Don’t let Darth Vader catch you slipping, he’ll find your lack of comic knowledge “disturbing”. The 2015 comic run of Darth Vader is wonderful and definitely worth checking out if you have reasonable access to it. The 25-issue run is some of the best lore regarding the dark lord of the Sith and takes place primarily between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back.
I recently re-subscribed to Marvel Unlimited now that the Disney Plus series Ms. Marvel is around the corner and I wanted to get caught up on her backstory. Then I remembered that Star Wars comics were a thing and so I decided to browse the comic offerings. A good friend of mine had recommended the Darth Vader run so I finally decided to check it out and I am so glad I did! At 25 issues I finished it over the course of a week and it was over pretty quickly.
Without spoiling the premise too much, Vader has to prove his worth after the destruction of the first Death Star and earn the Emperor’s favor again. But Vader is also working on something on the side, finding out the identity of the rebel who destroyed the Death Star. If you’re a fan of Darth Vader or just general Star Wars background lore then this is right up your alley. If you require a harder sell, well, then here are four reasons to check out the series.
1. Triple-Zero And Bee-Tee
0-0-0, aka Triple-Zero, is a very sassy and polite protocol droid designed for torture. If you ever found C-3PO to be grating then you might find the sinister edge (and politeness) of Triple Zero a little more your speed. Vader comes across Triple-Zero through his business partnership with Dr. Aphra (more on her later) when he hires her to help him find/create a droid army for his own use.
Triple-Zero’s personality comes from a personality matrix a hundred years before the Battle of Yavin that was locked away for being too dangerous. Aphra reactivates Triple-Zero and imprints herself and Darth Vader onto it so it won’t turn on them. Along with Triple-Zero there is an assassin droid, BT-1 (Bee-Tee), that passes itself off as an astromech unit.
Bee-Tee and Triple-Zero have the same kind of comedic comradery as the beloved C-3PO and R2-D2 pairing have, but these two are far more dangerous and sinister. They get themselves into some amusing shenanigans and through out the comic run they prove to be indispensable while adding some much needed levity.
2. Dr. Aphra
Dr. Aphra is easily my favorite part of the Darth Vader run. Apparently I’m not the only one who feels that way as she has her own comic run and a whole lot of background story. But it is here in issue #3 of the Darth Vader (2015) run where we are first introduced to her. Aphra is a droid archeologist who loves spelunking for riches and old forgotten tech / droid technology.
She enters Vader’s service and runs a couple of missions for him along with her unorthodox killer droids, Triple-Zero and BT-1. From her debut in issue 3 she is a prominent character for the majority of the comic run. Aphra is a very sassy character and while she plays aloof she is very aware of how dangerous Vader can truly be. She serves as a stand-in for the audience at times by fangirling over Vader and being very eager to work for him, mostly because she knows he would likely kill her if she ever became useless.
Aphra’s allegiances are very ambiguous as she plays well with the empire but also will work against their interests when the money is good. Ultimately Aphra is a witty and complex character and that is ultimately her most endearing quality.
3. Vader Shows Off His Skills
It is drilled into us throughout A New Hope and Revenge of the Sith that Anakin/Vader is a first-class pilot but we don’t get to really see THAT much of that in the films. Granted we see him do aerial tricks in RotS and he takes out some X-Wings in ANH, but it’s not nearly as impressive as it is here in the comics.
Multiple times in the run we get to witness Vader’s natural talent as a pilot as well as being augmented by the force. Without spoiling too much, there’s a particular section where he absolutely demolishes an entire squadron in his TIE Advanced and it is highly satisfying.
It’s not just his flying skills that get fleshed out, even his lightsaber skills get shown off with impressive feats. With no context he takes down a ship with a lightsaber throw, holds off waves of enemies, and even clashes with several lightsabers here and there. We only ever see Vader throwing down in the original trilogy but he is never pushed to his limits in the films. Fortunately Vader is a beats in the comics.
4. Vader First Finds Out About Luke
I am sure if you asked a group of Star Wars fans what are some of the most iconic moments from the films a handful will say the “I am your father” moment in ESB. And they would be right, that IS an iconic moment. But there is only one place where we learn about Vader’s reaction to Luke not only being the pilot behind the Death Star’s destruction, but also of his existence.
What follows is one of the most emotionally charged Star Wars stories put to screen/paper. Vader experiences various flashbacks of Padme and has a visceral reaction to the news. This spurs him onto the path of searching for Luke and takes up a large portion of the story arc.
We don’t really get moments of Vader in the original trilogy where he is silent and contemplating events or memories. Here we get to see how and what he thinks and it’s such a great dive into the dark lord’s mind. It’s fantastic how we get those cracks of Anakin underneath.
That’s my pitch for checking out the comic run, you can also check out the full Omnibus on Amazon here. For more Star Wars opinions, news, reviews, lists, and more make sure to subscribe to GeekNewsNow.
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