– Spoiler Review –
Vader faces his (new) rivals, but the greater battle happens within himself once he’s forced to face the truth about the Rebel pilot who destroyed the Death Star. Darth Vader #6 brings the first arc to a close in a big, emotional way, while setting up some developments well-worth seeing as the series continues.
All the information myself and many others wanted to know regarding the cyborgs and Cylo’s program got their wishes granted here. As the Emperor oversees, each cyborg creation takes its turn against Vader. They include: two human twins, Morit and Aiolin, who were given to Cylo as a way to redeem their family after choosing the Separatists’ side in the Clone Wars; I’m not entirely sure what’s up with the Trandoshan, but it seems some type of A.I. has been hooked up inside of him to help direct his bestial rage (and could be used on a Rancor!); Tulon Voidgazer, who can control a drone-cloud using some cerebral enhancements, has a personal shield, and lost a lot of friends on the Death Star; and Commander Karbin, a Mon-Cal who was only recently turned into the next-gen version of General Grievous. They are all deadly and have all been made and trained to one day possibly replace Darth Vader if he were to ever fail, which the Emperor is obviously considering at the moment.
Once a quick free-for-all fight to the death ensues and at least the Trandoshan is killed, the Emperor sees fit to use them all to help strike down those who oppose the Empire. However, he states he only needs one in the end and tells them not to slay each other…or if they do, don’t let him find out. One would think Vader manages to destroy them all, possibly including Cylo, before the start of The Empire Strikes Back, but it’d be interesting to see some escape only to resurface after the Battle of Endor somewhere in the new canon. Either way, Vader has his work cut out for him, as he would’ve been injured or dead had Morit not slayed the Trandoshan after it had beaten Vader down to the floor.
What this first arc has done for the Emperor is make him a much more interesting character than just the Sith Lord who rules the galaxy for a couple decades, as it opens up his machinations and shows us more of his never-ending tests for Vader. Sheev has some great dialogue in #6, from showing his surprise at Vader’s resourcefulness (though never confirming or denying he knew about it the whole time), countering Vader’s protests about the cyborgs being abominations by pointing out Vader is no different than them (in a way), to giving Vader a stern reminder that if he fails to defeat the cyborgs, Sheev won’t give a second thought to tossing Vader aside. It’s the harshness of that reminder and the entire situation with the cyborgs which help set up the awesome emotional ending.
So far the creative team has been wonderfully employing flashbacks throughout the series, putting images in place of words which Vader would rarely speak, giving us an inside look at how his past still haunts and affects him. But until now, none have been more emotionally charged or as succinctly used as the ones at this issue’s end, which are brought on by Boba Fett bringing Vader the only piece of information he can about the Rebel pilot who blew up the Death Star (after losing to him in a quick little battle which can been seen in #6 of the Star Wars series): the name Skywalker. While this moment also plays out in Star Wars #6, it gets nowhere near as in-depth as Darth Vader #6 does with flashbacks.
Vader recalls two very important moments from Revenge of the Sith, where Padmé reveals her pregnancy to him and the Emperor tells him he killed her, which combined with the Emperors actions with the cyborgs makes him realize how much his Master has been using him and lying to him for decades. Nearly destroying the transparisteel around him, Vader contacts the Emperor to confront him, but quickly realizes how big a mistake that would be and instead pretends to be subservient to his Master. But his mind is already turning, ruminating on Padme’s death, the revelation regarding Luke, and the Emperor’s misleading loyalty, which causes Vader to start considering the potential his newly revealed son could have in helping him rule the galaxy he always wanted for his family, all those years ago. It’s a nearly perfect look at how Vader transitions as a character, on many different levels, from the one seen in ANH to the one in TESB and it’s really great to see such big moments for characters being allowed to take place in the comic medium and not just in the films or novels.
Here are a few other things:
- In the upcoming ‘Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ initiative, the YA novel The Weapon of a Jedi stars Luke Skywalker, is set between IV and V, and has him, “…stranded on a mysterious planet, and explores a dangerous duel between Luke and a strange new villain.” Could that duel be between Luke and one of Cylo’s cyborgs?
- While a lack of Aphra, Triple Zero, and BT was necessary and actually appreciated in the last two issues, it’ll be nice to see more of them again soon!
- You wouldn’t have to read both SW #6 and DV #6 to appreciate the final moment of Vader learning he has a son, but man is it a great one-two punch to the emotional gut.
If you thought it was a big surprise for Luke to find out his father was Vader, it was almost a bigger surprise for Vader to find out he had a son in the first place. Even bigger still is how that single moment starts Vader on a path which undoes all the Emperor planned and ends in Vader’s final redemption without him even knowing it. Darth Vader #6 brings the first arc to a satisfying conclusion and secures its place as my second favorite series in the new canon so far.
+ Emotionally strong ending (with help from flashbacks)
+ Intriguing new roadblocks for Vader
+ Vader’s revelations about his son…and his importance in his Master’s plans
STAR WARS CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
Vader: #1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25)
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25) | Annual: #1
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Poe Dameron (on-going)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)