DARTH VADER #5
One of the most profound moments for the man who was formally Anakin Skywalker takes place in DARTH VADER #5 from Marvel Comics. The bar was set incredibly high with the first volume of Darth Vader but five issues into this second volume author Charles Soule is truly defining the tragedy that is Anakin’s fall. Having dispatched the Jedi and stolen his lightsaber Vader must now complete his mission my corrupting its Kyber Crystal and turning the stone to the dark side. He is directed towards Mustafar to complete this task, the site of his greatest failure, a place imbued with the power of the dark side. What he does not expect is the crystal to fight back and give him a glimpse of what could be, a last look at the light. In a twist of fate it is this tease of a life that could be that cements his hatred and results in his formal ascension to Dark Lord of the Sith.
There is something about the character of Darth Vader, and in turn Anakin Skywalker, that has captured my fascination since I was young. There is more to him than the stoic Dark Lord from the original movies or the petulant young man from the prequels and it is that deeper look at the character that we are getting now. This is the Vader I want to know about. The one who is still conflicted, the one who is not yet comfortable in his new armor, the one who has not made peace with what he has done. In what might be some of best pages of Star Wars lore I have ever read Charles Soule explorers that exact moment in Vader’s life. When the light of the crystal shows him a vision of what could be if he just stepped back from the darkness it truly portrayed Vader as a fallen hero who could seek repentance only to have that darkness come rushing back as he overpowers the light and fills it with all his hatred and anguish. Not from what has been done to him, but hatred of himself for what he has done to others.
The art of the extremely talented Giuseppe Camuncoli rises to the occasion of that one scene and the entire issue. The focus on the eye as it turns to blue only to have it come raging back to the red of the Sith was brilliant. This entire issue is one of the best Star Wars stories I have ever read. It stands well as the end of the first arc but it also works perfectly as a one shot that completes the down fall of Anakin Skywalker that started in Revenge of the Sith. This is a must read for any and all Star Wars fans so make sure you get down to World’s Coolest Comics and pick this issue up!