Darth Vader #10: Into the Fire – Part V: The Red Horror
Vader has been through a lot in the weeks after confronting his son at Bespin. He has been stripped of power, tortured, humiliated, and hunted. Yet he has pulled himself out of his pitiful position to escape his cursed home planet and heading straight for the Emperor on Exegol. Of course there will be more tests yet to pass before that confrontation can take place.
This issue starts out with hope and despair for the Dark Lord. He has escaped his own personal Hell, complete with painful flashbacks, only to find himself staring down a giant Lovecraftian space creature. To make matters worse a trio of fully armed and fully equipped Star Destroyers are at his back. Meanwhile the trapped Sith assassin Ochi pleads to be rid of such a horrible situation. What follows is a symphony of space battle, alien induced recollective mind probing, and a hint of prophecy for good measure. It all adds up to a very interesting chapter in an already interesting story arc. With the ominous final-confrontation-building ending to this issue, this series is ramping up to be one of the very best Marvel Star Wars has had to offer. The Vader comics series has been by far the very best offering of Star Wars Marvel comics since the very beginning, but managing to top all of that seems to be what Greg Pak and crew are aiming for.
It seems very fitting that this issue involved Vader fighting in a Jedi Starfighter, as he did as Anakin Skywalker for the first half of the this issue against the very Imperial navy he helped shape as Darth Vader. It is a suitable metaphor for the entire series. He must use tools of the past to escape the prison of his present. Ever since Vader confronted Luke Skywalker on Cloud City, he has been plagued with flashbacks of his life as Anakin. This particular story arc is Vader’s punishment for his desired connection to his past, yet the trials he has been through have only served to strengthen the spirit of Anakin that has been dormant for over twenty years. Having escaped the planet, it would seem the flashbacks would be over. But in typical tortuous Dark Side fashion, the giant space creature can open up Vader’s mind to unlock yet more pain, and as a bonus it can show him his own death. This all ties in with the flashbacks of Vader’s life as Anakin and his life at present to create a montage of memories that become mixed together. It should be noted that the space creature is at one point called out as being a subspecies to the Summa-verminoth, the same creature that attempted to consume The Millennium Falcon as it fled Kessel in Solo: A Star Wars Story. It is always nice to get a nod to another Star Wars tale.
The ramping up factor in this series can not be understated. It starts out all about Padme and Vader’s interest in what happened to her body after she died. Flashback were in an almost pinkish red at that point. As the series went on, the reds got redder and what started out as sadness quickly ended up as damnation for the Sith Lord. The color red has gotten increasingly important and prevalent as this story arc went along. Lave, fire, lightsabers, creatures, and memories have all been dashed in crimson. Adding to this theme, this issue brings in the giant red nebula that protects and hides Exegol from visitors. Sequel trilogy fans will know this red nebula from The Rise Of Skywalker, as it began with Vader’s grandson making the same journey to confront the same enemy. The fantastic story telling combined with the art has created an engaging and rich tapestry to help fans understand more what is going on through Vader’s head during the upcoming events of Return Of the Jedi. Every issue shows more and more a hint of Anakin’s return, which begs the old question; Who was the Jedi who returned in that film? Was it Luke, Anakin, or the Jedi plural.
This series could not be wound tighter. It is very clear that the arc, and series as a whole is about to snap into a grand showdown. Vader has faced every demon he has ever known to get to this point. How ever will Palpatine ultimately get Vader’s leash back on him?
Darth Vader #10: Red Memories Into Red Rage
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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