Star Wars #4 (Marvel, 2015)
A comic book day! It’s time once again to check in with the Skywalkers, here in the between-Episodes-4-and-5 timeframe — a wild time full of Important Discoveries and, evidently, a lot of sand, to what I can only assume was Anakin’s great annoyance. (In fairness, Darth Vader seems pretty much eternally annoyed in the comics, an aspect of his personality that they didn’t entirely let shine in the Original Trilogy, though they should have. It’s a look he wears well.)
So, in the first corner, we have headstrong princess Leia Organa and her band of unmerry rebels, fighting for justice. Said band includes her brother, Luke, who is going through an identity crisis and is so full of “I’m not good enough and I just make everything worse” angst in this installment that if I were Vader, I’d be slightly concerned that it was Obi-Wan
who’d knocked up Padme after all.
In the opposite corner, we have Vader himself, who’s stuck spending time on his least-favorite planet ever and forced to negotiate with the Hutts, a race of criminals that once enslaved him and his beloved, sainted mother. Wow. I mean, I know the guy is a warlord and everything now but Star Wars is really looking to make him suffer for it. All right — put on your sandals and let’s hit the trail!
Recurring Theme: It’s Rough, Coarse and Irritating and It Gets Everywhere
We open on Tatooine, just after the end of the Darth Vader comic
where Vader makes an arrangement with Black Krrsantan (LOL) and Boba Fett (sigh) — you will recall that he sent our friend BK off to investigate Some Dude that Sheev’s been seeing on the side, and he sent Boba to investigate this pilot kid who blew up the Death Star — he wants the deets on who this kid is and why he got to hang out with Obi-Wan, since even though he totally hated that guy no one else in the entire galaxy is allowed to be BFFs with Obi-Wan but him.
Now Vader’s back at Jabba’s palace the following day to make a deal with the Hutt, and let me tell you, Vader is not exactly the finessed Negotiator that Obi-Wan was:
Hahahaha, well, that’s one way to go about it. Jabba is like oh OF COURSE I’ll help my buddy Palps in his time of need…
Recurring Theme: The Death Star Is Not In The Archives
Jabba continues: I heard all about the terrible things that happened with the Death Star being blown up! Terrible. Just terrible!
Vader then has the balls to claim that this is just…
So, please allow me to remind you all that, after the Death Star vaporized Jedha City in Rogue One
, Vader tells Krennic that they told the Senate that the city was actually destroyed in a mining accident. Just to be clear: they told the Senate that the Death Star didn’t exist even though it literally blew a gigantic hole in a moon, and now the party line is that, what? The Death Star didn’t blow up? Or that it did, but it wasn’t the Rebels, which means that the Empire is just…so colossally inept that they blew up their own superweapon? Or are they still going with “the Death Star never existed”? HOW DID THEY EXPLAIN WHAT HAPPENED TO ALDERAAN, IF SO? I mean, the entire planet was blown to bits. I’m pretty sure they can’t blame that one on a mining accident, although this is the GFFA, where everyone really is pretty dim and easily duped, so…maybe.
OK OK. Anyways, Jabba is like “I will totes spot you guys supplies and whatever you need to build star destroyers and wield Unlimited Powah and so on, just pay me well.” Vader is like “we’ll pay you whatever the fuck we want, negotiations are over, Vader out” and starts sashaying cape-ily out the door when Jabbaa’s like “hey! Where I come from, which amusingly is also where you come from even though I don’t know that, we like to party after sealing a deal. Let’s celebrate…”
Recurring Theme: Han Solo, Hates the Force
Pretend that we just saw a patented Star Wars Scene-Transition-Wipe (let’s go with either a barn door wipe or an iris wipe,) and we now find ourselves hanging out with Han and Chewie, who are doing repairs on the Falcon. Han is whining about why the ship is damaged and then says the following:
I kind of love Han’s eternal disdain for everything Jedi-related, except then it makes the fact that he lets his kid become one and then gets killed by said kid…well, actually that sounds EXACTLY like the kind of unnecessarily cruel bullshit this series loves pulling on its main characters, so I’m not even sure what point I’m trying to make here.
Recurring Theme: Leia Organa, Absolutely Anakin’s Kid
Leia, meanwhile, is chatting with Admiral Ackbar and Mon Mothma in front of one of those light-up tables the Rebellion is always using. Mon is trying to talk Leia into maybe not taking on quite so many death-defying missions hot on the heels of one that almost killed them and you will be so completely shocked to learn that Anakin Skywalker’s daughter is like BUT THAT IS SOMETHING I CANNOT DO. We must press on! MORE death-defiance, I say!
Recurring Theme: Luke Skywalker Is Not Sure He’s Up For It
This prompts us to cut to the very team member Mon is referring to, who is presently getting his ass kicked by one of those training blaster balls:
Leia appears in the doorway and Luke is immediately like “whatever you are selling, Leia, I am not buying.” Leia reassures him: you’re such a badass though! I’ve seen you do some amazing things! Things only a Jedi can do!”
