October brought the 25th issue of the 25 issue-long Darth Vader series. The series focused on Darth Vader and a handful of other “new” characters immediate following the destruction of the Death Star in A New Hope. There’s a little cross over with the heroes of the original trilogy but this story arch focuses primarily on what is happening within The Empire and in the shadows of The Empire. It also sheds some really interesting light on the relationship between the Emperor and Vader – at a high level the master and apprentice relationship of the Sith.
The writing of the dialogue and the story itself is exciting and interesting from start to finish. I never picked up an issue that I felt didn’t add to the story. I also felt like, unlike the newer books, they didn’t bloat the story with a lot of new characters. They definitely introduced some new faces, but they balanced the right amount of character development with each introduction and I never had to ask “Is this person going to serve a purpose?”.
As previously mentioned — as if it wasn’t obvious by the title — this comic focuses on Darth Vader and his “adventures” between “A New Hope” and “Empire Strikes Back”. I think this storyline did an amazing job of illustrating the relationship of master and apprentice of the Sith. Here’s why:
You learn early on that Emperor Palpatine has been working with a cyborg/scientist names Cylo who has created other a handful of other potential replacements for Vader. All of them are augmented with technology in one way or another. Vader discovers this batch of misfits but is told straight out by Darth Sidius that they will eventually try to kill him and take his place.
While that is all happening, Darth Vader hunts down an archaeologist/scientist named Dr. Aphra who, with her two crazy/evil robot companions (mirroring R2D2 and C3P0) help Vader on various personal missions. Dr. Aphra has a habit of double crossing her superiors as well, which happens several times in exciting and funny ways throughout the story. She was actually a big enough part of the story to earn her own spin off comic (coming soon).
On top of the main storyline, which focuses on what happens behind the scenes of standard imperial conquest, there was also a mini series called “Vader Down” that brought all of these characters together with the heroes from Star Wars in a scenario where Vader utterly distroys the X-Wing fleet and several squadrons of Rebels — definitely worth a read.
Without going into too much detail, I hope you’ve at least gather that this series is worth a read.