Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Guiu Vilanova
Colorists: Dean White with Giada Marchisio
Cover Artists: Aaron Kuder & Richard Isanove
Darth Vader has returned triumphant. Having survived through Emperor Palpatine’s gauntlet, passing all of his trials, and discovering more secrets of the Dark Side of the Force, Lord Vader was rejuvenated in his pain, anger, and power. Now in Star Wars: Darth Vader #12, the Sith Lord returns to the hunt for the rebel crew of the Millennium Falcon.
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Previously, Darth Vader was punished by Emperor Palpatine for his personal quest for Luke Skywalker’s origins. Since then, Vader’s discovered more of his master’s secrets and the extent of Palpatine’s machinations. For readers who weren’t fans of the previous story arc delving into story material from The Rise of Skywalker, fear not! This comic arc has noting to do with any of that.
Most of this issue is mainly wrap-up to the previous “Into The Fire” story arc as it establishes Darth Vader’s prior history of chasing down the Millennium Falcon, particularly Han Solo. This is important because the issue is a direct prelude to the Star Wars crossover event “War of the Bounty Hunters“. Darth Vader will be a part of this crossover with his new ally, the Sith Assassin Ochi of Bestoon, but you don’t see much of Ochi in action here.
The issue features a side adventure of Darth Vader’s pursuit of the Millennium Falcon after they destroyed the Death Star, as well as some flashbacks to significant moments from The Empire Strikes Back. What’s important here is the inner dialogue that Darth Vader gives during all of this. They show his perspective on Luke and help lay out his motivation for pursuing Han Solo’s carbonate self in the upcoming crossover and the reasoning behind it.
Weirdly, Greg Pak was using this type of narration for Darth Vader in the first story arc but stopped using it for the second one. Now he’s going back to using it for this issue, which makes me wonder if he’s planning to use it in future issues. That said, nothing really happens in this comic, it’s primarily setup for Darth Vader’s involvement in the crossover.
Star Wars: Darth Vader #12 is what it says it is – a cool-down issue and prelude for the War of the Bounty Hunters crossover event. It shows the aftermath of the previous story arc and where everyone is at. But more importantly, it does its job to set up Darth Vader’s motives for his involvement in the crossover.