Darth Vader #1 (Marvel, 2017)
Hello hello! It’s a comics day here on Snark Wars, and boy are we gonna have…er, “fun”, I guess. At the very least, I can assure you it will be less damaging and upsetting than Obi-Wan and Anakin’s Camping Trip of Emotional Brokenness and Unspoken Love from the last Snark Wars recap, though I realize this isn’t saying much.
Today’s entry takes us to the latest run of Marvel’s Darth Vader series, creatively titled “Darth Vader”. You know: exactly like the 2015 Vader comic series, to help make my categorizations on this site EXTRA clear. Thanks guys! Super helpful.
Unlike the 2015 run — which takes place sandwiched between Episodes 4 and 5 and includes important things like Anakin being foiled by his own children multiple times, Boba Fett doing very little to help bolster that reputation as an OMG SO BADASS BOUNTY HUNTER, and Anakin and Rogue Archaeologist Dr. Aphra, flanked by evil versions of Threepio and Artoo, visiting Obi-Wan’s Hut of Sadness out on Tatooine — this run begins back in Revenge of the Sith and covers the time period immediately after that. Yes, those sunny days when Sheev and Anakin’s marriage was new and they were still in the breezy honeymoon phase of their evil union, as opposed to, say, Return of the Jedi, where they both kinda openly hate each other and are clearly both planning to file for divorce. Don’t get me wrong, they’re both miserable creeps here too, Vader’s just not quite as much of a disgruntled Imperial employee at this point in time, and Sheev is still riding the high of having taken over the galaxy and isn’t completely sick of Vader’s complaining yet. (He will be. He will be.)
So with that, let us settle in and journey back once more to one of the very worst days the Galaxy Far Far Away ever had (THANKS ANAKIN.) Away we go!
Recurring Theme: Villainous Origin Story
We begin in that hilariously wicked-looking Frankenstein laboratory that Sheev evidently had LOCKED AND LOADED long before Anakin made that ill-fated attempt to gain the High Ground over on Mustafar. We’re just at the point that Anakin’s gotten the not-so-good (and, as usual, not entirely accurate, although also not entirely inaccurrate) information that Padme’s dead and it’s his fault, something Sidious seems to be having an absolute goddamn BALL with.
Anakin, of course, is taking this extremely well since he is super good at coping with things, and he Force-flings Sheev into a wall (ha!):
Recurring Theme: With Friends Like These
Vader is PISSED and he AT LAST asks the obvious question: um, PRETTY SURE YOU SAID YOU COULD SAVE HER? IT’S WHY I PLEDGED MYSELF TO ULTIMATE EVIL? Anakin, please do not tell me that THIS is the first time you’re realizing this dude may not be entirely above-board. (Who am I kidding? This is Anakin we’re talking about. He probably still isn’t entirely sure.)
Sheev spits back: yeah yeah, and I totally COULD have, but then you decided you’d rather just kill her instead LOL yeah because that sounds like something you’d do right? BUT not to worry my evil friend: Padme gave you a gift by checking out! She’s given you the Greatest Gift of All — Pain! Hold up, Anakin got the gift of pain? Did he check the label to be sure it wasn’t supposed to go to Obi-Wan instead? That really seems more like the kind of gift Obi-Wan is used to receiving. (OK, yes, something tells me Obi-Wan also got the gift of pain on this day as well.) (I’m sorry.)
Sidious lays it out for him: Vader can either use his pain to fuel his Darksider Superpowers, OR he can just be killed right now. What a pal!
Anakin, being Too Angry To Die and all, is like “…fine, I’ll stay alive I guess.”
Recurring Theme: Darth Sidious, Mean Boss
Sheev is like GREAT, welcome to the team, HR will be around in a bit to take your ID photo, but FIRST: here’s some more electrocution for you!
HOLY DAMN, Star Wars: I know this isn’t remotely the first time I’ve asked this, but HOW MANY FREAKING TIMES DID ANAKIN GET ELECTROCUTED IN HIS LIFE? NO WONDER HE WAS ALWAYS CONFUSED AND MAKING TERRIBLE CHOICES. His brain was probably slightly sizzling at all times. I’m surprised the guy didn’t have smoke trailing out of his ears. Frankly I am also a little shocked (har!) that lightning ended up being the thing that killed him, although I guess it was a “straw that broke the camel’s back” situation.
