By Contributing Writer, Joesph Shrader
You think you knew the story.
You’ve watched all the films countless times, maybe even read an Extended Universe/film tie-in novel or two. Over all these years, you thought you knew the true Dark Lord of the Sith; but what you’ve known thus far has only been part of Anakin Skywalker’s story.
Enter Marvel Comics, and writer Charles Soule. Together, in 2017, they launched a new comic book series, one that would be considered saga-changing canon for the Star Wars universe as we know it, simply titled “Darth Vader.” This book would span just 25 issues, but it would forever alter the history of cinema’s grandest villain.
The book begins with the aftermath of Revenge Of The Sith—in the months that followed Vader’s birth, this outstanding Marvel comic shows us what Emperor Palpatine expected from his apprentice, and all the things Vader had to endure during his ascension to the seat as the right hand of the ruler of the Empire.
In the very first pages penned by Soule, Lord Vader would be tortured at the hands of Emperor Palpatine. These panels essentially set the tone for all 25 issues—they are unexpected, they are at times brutal, and they are unbelievably shocking.
As the series progressed, it’s evident that Soule was given free reign to build upon the legacy of Vader in ways we hadn’t considered. Panels throughout the series delve into various segments of Vader’s story—the history of the now-infamous red Sith kyber crystals, taking us alongside Vader’s quest to create his own lightsaber; a climactic battle with the mysterious and surviving Jedi Archives librarian; his leadership struggles with Moff Tarkin; and the chilling, complex, and fascinating story of the castle on Mustafar. And this series also gives us possibly the greatest reveal since Luke confronted Vader on Bespin (which I won’t spoil here).