New Star Wars: Darth Vader Comic Sets the Stage for the Sith Lord's Return of the Jedi Retribution

Exploring the complexities of Darth Vader is a daunting task, as he is considered by many to be one of the most ruthless villains of all time, so when a new story emerges chronicling his villainy, it can feel redundant for audiences to see so much of his terror, but if you delve too deep into the "emotions" of the Sith Lord, it can sometimes be tough to believe. In the current run of Star Wars: Darth Vader, which launched earlier this year, writer Greg Pak and artist Raffaele Ienco are exploring Vader's time after Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and his quest to find out who kept the knowledge of his children from him for all these years. The latest issue of the series saw a pivotal sequence that planted the seed for his fateful change of heart we saw in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

WARNING: Spoilers below for Star Wars: Darth Vader #5

Throughout this series, Vader has been exploring the galaxy to uncover the truth behind Padmé's death, which included a reunion with many of the queen's former handmaidens. With each encounter with a figure or locale from his past, Vader would experience flashes of his former self, given how strongly he was connected to Padmé and how she motivated his turn to the Dark Side. With each issue, Vader has progressively had more flashes to his past relationship, as each clue about Padmé brought him closer to the truth.

The most recent issue of the series depicted Vader's witnessing of Padmé's final moments, triggering an unexpected emotional response in him.

After discovering a droid that recorded Padmé's death, Vader was able to witness her final moments. This sequence started with Padmé saying, "Obi-Wan," igniting rage in Vader, only for him to realize there was more to the message. The scene he witnessed featured Padmé claiming, "There's good in him. I know there's still..." before she passed away.

Vader's reaction to this scene is recalling Luke's plunge down a Cloud City chasm from the finale of Empire Strikes Back, resulting in the Sith Lord then envisioning himself falling into this same chasm, first in his iconic armor, then as a padawan, and then as the child he was when he left Tatooine.

star wars darth vader fall issue 5 2020
(Photo: Marvel)

Following this sequence, Vader reunites with Emperor Palpatine, with it being clear that something has awoken in the Sith Lord, even if this emotional shift is a subtle one.

While various Star Wars comics from Marvel over the years have offered readers specific insight or connections to a number of corners of the live-action films, this issue instead offers a much more subtle glimpse, and confirmation, at how Vader's emotions could be starting down a different path, one which we would see ultimately concluded when he overthrows Palpatine in Return of the Jedi.

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Star Wars: Darth Vader #5 is on sale now.

What did you think of the issue? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!