber, and then the bleeding and construction of his new lightsaber can commence. One more page from this section I’ll highlight is below:
The lightsaber Amedda is holding up is none other than Yoda’s! This wasn’t called out, but it is obviously his. I thought it was a nice touch by Soule, who I’m really loving as a writer of Star Wars comics! Moving on…
As Darth Vader and Lord Sidious head to an unnamed planet in the Mid Rim, we get a brief but informative conversation between the two regarding Vader’s new armor. He is quick to say he finds it acceptable, and I have to point out how different a path the narrative of this particular story point is taking from it’s Legends counterpart. In the old Legends material, Vader hated his suit at first – hated it. It was also very limiting to his abilities both physically and in the Force. I think we are headed in a very different direction in the new canon in regards to this, and it begins on these pages.
In these pages we see Vader adjusting his photoreceptors to make sure he has an adequate view of the landscape at hand before moving out. Another sign Vader is adjusting to his new cybernetic enhancements pretty well. Rad art, too, just thought I’d mention that…….
The above pages and panels are so awesome. As Vader searches for his prey (again, presumably a Jedi who escaped the purge of Order 66) he encounters what appears to be petty thieves and smugglers eyeing a starship they are going attempt to steal. Vader is having none of that, as I assume it either belongs to the aforementioned Jedi and/or Vader realizes it’s his only way off world since Sidious left him there with no transportation. Vader then uses the Force in dramatic fashion to eliminate each and every one of the thieves. Also of note here is that he doesn’t appear hindered at all by his armor and cybernetics. If anything, his abilities seem enhanced by them. I continue to point that out as a stark difference between the Legends version of the aftermath of Vader’s operation and the new canon version. I prefer the canon version, as I never like to think of Darth Vader as being weak. The last panel in the second page posted above, and the last page show Vader in all his glory – telling the last survivor that the only thing he wants from them is death. Awesome, just awesome. Now, that’s Vader, and it’s cool to see just how much in the grips of the dark side he already is!
Final thoughts: I am so pumped for this new (hopefully ongoing) Vader series from Marvel. To finally get to see Vader construct his lightsaber (and bleed the Kyber!!!!!!) and truly embrace being a Dark Lord of the Sith should be so exciting for any and all Star Wars fans. I loved everything about this issue, there’s absolutely nothing I didn’t like.
Also at the end, there’s a bonus tale called No Good Deed by Chris Eliopoulos and Jordie Bellaire that’s a comical look at Vader and the officers & droids prepping his meditation chamber. The art is cute, the story hilariously dark. Not gonna post any pics from that, go buy the comic at Capital Comics or Fight or Flight!