• Marie E. Wilson

SPOILER REVIEW: "Darth Vader #11: Into the Fire, Part IV: Exegol" by Greg Pak

"Into the Fire, Part IV: Exegol" is the 11th issue of the 2020- Darth Vader long-run series. It was written by Greg Pak, illustrated by Raffaele Ienco and Neeraj Menon, and published by Marvel Comics on April 28, 2021.

To be perfectly honest here, this issue was a bit of a let down. With the knowledge that Vader was on Exegol looming large from last issue, I had super high hopes that some of the mysteries behind the Sith occultists would be solved. That we would get some answers where none have been forthcoming. Well...we got a rehash of everything we already know is going to appear in The Rise of Skywalker instead. We see the vats containing created beings, the hordes of Sith occultists in black robes, and the hosts of Star Destroyers albeit sans planet-killing weapon just yet. But none of this is new or insightful or inventive. It just shows us what we already know and I find that incredibly frustrating when there is so much more that begs for exploration.

Yes, we do learn that the Emperor was working on the Final Order fleet and already had the ship-mounted planet killing weapon idea in the works between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, which is all fine and relatively interesting, but Vader doesn't have an epic response to what he sees. AND Vader lets what he sees cow him in to bowing to Palpatine all over again.

The creature Vader tries to attack Palpatine with.

I would be furious if my Master was keeping such expansive plans away from me!! I wouldn't be all "Oh wow, guess I do suck. Might as well give up trying and give in to this insanely powerful being." Heck no!! I'd be like, "Woah dude. I'm your apprentice. You're supposed to be teaching me everything you know. You made A LOT of promises when I pledged myself to you and you've broken every single one of them." ARRGH! I'm infuriated for Vader--Palpatine is such a jerk.

Here's a bit of Palpatine's wooing of Vader, "You feel it burning your flesh and mind...ready to incinerate you in an instant...and you know you cannot fight it. So how...how can you claim it? It's the path you have chosen, time and time again. But somehow need to choose again, time and time again. If you walk with me, you will never escape this terrible pain. But only in this way...can you share my power." Dang, dude. He's so twisted and evil and when you sit back and read the way he manipulates Vader, it's sickening. Don't get me wrong, I love Uncle Palpy...as played by Ian McDiarmid. You need the spooky old man vibes that come with watching someone on screen to let him woo you as well.

Three beings from the Exegol vats emerge to attack Vader.

So despite the frustrating inclusion of Exegol stuff that we already know and the disgusting Palpatine manipulation, the artwork was gorgeous!!! There were some really wonderful panels just vivid with life. I loved so many of them that I've included many more images in this review than usual.

SCORE: 7.5/10 although the artwork was gorgeous and I'm getting some Palpatine time, it was just too familiar and I'm always craving new takes on things.

One of the vat beings attacking Vader!

The Sith fleet sans planet-killing cannons.

The kyber that will be used to power said planet-killing cannons.

Vader killing a horde of Sith occultists all at once!

"Darth Vader #11: Into the Fire, Part IV: Exegol" written by Greg Pak, illustrated by Raffaele Ienco and Neeraj Menon