Darth Vader (2020) #5 Review

by NumidianPrime on September 18, 2020

Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Raffaele Ienco
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel

This week's issue of Greg Pak's Darth Vader brings the first arc of the series to a close. Vader has finally reached the tomb of his dead wife on Naboo despite the efforts of the Amidalans and he is ready to find the answers that await him. 

I'm a little bit conflicted on this issue. It, and the arc in general, did a fantastic job on Vader's character, following him as he sought answers to what happened during the death of his wife and the birth of his son. The story did a good job of balancing the familiar ruthless Vader with a version of Vader getting closer to the events of Return of the Jedi who can have some softer moments. His emotional turmoil as his past caught up to him climaxed perfectly in this issue, when he sees a recording of the ending to Revenge of the Sith. When this arc started, I was unsure of where it could go in terms of what he could learn during his quest, but looking back this was really the only way to end it. I'm really happy with what this story did with Vader's character, it didn't feel like a retread despite the many stories we've had with him already.

On the other hand, I didn't think the plot of the arc outside of Vader's character got the best conclusion it could have gotten. Last issue I was concerned that the Sabé and the Amidalans plot was getting a little too focused on fanservice and this issue didn't take that any further, but it also didn't do too much else with them. Sabé just disappears from the story after Vader leaves Naboo and the Amidalans on Polis Massa serve little purpose other than to give Vader a fight scene. The comic doesn't make it clear if the ones on Polis Massa were all wiped out, or if there are others that weren't present at that battle. It feels like an excuse to let Vader wipe them out as a group without definitively showing Sabé, the handmaidens, or any of the other named characters dying. I can only hope that they will return for a more satisfying end later in the run, but they don't seem to be a part of the next arc.

The artwork and coloring in the issue are fantastic, not to mention the amazing cover art. For a physically unexpressive character, Vader always feels like he has emotion to him. The flashbacks to Vader's past that have been sprinkled throughout the arc continue to work well here, ramping to a memorable conclusion. 

Overall, the issue was a very satisfying conclusion to the main character arc but not as satisfying a conclusion to the plot. Maybe my feelings will change one way or the other after the rest of the run is complete and we know where the plot leads from here. Even with my somewhat mixed feelings about this issue, this arc was a very pleasant surprise compared to my initial expectations for the series, and I'm still looking forward to seeing where we go from here. The next arc looks like it will tie heavily into The Rise of Skywalker, so I'll definitely be curious to see what that's like.

Our Score:


A Look Inside