For our third comic book column, The Escapist is proud to introduce Guilded Age's Phil Kahn to our writing team! And don't forget to check out Speeding Bullets and Space, Spells, and Spandex if you haven't already!
Hey, everyone. I'm Phil Kahn. Welcome to The Panelist. I'm here to hype you up about comics that I like a lot so you'll read them, too. Let's start by getting to the point: You really, really gotta read Darth Vader.
You might be dubious about new Star Wars comics but they are worth your time. All of them, frankly. Princess Leia and Lando are deeply satisfying reads, even as self-contained miniseries. But we're here to talk about the best of the bunch. The Actual Reason Anyone Cares About Star Wars: Darth Vader.
He's one of the most beloved heels in sci-fi history, if not one of the greatest bad guys of all time, and for good reason: The greatest villains tend to be the ones we can understand, the ones we can sympathize with. Empathize with, even. And somehow through the travesty of half a franchise that was his life story we came to love him as Anakin Skywalker, a man who made a lot of bad decisions because he just didn't think he could do better. A tragic hero, always under the rule of one master or another, never truly in control of his own life and destiny, never knowing which path to take. Someone we constantly look at and think "Oh, no, sweetie, come on, you could just do the other thing." Someone we root for, whom we wish good things for even though he sucks. The most powerful man that ever lived while also being completely incapable of catching a break.
This book isn't about that guy. Not really. It's about Darth Vader. But if you're like me, you're gonna think it's about that other guy the whole time you're reading it.
Darth Vader, like the main Star Wars book, takes place in the time following the destruction of the first Death Star. The Rebels are riding high on their major victory, and the Emperor is all too disappointed by a brand new incident after his favorite gun/moon went to shit. That incident is now being blamed entirely on Vader's personal failings, because somehow it's his fucking fault Luke Skywalker exists and did the thing (which... I guess is technically true, but still). Vader is in a tight spot now and he has to prove to Palpatine that he's not history's greatest screw up (which is possibly also true).
But even though his boss is breathing down his neck, and he now has to answer to a guy who was definitely his subordinate like a week ago, something's nagging at him. The Force was strong with that one. Which is weird, right? Like a week ago there was only two guys and now it's three? Why does he have his old lightsaber? And why does it rustle his jimmies so utterly?