Darth Vader #28 The Shadow in the Fire
Governor Tuantaza has lead the efforts to drain a planet of its life to assist Crimson Dawn. She is able to best Darth Vader and get away. After a disastrous but ultimately successful rescue mission, the Dark Lord is left to recover while Sabe discovers the person truly behind the Governor.
There have been a handful of running themes in this entire series. Vader is constantly reminded of Anakin Skywalker and his legacy. The specific usage of the color red appeared throughout it washing his memories in crimson. Vader consistently doubts and mistrusts his own master, and is just as consistently punished for it. This issue is a culmination of all of those themes. The whole series is dedicated to showing how badly confronting his son, Luke Skywalker, has impacted him. He is shaken up from the moment that occurred and now many months later, he is still dealing with it. The series started out with his investigation into Padme’s death and his efforts to discover how a child could have been hidden from him. During that grim misadventure he encountered Sabe, an assassin and former handmaiden to Anakin’s late wife Padme. This issue takes place much later, and she now has found herself advising Vader. She once planned to kill Vader and almost did, until she remembered Padme’s declaration that there is still good in him. Now she works for the Empire to bring order to the galaxy. She sees Palpatine as an obstacle, and intends to reminds Anakin who he really is and stop the tyrant. Of course, The Emperor is always one step and turns the whole situation to his favor. What plays out is yet another test for Vader, the hallmark of this series. But even as the trials Palpatine inflicts on Vader are meant to subdue his rebellious nature, is has also begun metaphorical cracks within Vader’s armor and threatens to awake the long thought dead Jedi within him.
One of the most jarring things about this issue is the fact that Sabe directly calls Vader by his old name, Anakin. There is a long list of people who have attempted to call Vader that name who are also very dead. As the issue goes along it becomes apparent as to why he tolerates this, but it subtly creates another fracture in the persona that now resides within Anakin Skywalker’s broken body. The next time, presumably, Vader will hear that name will be when Luke Skywalker surrenders himself to Vader in Return of the Jedi. That is bound to happen much sooner than later. When that name comes up then, he pledges no ownership to it. However his is pretty calm about it to and does not lash out at his son. That comfortability with just basic facts in that scene started in this issue with Sabe. Before this chapter is done, Sabe and Vader are right back to working together on a new mission. One of the elements that seemed missing in this issue and that was the typical third to the trio of main characters in this series, Ochi of Bestoon, is missing. However in the end even that is explained as new adversaries also appear.
The art and coloring are just as detailed and rich as this whole series has been. The playing with the color red changed a bit. This issue is dominated by reds and blues throughout, representing the red of Vader and the cool calculating blues of Sabe. This are typical lightsaber colors. What’s very interring is that when they go off on a new mission at the end, the issue turns almost entirely green, yet another lightsaber color. As far as characterization goes, Sabe is always portrayed as a twin of Padme, even though they weren’t at all related. That’s undoubably part of why Vader hasn’t killed her. This issue gives a few nods to Padme and her home world of Naboo through Sabe. Sabe’s original outfit was similar to Padme’s in Attack of the Clones. She wore a white bodysuit with a white cape. When she becomes an Imperial, most of the costume is changed to black, but with some of the white of the old costume still visible. When she is on a poisonous planet which requires her to wear a helmet, it bears a striking resemblance to the Naboo flight helmet which Padme wore, also in Attack of the Clones. Another weird and most likely unintended resemblances in her costume are parts that seem similar to Rey’s costume in The Force Awakens as well as Leia’s outfit in her own comic mini-series. With the black bodysuit here is also an eerie resemblance Mara Jade’s costume she was shown to wear frequently as an Imperial spy herself.
Sabe still has friends and Vader still has enemies. Some of those are one in the same. As Vader and Sabe move on to complete their mission, a new group steps in to make the two of them their own mission.
Darth Vader #28: Vader’s Shadow
- Writing - 7/107/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 7/107/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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