SPOILER REVIEW: "Darth Vader #5, Dark Heart of the Sith, Part V" by Greg Pak
Okay, so not as ground breaking as the previous issues in this arc, but issue #5 still hit all the right marks and had some absolutely incredible imagery!! I can't even begin to explain the noises I kept making. Vader goes from Padme's final resting place to the location of her death and finds out along the way that his wife still believed in him, even at the end.
As a huge Anakin fan, I was reveling in the flashbacks and memories and thought images! It was all just so good. And the cover encapsulates the heart of this issue with aplomb (InHyuk Lee was the artist)!
We start in Padme's tomb on Naboo with Vader about to remove the stone covering of the coffin to see what might be revealed within. But he stops, he second guesses his instincts to boulder ahead and gets ZED-6-7 to do a scan instead.
The droid discovers a med implant stamped with Padme's place of death...Polis Massa. So he heads off to a new destination, insistent on discovering more about his son. And oddly enough, he welcomes the Amidalans to follow in his path.
Once at Polis Massa, Vader and ZED-6-7 encounter "A former Rebel base. Discovered years ago and bombarded by Imperial troops." The whole place is an utter disaster. But as hinted at in the first few panels of the asteroid, Padme's Chroon-Tan B-Machine midwifery droid is still on site. She may be damaged, but Vader's a master at technology. So, after handily putting the Amidalans in their place, the dark lord accesses the hologram files in the midwifery droid and is able to see Padme as she's speaking to Obi-Wan!! She says Obi-Wan's name of course and poor, dumb ZED-6-7 says, "That name again! He must have been very important to her!" in response to which Vader finally puts an end to his chatty forensics droid. I was honestly wondering when Vader was going to do away with ZED-6-7, the droid couldn't seem to be quiet, especially at the most inopportune times. It was Vader flashing back to that fateful day on Mustafar that led to the last straw.
SPOILERS for the ending lie ahead:
So what did he find on the hologram except for Padme saying, "Obi-Wan"? Well, he didn't get to witness the births from what we are shown so it would be my understanding that he still doesn't know about his daughter Leia. Man he keeps skating so close to the full truth but keeps getting sideswiped. Lucky for Leia!! Not so lucky for Luke or Vader. But he does hear and see Padme saying one thing that seems to break him to his core, "There's good in him. I know...there's...still..." Which leads to one of the most heart-wrenching set of comic panels I've seen to date: Vader falling down a shaft, Padawan Anakin falling down a shaft, and little Ani falling down a shaft. He sees himself! He knows he's still good deep down, setting him up for his final turn in Jedi when the Emperor is annihilating Luke with Force lightning.
Then we arrive on Coruscant where Vader comes before his Master who chastises him for wallowing in grief instead of hate, something definitely not worthy of a Sith Lord. Palpatine quotes the mantra, "The Sith know that fear leads to anger...anger leads to hate...and hate leads to strength. [...] You need to start all over again...with fear." And proceeds to blast Vader with Force lightning...leading us to the next issue where Palpatine's punishment will be on full display!! What will this be? How will Vader take it? I mean, how will he REALLY take it? What will he be thinking and feeling and will it edge him even closer to turning to the light? Or will he go back to the dark full throttle? I cannot wait to find out!!
SCORE: 7.5/10 only because the other issues were so incredibly mind-blowing.
"Darth Vader #5: Dark Heart of the Sith, Part V" is written by Greg Pak, illustrated by Raffaele Ienco and Neeraj Menon.
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