After a lengthy absence due to the pandemic the Darth Vader (2020) comic series is back. Today marks the release of issue #3. This series is unusual in that events run concurrent with that of the Star Wars (2020) comic series. That series is set after the events of Empire Strikes Back in which Darth Vader revealed he was once Anakin, Luke Skywalker’s father. This series tells the point of view of Darth Vader as he uncovers how Luke has been hidden from him after the events of Revenge of the Sith. In issue #2 Vader is confronted by Sabé, Senator Padmé Amidala’s body double and spy. Her uncanny resemblance startles Vader, who would otherwise not tolerate anyone interfering with his investigations. Sabé tells Vader she seeks to find the person that killed Padmé and she offers proof on Naboo. Issue #3 is available for purchase for $3.99 from Comixology.
And so issue #3 starts on Naboo, a lush green planet in which Darth Vader seems ill at home. Their investigations take them to the Naberrie retreat. Instead of the promised proof Vader is attacked by Captains Typho and Tonra. However, after Vader handily defeats them Sabé manages to convince Vader they merely wanted to protect her. Yet, Vader reminds her he wants the recording that would proof who killed Padmé. Typho and Tonra promise to take him there. This is the first inkling of a ulterior motive on the part of three former cohorts of Padmé. Meanwhile forensics droid Zed-6-7 continues to question each regarding events prior to Padmé’s death. It is an effective method to revisit past events without having to show them in flashbacks. The latter of which there are plenty.
The inevitable Vader trap
Below the Naberrie retreat a Gungan submarine awaits them, ensuring the group will take a trip below the dangerous waters of Naboo. It is here that Vader slowly grows restless. The submarine is attacked by a Colo Claw fish, similar to the one from The Phantom Menace. In a somewhat unbelievable panel we see how each of the occupants of the submarine manages to escape and continue to swim underwater. At least they could have donned breathing apparatus like Qui-Gon and Obi-wan. They also find themselves conveniently located near a Gungan built dome. There Zed-6-7 notices the shrine dedicated to the peace that came between the Naboo and Gungans. Sabé mentions her quest for revenge is also for Anakin Skywalker, whom she thinks is dead. Tonra hands over the recording for analysis. On it we see Sabé, Typho and Tonra swear a pact to avenge Padmé and Anakin.
In the Gungan dome they confront Darth Vader. Typho mentions how Padmé travelled to Mustafar alone, against his wishes. Do they do know the entire story they believe she died on Mustafar. Some time later it became Darth Vader’s domain. They accuse him of murdering Padmé and Anakin. After a tense moment Vader does not deny this. And so the trap is sprung. Or Vader allowed himself to be trapped. The latter seems likely considering the delaying actions by Sabé, Captain Typho and Captain Tonra. In fact, such traps are not uncommon in any of the Darth Vader series. The Gungan dome is about to be eaten by a fish even greater and the Colo Claw Vader just chased away. None appear to have a problem with the fact that their actions are suicidal. And there this issue ends.
Conclusion to issue #3 Darth Vader
Of course Vader will survive, he has a date with destiny. That said, I am intrigued how he will get out of this trap. Also I want to know if any of the conspirators: Sabé, Typho or Tonra will survive Vader’s wrath. As unlikely as that appears. Also, will they discover Vader’s true identity? The three remaining issues in this series have thus a lot of ground to cover. And to think I criticized the first two issues. I will say this, I thoroughly enjoyed issue #3. It is a incredible journey in just 25 pages. The cliffhanger ending is spectacular, even if it is a little bit familiar. The inevitable consequences will be quite sad, but they might also provide impetus for Vader’s turn to the light in Return of the Jedi. If this series could accomplish that then I think this will rank as a success.
Issue #4 should be available from August 12th onwards.