Darth Vader #4 Dark Heart of the Sith: Part IV
Vader is looking for answers in the wake of meeting his son, Luke Skywalker. Having assumed their child died with Padme, the Dark Lord travels to Naboo to learn more. His mission leads him to discover Padme’s double Sabe. She leads Vader into a trap with the help of other members of Amidala’s court. They believe Vader killed not only Padme, but Anakin Skywalker as well. They wish to make the Sith cyborg pay for his crimes.
Greg Pak has had a rocky history with Star Wars comics. He has had a few slow story arcs. Yet, with his team taking over the newest Vader title, things have been pretty solid for this new series so far. Vader series are often considered the very best in Star Wars, so this one really needed to hit the ground running and it has not disappointed. The series has been steeped in references to the films, Empire Strikes back and the prequels specifically. But Issue four not only continues to deliver that, but is hits the audience over the head with it. That’s in no way a bad thing. Connecting stories to the films is what the New Canon does best.
The Naboo setting accounts for a lot of flashbacks for Vader in this issue. His time with Padme began with the battle of Naboo after his astounding pod race win. Later in Attack of the Clones, their romance began. In Revenge of the Sith, the only time Naboo is shown is for Padme’s funeral. This is what brought Vader to the planet of his wife’s (and incidentally, his master’s) birth. He is going to look for the Tomb of Amidala. He narrowly survives Sabe’s trap, getting Vader eaten by a Sando Aqua Monster. But as Qui-Gon once said about the creature, “there’s always a bigger fish.” In this case the bigger fish is a cybernetic killing machine going through some hard emotions who does not appreciate being eaten right now. More familiar faces appear, each one giving Vader a brief flashback of his adventures with Padme on Naboo. Having fought his way through many of Amidala’s closest friends and supporters, Vader makes it to Padme’s tomb. Inside he finds the Japor snippet he gave to Padme when they first met, giving Vader one more painful memory.
This issue reads like an open love letter to prequel fans and Vader fans alike. It’s such a sad reminder of all that Padme left behind that continues to impact the galaxy. Not just of Luke and Leia, but her people who have undermined and fought the Empire all along, just at their favorite queen/senator would have. The cover art is equally beautiful yet sad. Fans of the novels Queen’s Shadow and Queen’s Peril will notice a handful of familiar characters. Padme’s handmaidens, pilots, and soldiers played an intimate part in Amidala’s daily life for a very long time. It is no surprise that they would set up such a trap for someone who they believe killed not only their beloved monarch, but her Jedi protector as well. Their courage is to be commended. However, the Dark Lord WILL have answers.
This whole series has been amazing Star Wars film reference stacked on amazing reference the whole way through. That’s how to do Star Wars right. This issue is building up to what must ultimately mean closure for Vader with Padme’s death, and added determination in his search for their son. After meeting Luke and confronting Padme’s death, Vader must certainly feel something he hasn’t felt in a while, hope. Hope is the weak point in his dark armor that will allow the Jedi in him to return in time.
Darth Vader #4: The Queen’s Shadows
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 7/107/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10