The last issue of the most excellent Darth Vader comic book came out this past week, putting a fitting capstone on what has been the best of all the Star Wars comics Marvel started off shortly after Disney bought everything from George Lucas. In it Vader had to close up all his loose ends, both within the Empire and his secret dealings away from the watchful eye of the Emperor. And of course he managed to do all that and then some.
I’m going to miss this series; like I said earlier it was the best of all the Marvel Star Wars books by a wide margin. It provided the best, most layered depiction of Vader as a cunning warrior, deft schemer, and ruthless executor of vengeance. In short we finally got to.see the no holds barred kickass version of Vader we’ve been waiting for, unemcumbered by the Emperor’s wishes.
And that wasn’t all. Throughout the series Vader had to outsmart the politicians wearing Imperial uniforms who sought to move him aside and keep from being found out by the Emperor as he started working on a plan to go after his son Luke Skywalker. We got introduced to some new characters as well in Vader’s clandestine assistant Dr. Aphra and her two evil droids Beetee and Triple Zero, basically a sadistic version of C-3PO and R2-D2.
While being one of the most iconic villains in movie history, Vader has also been an extremely untapped character; Lucas decided to take him from a stock character to a complicated figure, but we got next to no development of that save for Hayden Christiansen’s tortured performance as Anakin Skywalker in the prequels. But for 25 issues we got a real look into the inner workings and motivations of the character, and that made this not just the best Star Wars comic out there but one of the best comic books period. Vader is evil, sad, desperate, and angry all at once as he both lives to serve the Emperor and looks to overthrow him.
It sucks for it to end like this but the creative team behind it felt they had no more story to tell, so it would be better to end it here. As much as I’d like them to keep going it’s better to end it too early than too late, and on their own terms. They will be picking up the continued adventures of Dr. Aphra in a new series, so there is that. Aphra is, like her boss, a conflicted soul both evil and a survivor looking to just make it to the next planet without being killed. Her story should be an interesting one. So thank you to writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larocca for a great 25 issues.