So while Sidious is blasting away at Vader, he’s taunting him: defend yourself! Where the fuck is your lightsaber, Lord Vader? (You know — YOU KNOW — that somewhere in the back of his mind, Anakin was like OH GREAT THIS GUY’S GONNA BE ON MY CASE ABOUT MY GODDAMN LIGHTSABER TOO.)
Recurring Theme: It’s All Obi-Wan’s Fault
Vader struggles and manages to explain that his lightsaber is gone — that handsome bastard Obi-Wan Kenobi who Vader totally hates and everything took it as a souvenir of the worst thing that ever happened to him.
Sidious yells back: whatever, that was a JEDI’S lightsaber anyways — and you’re not a Jedi anymore! Is…is Sidious suggesting that Vader should have already lined up a Sith blade by this point? When would he have had time to do this? While he was writhing around on fire with no arms or legs? I mean, Anakin’s the Chosen One and all I guess, but I feel like that’s expecting a little too much especially given that it’s like his first full day on the job.
I Will Finish What He Started
Sidious starts to pretend to be sympathetic — he knows this has been a draining half-day or so for Anakin, what with all the murders he’s committed and the fact that his boyfriend cut his limbs off and his hair got burned off — but also? He warns Vader that if he EVER touches him with the Force again…
BURN. Vader’s really experiencing a lot of those this week. (Ha ha yes, I am so funny.) (Also we don’t need to unpack why Kenobi could not finish the job in question, really, thanks.)
Recurring Theme: The Eternal Obe-session
He tells Vader to buck up — they’ve got Evil Work to do, and he needs his #2 by his side if they’re gonna get anything done. AND hilariously, he’s like “…aaaaaand I can tell that you mostly just wanna go find Obi-Wan right damn now and kick his ass” (sure, Sids, he definitely wants to do something with Obi-Wan) “but you need to put your own petty vendetta aside and focus”.
I am dying at this, because Vader has been in The Suit for about 5 minutes, and Sidious is ALREADY telling him to stop obsessing over Obi-Wan. No wonder Sidious was so done with this guy by Return of the Jedi, although I’m getting the giggles all over again that he likely wanted to replace Anakin with Luke, as though that guy was going to talk about Obi-Wan any less. Look dude, dealing with their collective Obi-Wan fixation is the price of doing business with the Skywalker clan, OK? I don’t even think they have any real control over it. I sure as hell know I don’t.
Lightsaber Buyback Program
Sidious is like “OK so now that your desire for revenge on Obi-Wan Kenobi is set aside forever, I wanna show you something”, and we’re shown Mas Amedda, hanging out on the steps of the Jedi Temple and grandstanding about the vanquished Jedi.
He begins by announcing:
Uh…did most people fear the Jedi? Like, didn’t Sidious kinda spring that whole “they tried to murder me” thing on the Galaxy at large at kinda the last minute before blowing them all away? And for the last several years, hasn’t the Galaxy been repeatedly sold on the idea of the Jedi as defenders against Separatist tyranny? Wow, they sure flipped on those guys with a quickness. And now, if the Original Trilogy is to be believed, the bulk of the galaxy is also going to forget the Jedi pretty much were ever a thing within the next, oh, couple decades. God, this Galaxy is full of dopes. OK then, Star Wars.
So now that the Evil Wicked Space Monks are all dead and will never again terrorize the universe with their long sleeves and meditation and Kenobi Hair, the Empire is taking back all their lightsabers and throwing them in a bin like trash. (No, my Jedi Order-loving little heart isn’t breaking at all or anything, thanks for asking!)
