Darth Vader #20

Darth Vader #20

Writer: Charles Soule
Layouts: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Finishes: Daniele Orlandini
Colorists: Dono Sanchez-Almara, and Erick Arciniega
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Cover Artists: Giuseppe Camuncoli, and Elia Bonetti

Darth Vader #20 gets serious. First, Vader does a little house cleaning with the Inquisitors, which also clears up some plot points in the previous issue. Then Palpatine plays good cop, bad cap with Vader, reprimanding him for his wonton destruction, but also rewarding him for his work in wiping out the Jedi. His reward is the pay off for the issue, and it’s perfect.

The issue opens where it left off — Vader threatening the Inquisitors with his ignited lightsaber. This strikes a nerve of fear in all of them, but reveals the weakness he’s looking for. Two of the Inquisitors have formed a relationship, and that’s something Vader can’t allow. They take off and Vader hunts them down, which leads to lots of destruction and some carnage. I rather liked the little scene with the couple in the park having a picnic and then getting a speeder dropped on them. It’s a bit of off color humor that was just fitting for the moment. It even pays off later when Palpatine brings it up and uses it against Vader during his reprimand. Regardless, Vader gets the Inquisitors he’s after, then reports to Palpatine. He gets a tongue lashing and a pat on the back.

This leads to the reward, and I’ll spoil this one a bit, so don’t go any further if you having’ read the issue. Palpatine talks about what how he’s going to move the Inquisitors’ base off Coruscant to avoid any future damages, then offers Vader a new ship as a reward. He gives Vader his next mission, and Vader refuses it. This stops Palpatine in his tracks and it packs the emotional storytelling punch that causes even the reader to pause. What’s going on here? Then we find out. Vader wants a reward, and he’s not looking for a ship. He wants a planet. Again, another powerful storytelling point that made me pause and grin. Vader is getting ambitious, and I like it. They go on about possible planets, and the way it pans out is perfect. It feeds right into the character of Vader and adds to his mystique. Soule doesn’t reveal Vader’s mind to the reader in his comics, but he gives us tantalizing clues, and this is a juicy one.

One other thing worth mentioning is the mission Palpatine tried to give to Vader, but gets lost as Vader re-directs the conversation. He was going to send him after Bail Organa on Alderaan. This little moment becomes something of a turning point. If Vader had been the lap dog and gone off to do Palpatine’s bidding, he would have pacified Bail and perhaps cut a crucial blow to the Rebellion. It could have circumvented the destruction of Alderaan, but perhaps altered the fate of the Empire and even Vader and Luke. Who knows where things have gone differently.

In the end, Darth Vader #20 delivers an excellent new chapter in Vader’s life. With good artwork and great storytelling, I give this one a five out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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