So, what I’m getting here is that Leia got all of Anakin’s “LET GO KICK THEIR ASSES” and Luke got all of Anakin’s “BUT I DON’T WANNA UGH”. Allow me a moment to praise Star Wars for giving us heroes that are sometimes kind of crabby or full of self-doubt or just plain annoying. I’m serious; it’s so much better than the cardboard-cutout capital-H-Heroes we could have gotten. Keeps things interesting.
Recurring Theme: Oh Why Star Wars
Leia continues: but Obi-Wan thought you were special!
*sniffle* HE SURE DID, Luke. I’m fine.
Luke then decides I’m not feeling sad enough about Anakin and Obi-Wan right now and throws this out there…
…which forces me to acknowledge, again, that A) everyone thinks Anakin and Obi-Wan are both dead, and B) that Darth Vader kicked his own son’s ass while said son was trying to avenge Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s deaths.
THANKS A LOT, STAR WARS.
Luke tells Leia to leave him alone (which is bringing to mind a line from an episode of MST3K: “To be left alone: the goal of every great hero!”) and he leaves to go somewhere that we’re not shown yet.
Recurring Theme: Someone Wants Han Solo Dead
Now we’re back on Tatooine, where in Mos Eisley a gang of Rodians are chatting with a mysterious masked figure, who’s looking for Han Solo. The Rodians:
…there’s a bunch of back and forth about Han and how he shot Greedo, and blahblahblah basically it ends with this:
Recurring Theme: Don’t You Dare, Star Wars
So Jabba and Vader are having their little “we made a deal” party and it involves them riding on Jabba’s sail barge and…shooting at banthas? I SWEAR TO GOD, STAR WARS: if this is Obi-Wan’s “family” bantha herd, and I have to believe you were implying this here because of course you were because why pass up a chance to make me cry about Obi-Wan even when he’s already dead, I AM NOT GOING TO BE OK WITH THIS.
Vader and the Hutt, Coming This Fall to Thursday Nights
Salacious Crumb cackles and Vader’s reaction is like, sitcom-worthy. I love that he’s wearing a mask and you can STILL tell how annoyed he is:
Jabba cracks me up further by mentioning how glad he is that he and Vader are BFFs now, and I’m sorry, Anakin, but you do kind of deserve to suffer like this especially if you’re just going to stand by while Obi-Wan’s bantha family gets wasted.
Aaanyways there’s a bunch of “don’t be so sure we’re friends now” back and forth and then Jabba is like “Oh hey! Bee tee dubs, how’s it going with those bounty hunters I set you up with?” Vader is instantly like “I told you not to bring that up” but then immediately continues talking about it. He’s like “I guess they’ll do OK, it’s not like I gave them anything hard
to do. One of them only has to find some kid…”
Recurring Theme: Anakin Loves Obi-Wan
Guess who wants Jabba to tell him more about Obi-Wan? HMMM? Wanna take a wild stab in the dark here, friends?
I love how they zoomed in on Vader’s face and he’s got this like, faraway look here. OMG. Anakin Skywalker, you are completely hopeless. It’s OK, I’m right there with you.
Jabba starts to tell him that Oh That Wacky Kenobi, he sure gave the bad guys a run for their money while he was here, but then he cuts himself off to say that he’s done watching banthas die (WHY) and now he’s ready to check out the sarlaac pit.
Jabba caps off this Worst Business Dinner Ever for Vader by being like “it’s pretty crazy that that KID blew up your Death Star, isn’t it? I mean…”
OH MY GOD. I am torn between laughing and crying here. I guess that means I’m enjoying this comic. LOOK AT HOW VADER HAS THE SUNS REFLECTING IN HIS MASK. I…want to hug Darth Vader right now? Ugh, this series.
Recurring Theme: Luke Skywalker, Abandoner
We leave Vader to his Heartbreak and Kenobi Longing and Feelings About Sand and cut back to his rebellious children. Leia is talking to Luke, who’s suited up and in his X-wing, about to leave because blowing off whatever he’s supposed to be doing to go on some sort of Personal Destiny Quest is pretty much Luke’s MO in every single piece of Star Wars media he appears in. She tells him she won’t stop him from going wherever he’s going, but she wants him to be safe.
Luke says he’s got questions that need answers, and to this I say DON’T WE ALL AS REGARDS THIS CRAZY UNIVERSE, LUKE. Luke thinks he knows where he needs to go:
Boba Fett, Space Detective
The final scene of the comic shows us the Rodians again, this time being interrogated not about Han Solo, but about Obi-Wan Kenobi:
The person asking clarifies: Obi-Wan’s not someone who can be found — he’s dead (well sort of.) And just who is this that wants to know about Kenobi?
…and that’s it! What will become of Vader’s Hutt Deal? Is there anything left that Obi-Wan loved that Anakin hasn’t been a party to the destruction of? Will Luke obtain the knowledge he seeks, and if so, will he actually be enlightened or will he just be the usual Skywalker level of confused? So much more to cover: join me next time!