Star Wars: Darth Vader – Dark Heart of the Sith Review

While I plan on looking at Star Wars comics old and new in the future, when I’m not doing Doctor Who and Street Fighters ones is the plan, I couldn’t resist reading this latest (complete) story in the second Darth Vader comic line. Set in between Empire and Return of the Jedi it shows Vader coming to terms with his son’s existence and searching for those responsible for keeping this information away from him. Let’s take a look!

Official Synopsis:

In the shattering climax of The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader infamously reveals his true relationship to Luke Skywalker and invites his son to rule the galaxy with him. But Luke refuses – plunging into the abyss beneath Cloud City rather than turn to the Dark Side. We all remember Luke’s utter horror in this life-altering moment., but what about Vader? In this new epic chapter in the Darth Vader saga, the dark lord grapples with Luke’s unthinkable refusal and embarks on a bloody mission of rage-filled revenge.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Vader has a vision implying he actually has some good in him?! Who knew? … Well, Luke did apparently, but apart from him!

As the synopsis so handily states this comic is all about Darth Vader looking for who exactly was responsible for keeping Luke away from him. He refuses the Emperor’s summons and heads to Tatooine to find some leads at his old homestead by taking an Imperial forensics droid known as ZED-6-7 and having it scan for details. The search takes them to Padmé’s old Coruscant apartment where they encounter Sabé, Padme’s old handmaiden and body double. She is searching for Padmé’s killer (still, after so many decades…) so reluctantly decides to team up with Vader, the two travelling to Naboo in search for more answers as to Padmé’s death, and in Vader’s eyes, who was there to keep the information of his son’s birth from him. It was all a trap though as Sabé assumed Darth Vader killed both Anakin and Padmé (which he did, from a certain point of view…) and that means she can finally get her revenge.

Vader manages to defeat her and her fellow highly trained handmaidens but decides not to kill them, only knock them out, a sign that the darkside’s grip on him has started to loosen ever-so-slightly after seeing his own flesh and blood resist it. He enters Padmé’s tomb and suffers flashbacks to his love and the time he choked her to near-death before the droid finds some broken records of her giving birth but nothing of consequence. He destroys the droid and tells Sabé and her fellow “Amadalians” that he won’t be so forgiving next time and heads back to face his punishment…

I wonder just how many people over the years have underestimated Darth Vader?

It’s a short story at just five issues but it deals with the idea that the reason Luke feels some good in his father is due to his own influence breaking the darkside’s hold, if only just a little bit. It also brings more of the prequels into the story of the original trilogy in a satisfying way.

The Bad:

“Thanks for all your hard work, but we’ll be parting ways from now on. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours.”

Not really anything. I mean, it was short but far from inconsequential and the art was really pleasing as well. I don’t know how expensive the collected physical release is (I read it via Marvel Unlimited) but I’d assume for five issues it wouldn’t be too bad, so… Yeah. A good story!

Overall Thoughts:

Reunited and a feels so good…

Dark Heart of the Sith is five issues of Darth Vader having a bit of a conflict of conscience after convincing himself there was no turning back and that he’d killed his wife only to find out his wife survived long enough to give birth and that his son was able to resist the darkside. Although he doesn’t learn anything particularly new his actions show us his grip is starting to loosen, and that’s a very fun idea that matches up with Vader in Jedi well. Looking forward to more…

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