The Man in the Suit
The Sith. Words that strike both fear and curiosity in many minds of the Star Wars fandom. Some of the most memorable characters in Star Wars are followers of this dark religion. One Sith Lord is perhaps the most famous villain of all time: Darth Vader. His presence is intimidating, his voice is booming, and his power immense, but what makes this villain so interesting is his humanity. Fortress Vader continues to prove this.
No matter your opinion on the Star Wars prequels, they did show us how Anakin Skywalker came to be Darth Vader. But what the movies couldn’t show us were the further repercussions of little Ani’s actions. Sure, Anakin gained a new title and a new suit at the end of Revenge of the Sith, but what else did he have to go through in order to become the ruthless Vader we see in the original trilogy? That is the question the Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith comic series seeks to answer, and it all comes to fruition in Vol. 4 (issues #19-25) of the series.
After killing one of the last known surviving Jedi, Eeth Koth, Vader has proven himself to the Emperor and is given permission to build a personal stronghold on a planet of his choosing. Vader, in true Sith style, chooses Mustafar – the planet where he was seriously injured. Here, he hopes to tap deeper into the dark side of the Force. The Emperor, also in true Sith style, offers Vader a new ship for his trip. This ship turns out to be the former personal cruiser of none other than Padme Amidala, the former wife of Vader. This enrages Vader, all according to Palpatine’s sadistic plan to fill Vader with more hate and be pushed further toward the dark side. To top it all off, there is a mysterious ancient Sith relic placed on board the ship: the helmet of Momin, a psychopathic Sith lord that was considered an extremist even among the Sith.
Vader’s Vision and Momin’s Return
As Vader travels to Mustafar, a vision of his past appears on the ship. Little kid Anakin with a distorted face in the shape of Vader’s helmet, stares at Vader. Perhaps this represents Vader’s warped sense of self as he travels deeper and deeper toward the dark side. Upon arrival, work begins on his fortress (the one seen in Rogue One), and the helmet of Momin awakens and causes heaps of trouble.
Long story short, Momin offers Vader a chance to resurrect Padme. Vader accepts, still yearning for his long-dead wife, but is betrayed by the old Sith who ends up resurrecting himself. Once again, the tragic story of Vader continues. A chance at happiness destroyed once again. Because of this, Vader taps fully into the power of the dark side, destroying Momin in the process and wiping away any noticeable trace of goodness within him.
Vader: Only Human
As mentioned before, this story only adds to the humanity of Vader. The continuing tragedy of his life is made abundantly clear in this volume. Palpatine continues to pester poor Vader, ancient Sith lords attempt to use him for their own power, and his past comes back to haunt him in multiple ways. Vader deals with this in the only way he knows how to, with anger. But I would say this anger is rooted in sadness and continuing grief.
The takeaway from this story? While Vader will always be one of the most powerful beings in all of pop culture, his strength lies in his love for Padme. Despite his feelings coming out through rage, his heart continues to yearn for a lost love, and that makes Vader one of the most human characters in all of Star Wars. This series is a must-read for any Vader fans. You can find it at any store that sells comics, or online.