Charles Soule’s Darth Vader comic showed fans a version of the Sith Lord we haven’t seen before. Now, Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith’s final issue far exceeded expectations.
It is finished.
After over a year of thrilling arcs detailing Darth Vader’s further descent into darkness, Charles Soule’s comic series has finally come to an end.
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And Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith packed in so much jaw-dropping details that I had to sit on this review for a few days to give myself time to process everything its conclusion threw at me.
Now that I’ve done that – and hopefully you’ve had a second to pick yourself up off the floor too – here’s a quick recap of everything that jumped out at us on those pages.
It gave us a little bit of everything – even an unexpected “I am your father” reveal. Did you see that one coming?
SPOILERS AHEAD for Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith No. 25! You have been warned.
The issue’s first panel plunges us right into the action. Vader has crossed the portal into what can only be described as a Mortis-like realm of the Force – and it gets weird.
Here he faces different elements of his past, including the masters that taught him, the apprentice that followed him, and the loved ones who left him.
He thinks he can change his future, reshape his destiny. But he is wrong.
The Force shows him that the path before him has already been determined. And reminds him that his past cannot be rewritten.
And then he confronts a version of Padmé that neither believes in or wants him. It’s the realization that he cannot save her – even in this twisted vision – that ultimately brings him to a defeated acceptance.
Vader is, as far as he knows, forever bound to the dark side of the Force and the man who drew him into it. There is no escape. There is no turning back.
There is only forward, and further into the darkness that now officially defines him.
I think it’s easy to forget that when Soule’s series began – right where Revenge of the Sith ended – Vader was still new to the dark side. Every issue of Dark Lord of the Sith took us on a journey through every step of the Dark Lord’s quest to fully embrace the darkness – right up until the moment it finally happens.
Only then does he become the Sith Lord we know from A New Hope – ruthlessly and unapologetically short-tempered and cruel. No guilt, no questioning, no wondering. Just obeying.
Is it a sad ending? Yes. But his story has always been sad, no matter how you felt about his characterization in the prequels. Now we know he was basically born to serve the dark side. He may have been the Chosen One, but he never had a choice. Not really.
This isn’t the end of Darth Vader’s story, of course – he’s getting another comic series soon. But this particular era of his development is sealed, and I’m both heartbroken and wholeheartedly satisfied.
We weren’t completely sure what Vader’s end goal would be – finish the castle? Accept Padmé’s death once and for all? Face ultimate darkness and become one with it for as long as he lived?
The result ended up being all this – and so much more. We know what happens next. We know where he goes from here, and we know how his story ends.
But now we also know how he got here. He didn’t go from battling his best friend – his master, his brother – to numbly murdering anyone who crossed him. He had to let go of every ounce of hope and good that remained in him – or allow it to be taken from him, really.
I’m glad we were given these pieces of a very large puzzle that pieces together the struggle against light and dark, its biggest players, and different stages of the game.
But we might have to wait another year to get the final conclusion of his story, when the Skywalker saga supposedly ends and we’re hopefully treated to all the answers we deserve after so many decades of faithful following these stories.
Until then, perhaps this entire series deserves a good reread or two. May the Force be with you. Always.