Recurring Theme: Hilarity Thy Name Is Star Wars
As this happens, Sidious explains to Vader that the red kyber crystal used by the blades of the Sith is, in fact, simply a Regular Ol’ Kyber Crystal…
LOL. Sure, Star Wars, let’s go with that. Whatever you say. Once again, I find myself unable to argue with something insane being presented to me, if only because when you really think about what all has been handed to us thus far in the canon, I’m pretty sure nothing’s off the table here. I suppose if we can have zombies and helicoptering lightsabers and Robo-Maul and the tomb of Darth Bane and actual Force Ghosts and warrior teddy bears, what the hell: let’s get those kyber crystals bleedin’! It’s probably not even in the top 10 weirdest things Star Wars has thrown at me.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, In The Dark
Vader is like “ahhh, I get it: you could have given me anyone’s lightsaber to fuck up and make my own: even Yoda’s!” (uh, I mean, except for the fact that Yoda is still alive and escaped and Sidious knows this? Doesn’t Yoda have his lightsaber with him still, or am I forgetting something? Wait, now that I think about it, does Sidious ever tell Anakin that Yoda is still alive? I mean I don’t know why he’d NEED to, necessarily, but the fact that both Obi-Wan AND Yoda are both out there kinda seems like something you’d want The Galaxy’s Next Top Sith to be aware of.) (And ALSO: WHAT ABOUT MAUL? Sidious knows Maul’s still alive, too. Does Vader know that? Is he considered so minor a threat that they don’t even bother to care about this? And more importantly, why am I wasting precious seconds of my time on this Earth thinking about all of this?)
ANYWAYS. Mas Amedda and the clones who used to work with the Jedi every damn day and used to care about them and help them (WHY WOULD YOU MAKE ME LOOK AT THIS STAR WARS) set the pile o’ sabers on fire along with my heart, and Vader deduces that he’s not going to be given a new crystal to work with — he’ll have to go and take one himself. Sigh. Nothing can ever be easy for you, can it, Anakin? First you had to murder all those Jedi and now this. And it’s only Monday!
As an aside, I presume it was for the purposes of showing off, but given the Unlimited Powah of the kyber crystals and the fact that the Empire is literally building a superweapon powered by them, it seems ill-advised to have just set those things on fire. Surely the Empire could have at least made some fast cash from them, no?
This Is My First Assignment
As it turns out, Vader’s journey to build a new lightsaber as a Sith is going to be just about as ridiculous as the Crystal Cave Quest the Jedi made him do to construct his previous one(s). He and Sidious arrive to the Mid-Rim. Before this adventure begins, though, Sidious makes sure to ask about Vader’s armor:
LOL. Right, you’re asking because you care, Sids. Sure.
Vader is like “it’s fine, sir, and also what the hell are we doing here?” Sidious lays out today’s assignment: Vader has to go hunt down a Jedi and then kill them and take their lightsaber, then fill it with his pain and turn its crystal red. LOL. I love that he waited until AFTER the purge was over to spring this on Vader, ensuring that the task in front of him would be about 12 billion percent more difficult given that nearly all of the Jedi are already dead now. Man, Sidious is the fucking worst and it cracks me up.
He also notes that he’d left a ship here for Vader, but it’s gone now, probably because some Lawless Individuals Who Need to Be Ruled By The Iron Fist of the Empire stole it. With that, Anakin gets walking, adjusting the tint of his Vader Shades because apparently that’s a thing he can do, and making sure to wave his cape around majestically just in case Obi-Wan happens to be in the neighborhood.
Look how alone he looks! Awww. I’m really trying to will myself to not feel bad for this idiot, but let’s be real, I’m as much of a sucker for Anakin as Obi-Wan is. YOU STUPID STUPID MAN WHY DID YOU DO SO MANY BAD THINGS.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Hopeless Drama Queen
We’re shown the folks who made off with the ship Sidious had provided for Vader:
Anakin approaches and descends — literally — on these guys. Good to know he’s keeping things low-key, just like his usual style:
He flings people around and dodges bullets and causes fires and eventually one of the guys manages to ask: what is it that Vader even WANTS?
Vader helpfully replies, as he chokes the dude to death:
I’ve gotta say, Anakin is pretty fucking limber for a guy who’s been in that suit for like 2 days as far as I can tell. You’d think a transformation of that magnitude would require some physical therapy or training or something.
On that extremely dramatic note, this issue ends. Join me next time, when Vader will be on hand to deliver me yet more Clone Feels, and we get introduced to yet another person with both mystical powers AND a ridiculous backstory. I can hardly wait — see you then!