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‘Star Wars: Darth Vader #7’ (review)

Written by Greg Pak
Art by Raffaele Ienco
Published by Marvel Comics

 

Last month, Darth Vader’s penance was revealed in the form of Ochi of Bestoon.

For those who blinked and missed him in The Rise of Skywalker, he’s the guy who killed Rey’s parents. The narrative Greg Pak puts forth begins to peel back the layers on some of the questions Star Wars fans want answered.

Ochi’s presence alone makes it clear he’s known Palpatine for a long time. The Assassin alludes to his boss’ big secret on Exegol, even though the planet isn’t mentioned by name. Vader is unfamiliar with Ochi and the secret he’s referring to.

This means Palpatine trusts Ochi with something that he doesn’t with Vader.

Whether all is revealed to Vader at the end of the story arc remains to be seen.

As for Ochi as a character, well, he’s cocky, sometimes too cocky; however, he’s a capable fighter. Ochi hunts a dismembered Vader like a lion who likes to play with his food. Palpatine has forbidden Vader to use the Force, which makes Ochi relish the hunt even more.

Raffaele Ienco’s artwork makes excellent use of imagery from Episode III in haunting fashion. Vader, crawling for refuge on Mustafar, comes across the decayed body of Viceroy Nute Gunray and flashes back to the moment Anakin Skywalker killed him.

The visual of Vader hiding in the same place where Separatist Leaders once hid from him creates an ironic sense of déjà vu. The red-tinted echoes of the past ring profoundly as a callback to Gunray’s desperate cry of, “Lord Sidious promised us peace,” makes Vader realize peace was only ever a fable.

One of the most talked-about deleted scenes from Episode IX makes its presence felt. The Eye of Webbish, Bog also referred to as The Oracle, calls upon Vader. Reportedly, the spider-like creature is tasked with guarding Vader’s Wayfinder. However, since that never materialized in the film, Greg Pak can seemingly repurpose The Oracle’s narrative.

Being able to play with goodies, both used and unused from The Rise of Skywalker’s toy box makes for an exciting way to flesh out Darth Vader’s journey to the Battle of Endor. This question is jumping the gun, but if Vader did know about Exegol, why didn’t he tell Luke about it before becoming one with the Force?

Vader’s inevitable return to Palpatine’s side makes the events here highly suspenseful, adding a pivotal chapter to the Skywalker Saga.

Rating: B+

 

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