Darth Vader #5: Dark Heart of the Sith Part V
Having risked all to discover how Padme had a child without him knowing and the conspirators who helped keep the secret. He finds the Amidalians, a group of Padme’s closest allies who have hunted down who they think her killer was in Vader. Having fought through them all, Vader approaches Padme’s sarcophagus.
This entire series had had such a sad overtone to it that has really helped drive the narrative. No single issue in the arc has felt fully unique, but part of a larger whole. That somber tone stretches out in the latest issue. The very first panel is Vader in Padme’s tomb. Continuing the theme, the story is interspersed with flashbacks of Revenge of the Sith to emphasize Vader’s tragic haunting memories of those last moments with the person he sold his soul to save. As the story progresses, Vader is ushered to a new location of Padme’s final days, but not on Naboo. Looking for the same answers as the Amidalians, he invites them along.
Greg Pak has done such a great job writing this issue. It is deep. It is familiar. It is painful. It is a strong issue. Re-weaving a tapestry connecting Vader to Padme’s death only enrichens and already rich story. This series takes place within weeks of Vader meeting Luke on Bespin. He knows he has a son. This series explores the “why” in that equation. Not to be outdone by the story telling Raffaele Ienco’s art really hits the nail on the head in matching the emotional somber tone. The color doesn’t utilize the entire pallet at hand, but that also adds to that somber tone. Overall, this was a great usage of the whole team. When all thoise cylinders are firing, magic happens.
Vader, in his essence, is a tragic and tortured power character. Pak and the crew have absolutely captured that with not only the series, but this issue in particular. You don’t have to see tears, real or metaphorical, running down Anakin’s cheek under that mask to feel his pain. The greatest accomplishment of this issue was to show the audience grief, closure, and the very real and eventual possibility of redemption. Does this arc show the crack in the Dark Lord’s armor that Luke will eventually use to free his father? It most certainly does.
This isn’t the usually ending point too an arc. Typically they end at issue 6. This issue had the a “wrapping up” feel to it, but it seems that the Emperor is now ready to put Vader back on the path to hatred, fear, and glory. How this will happen, only time and Greg Pak will tell.
Darth Vader #5: Pain, Massacre, Pain, Repeat
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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