Star Wars has revealed a new (and quite epic) duel between Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader, using giant Kaiju-style monsters as their tools. This confrontation between Vader and Palpatine took place in the latest issue of Marvel's Darth Vader comic, which is set in the aftermath of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Palpatine has punished Vader for trying to recruit his son Luke Skywalker to kill the Emperor and is testing his fitness as a Sith Lord. That test led Vader to Palpatine's secret lair on Exegol, where Vader arrives riding on the head of the most dangerous beast in the Star Wars Universe.
Warning: Star Wars: Darth Vader #11 SPOILERS Follow!
On the route to Exegol, Vader was pursued by some of the Empire's best trackers and was forced into a confrontation with a mutated Summaverminoth beast - the most fearsome thing in the galaxy. The Summaverminoth had psychic abilities that made Vader able to commune with it through the dark side, bringing the beast under his control. However, as Vader and the Summaverminoth push for the Sith temple on Exegol, they find Palpatine is already waiting - and he is totally unafraid of Vader's new pet monster.
Vader tells Palpatine he's about to get a lesson in true fear - but the Emperor just laughs, saying there is no threat he has not prepared for. Palpatine reveals that he controls his own set of lobster-like monsters, who instantly jump in to kill Vader's beast. To Vader's credit, he controls the Summaverminoth well enough to have it kill Palpatine's monsters - but that's about where his advantage over the Emperor ends.
Palpatine makes it clear that his mastery over the dark side is much greater than Vader's: the Emperor reaches out through the dark side and influences the Summaverminoth to do the unthinkable: kill itself. With that demonstrative act, the duel between Palpatine and Vader is pretty much settled.
Vader still gets put to the test within the Sith temple on Exegol: he's forced to duel some of Palpatine's mutant creations in the Sith temple, as well as an entire battalion of Sith loyalists. Vader stands against all challengers to retain his place as Palpatine's apprentice - but his will is truly bent when he sees the massive stockpile of Kyber Crystals, that Palpatine is "bleeding" into dark side crystals to power his secret fleet. It's in the red light of the crystals that Vader is forced to choose: submit to Palpatine, and suffer the pain of obtaining true power.0comments
In the end, Vader was never even close to matching Palpatine's power, which explains why he was back on the leash by the time Return of the Jedi started.
Star Wars: Darth Vader is currently on sale through Marvel Comics.