Last month I reviewed the first issue of the new Darth Vader comic series – Dark Heart of the Sith. My opinion of that issue was somewhat subdued. It is set in the aftermath of Vader’s duel with Luke. We see a Sith Lord trying to uncover how the birth of his son was kept from him. We see a rampage that starts on Tatooine at the homestead of Owen and Beru Lars. Yet, I felt the frequent flashbacks to prequel events pandered to fans too much. Especially those flashbacks that detailed the relationship between Padmé Amidala and Anakin Skywalker.
Issue 2 of Star Wars Darth Vader
Issue 2 Star Wars Darth Vader starts right off where the first ended – in the supposedly ‘sealed’ chambers of Senator Amidala on Coruscant. The apparition of Padmé that Lord Vader experiences is indeed very real. Without hesitation she attacks Vader, who quickly overwhelms her and her rebel guard. Vader in turn chokes her without hesitation. Forensic droid ZED-6-7’s superficial scan confirm the similarity between this woman and Padmé, accounting for the passage of time.
The woman pretending to Padmé manages to flee when Vader is attacked by Vendaxan land squid. These are only found on the planet Vendaxa – and so we have a bit of a continuity error. Vader and ZED-6-7 catch up with her and identifies her as the ‘Queen’s Shadow’ Sabé. With her uncanny likeness to the late queen and senator she often served as a body double. In real-life she was played by a young Keira Knightly whose mother once mistook her for Natalie Portman. Sabé also wants to discover what happened to Padmé. She has no inkling about who Darth Vader really is nor his role in Padmé’s death. Vader plays along with Sabé’s quest and pretends the Empire had nothing to do with Padmé’s death.
And so reluctantly, the three of them start a quest to discover what happened to Padmé between the time period of Obi-Wan’s duel with Vader and her death while giving birth. The continuity problem is partially solved when Vader mentions Sabé’s infiltration of the Coruscant apartments in the past tense. Vader shows extraordinary patience with Sabé, even allowing her to bury her rebel companions that died fighting the land squids. In essence Vader is undercover as he has convinced her the emperor had nothing to do with Padmé’s death. He wants to uncover the mystery of Luke’s true origin and so he is plays along.
Sabé claims she took recordings from senator Amidala’s quarters from before the latter’s disappearance. She hopes they will contain clues. With the rebellion in full swing Sabé hid them on Naboo. The issue ends with Darth Vader, Sabé, ZED-6-7 and a retinue of death-troopers travelling to Naboo.
I enjoyed this issue of the Darth Vader comic a lot more. Sabé is an intriguing character, the reader is never certain where her role in the prequel ends and that of Padmé begins. Despite the fact that Vader has not revealed he was once Anakin I get the sense that Sabé knows more that she is letting on. Both are on a dangerous quest to uncover the truth. I wonder if it will lead to discovery of Leia being another child of Padmé and Anakin. Strictly speaking, Vader only found out when he fought Luke on the second Death Star, but maybe he knew earlier.
Anyway, with all of these questions it feels this comic series is in full swing. The odd time continuity may have come from not understanding the timeline well enough, but trading Coruscant for Vendaxa remains an arbitrary choice. This issue could have just as well picked from Amidala’s apartments which I think would have made for a more visually pleasing setting. The flashbacks were notably toned down in issue 2 of Star Wars Darth Vader, but they did have a startling effect on Vader thus setting the stage for the latter’s return to the light side. What do you think?
Issue 3 is set for release on April 15th. Come back for the review. If you don’t want to miss any content than please subscribe using the widget to the right.