Darth Vader #8 Into The Fire, Part III: The Eye
Emperor Palpatine teaches harsh lessons. Darth Vader has had most of his fancy cybernetics stripped from him and must not use The Force, or suffer more of his master’s wrath. After building himself new limbs from scavenged droids, Vader is now hunted and mocked by the sadistic Sith assassin Ochi.
It is very strange to see Vader being subjected to brutality, derision, terror, and pity. These are all his personal favorite weapons, now turned onto himself. He has hit rock bottom and clawed his way back, only to be buried again. It is time for a new approach. This issue marks a strange turning point for this story arc. Mysterious new characters show up to only make things stranger. One of them puts Vader through yet another grueling set of trials to test, antagonize, but also possibly assist the Dark Lord Of the Sith. Thus is the nature of The Dark Side. Meanwhile Ochi is pressed to up his game and try and pose and even bigger threat than the assassin already has. Ultimately, this issue wraps up to set up a new showdown between the two, both more heavily armed than they were before.
The imagery in this issue is masterful. Flashback that cut to parallel images in the present, imposing action with monsters of all shapes and sizes, panel after panel of Vader attacking or defending himself, and a strange and curious looking new ally are beautifully splashed across the pages. The cover image is a great example that encapsulate the issue’s beautiful weirdness. It depicts a spidery creature atop a massive giant submerged in lava. The image is hellish and like something out of Dante’s Inferno. In fact, this very planet is Hell itself in many respects with constant horror and tests. There is also no one fully on Vader’s side here either. He is pretty much alone. This is a tough trial for Vader, but it is also the very type of thing Anakin Skywalker would have jumped right into. This series may be named after Vader, but it has proved that it is equally about Anakin and his inevitable return too.
This issue in very smartly written. On one hand it is full of visual references, which this series has been fantastic with already in general. As Vader goes through his forced new home planet of Mustifar, he runs into Mustifarian creatures from previous comic series as well as some from the Vader Immortal video game, also taking place on Mustifar. On the other hand, there is a series of subtle references to lines of dialog from the films that play out within the text. The title Anakin had of “chosen one” is also toyed with in dialog. The red tinged flashbacks that have been peppered throughout the entire series is very present in this issue. Before this chapter the flashbacks were focused on Anakin, but this entry focuses more on Vader and the major moments during the events of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back that have impacted him the most. It is almost like the flashbacks are leading up to this particular moment in the story. This kind of story building is what makes any great Star Wars story really shine. It’s all about that buildup to a shift in power. Everything in the issue screams “turning point.” Yet this is still only the third part to a larger arch. Many surprises, both great and terrible, are sure to be in store for the Sith Lord.
This issue ends with Vader with his confidence regained. It is clear that the fires of Mustifar have begun to sharpen the blade that is Darth Vader. Of course this is exactly what The Emperor wants, but perhaps the blade he hopes to sharpen will eventually be aimed at himself.
Darth Vader #8: Vader Falls, Vader Rises
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10