Hello everyone and welcome back to the Sarlacc Pit! Two of my earlier posts (found here and here) focused on one of the first comic series from Marvel added to canon. Marvel’s Star Wars: Darth Vader was the second canon Marvel title after Star Wars (which is still ongoing) and gave us a look at Darth Vader’s actions after the events of “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.” After the series ended, events were picked up by Marvel’s Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (which is also ongoing, and highly recommended by myself). However, starting in 2017, Marvel made a return to the Dark Lord of the Sith, in a new run of Darth Vader. This time, the series focuses on the events between “Revenge of the Sith” and “A New Hope,” picking up immediately after this scene:
The series is still ongoing, but I think that enough has happened for me to really get in here and break down some important events, and eventually I will return to give an update on our favorite emo cyborg. As usual, this post has some major spoilers for Marvel’s Star Wars: Darth Vader (beginning in 2017) issues 1-13, so read at your own risk!
A New Blade
“The saber of a Sith is not given. It is taken.” Darth Vader, Star Wars: Darth Vader
As I have discussed in a past post, Sith could not find a usable kyber crystal the same way that Jedi could. Instead, the Sith tradition was to kill a Jedi, and make the kyber crystal from their lightsaber bleed to conform it to their will. Well, after the events of “Revenge of the Sith,” Jedi were a little bit harder to come by. I guess it’s a good thing Sidious collected all the lightsabers from slain Jedi, he can just give one of those to Vader, right?
In a real power play by Emperor Palpatine, instead of giving one of the Jedi’s lightsabers to Vader, he had them all burned in front of a large audience to represent the defeat of the “warmongering Jedi.” He told Vader that to become a true Sith he was to hunt down one of the few remaining Jedi, kill him, and take his kyber crystal. Luckily, Vader new where he could find a Jedi that had not been taken in the purge. Vader searched the Jedi archives for a list of Jedi who had taken the Barash vow, a form of penitence where a Jedi refrains from all Jedi Order business. Jedi who had taken this vow would not have been caught by Order 66, and would have thus survived.
Vader found one Jedi, Master Kirak Infil’a, who had taken the Barash vow, and was thus isolated from the Jedi on the river moon of Al’doleem. Vader, newly a quadruple-amputee armed with nothing but his new dark side powers, went straight to Master Infil’a, who had dedicated his training to combat.
Their first fight did not go well for Darth Vader, but he eventually was able to defeat the Jedi Master by taking advantage of Kirak’s compassion for the natives of the moon. Vader destroyed a dam, threatening to flood a village, then while Master Infil’a Vader stole the Jedi’s lightsaber and snapped his neck.
Vader’s next step was to make the Jedi’s kyber crystal bleed. To do so required Vader to pour all of his pain and malice into the crystal. However, the crystal did not take this lightly. The crystal resisted by giving Vader a vision, on in which he realized his mistakes and turned against the Emperor.
Vader, however, was not swayed. He poured all of the malice resulting from a lifetime of hardships, heartbreaks, and perceived betrayal, and bent the crystal to his will.
Vader continued to use the Jedi Master’s lightsaber hilt, now with a crimson blade, until the hilt was destroyed during a confrontation with a family of Jedi-hunting bounty hunters. It was then that he crafted the hilt commonly known as Vader’s.
The Inquisitorius and Hunting the Jedi
“The Inquisitorius. A project of mine, long planned. Slaves to the light side once, now awake. Hunters, one and all.” – Darth Sidious, Star Wars: Darth Vader
After returning to Coruscant, Vader was introduced to a group of former Jedi turned Sith called the Inquisitorius. Darth Vader was given command of the Inquisitorius, and he used them to hunt down remaining Jedi. However, as a training technique Darth Vader viciously maimed many of the Inquisitors during training sessions, causing some to hold grudges, and others to plot revenge. Classic Sith, am I right?
Although he was training the Inquisitorius expressly to hunt and kill Jedi, some missions were too sensitive to leave in their care. One of these missions was the hunting of Jocasta Nu, the former Jedi librarian. Nu had escaped Order 66 and hid away, working to rebuild the Jedi archives from memory with the goal of eventually rebuilding the Jedi Order. Vader was instructed by the Emperor to bring in Jocasta Nu alive, as she had information that the Emperor desired. Jocasta eventually returned to the Jedi archives, with the intent to retrieve a holocron with a list of Force-sensitive children. It was here that Darth Vader found her, which led to a really cool battle which incorporated my new favorite Star Wars weapon:
However, despite the really cool lightsaber rifle, Darth Vader eventually captured the librarian. Jocasta knew that the Emperor desired the list of Force-sensitive children, and she told this to Vader, giving him the choice to kill her and spare the children, or take her to the Emperor, who would twist the children the same way he twisted Anakin Skywalker. It was here that Vader first decided to betray his master, killing Nu instead of allowing Sidious to get his hand on the information he desired.
Remnants of Light
Darth Vader spent a lot of his early Sith career brooding over his battle with Obi-Wan Kenobi. The anger, pain, and betrayal he felt during that battle continued to build in him, and (in current canon) he never showed any signs of forgiving his former mentor for leaving him, dismembered and burning alive, on the lava banks of Mustafar (where he would later build a headquarters and spend a decent amount of his free time). However, even while meditating on that moment, there were always signs of his eventual redemption.
As Vader meditated, there were always small remnants of the light side of the Force inside him, most commonly related to his memories of Padmé. However, during his meditations, it was shown that Vader continued to hunt down these pockets of light within himself and destroy them. He was clearly never able to destroy them all, as at the end of his life he returned and embraced the light side within himself.
This just covers the first couple volumes of what is assured to be a fantastic series. as the story progresses, I will be sure to have update posts following the series. In the meantime, I highly suggest this series, so go pick it up at your local comic store (shoutout to Galactic Comics and Games in Statesboro, GA).
Next time, I want to do an update post on my original post on the videogame Star Wars: Batttlefront II, discussing the additional story provided by the first DLC of the game and how it affects the greater Star Wars canon. Until then, thanks for reading, and may the Force be with you!