Star Wars: Darth Vader #8 is written by Greg Pak who is joined by artist Raffaele Ienco, colorist Neeraj Menon, letterer Joe Caramagna, and cover artists Aaron Kuder and Richard Isanove. Published by Marvel Comics, Star Wars: Darth Vader #8 continues the mechanical Dark Lord’s search for answers on Mustafar whilst being chased by Ochi of Bestoon, assassin of the Sith. Darth Vader is Forceless, lightsaberless, and a piecemeal assortment of Separatist battle droids, but it doesn’t mean he is completely helpless.
Previously, in Star Wars: Darth Vader #7, Darth Vader had been stranded on Mustafar by Emperor Palpatine who hoped to reteach his apprentice a lesson on fear and the power to be gained from it. Despite being mangled and broken, much in the way that he was in Revenge of the Sith, Darth Vader was able to put himself together with scavenged droid parts from the Techno Union installation he had visited all those years ago. Shortly after, the Dark Lord was confronted by Ochi of Bestoon, the same assassin from The Rise of Skywalker, who was sent by Emperor Palpatine to test Darth Vader. At this time, Vader was also unable to use the Force as per his master’s wishes. The connections to The Rise of Skywalker do not end there. During their battle, Darth Vader feels the call of the Eye of Webbish Bog, a spider-like being locked in symbiosis with a bald, blind giant, shortly after learning that Darth Sidious may have plans for the future that he’s not telling his apprentice.
Much of Star Wars: Darth Vader #8 is spent with the hobbled Sith Lord battling manifestations created by the Eye of Webbish Bog to test his conviction. Many of the manifestations are from Vader’s past, which has become a common theme throughout the series. However, instead of being conflicted as we have seen him in previous issues, the Dark Lord pushes forward with newfound conviction. He needs to find out what his master is truly planning. This is certainly a new development, given how plagued Vader has been with his past throughout the series. It seems that anger is a great motivator for him to put aside the guilt he has felt about his actions as Anakin Skywalker. Or perhaps Vader is just tired of being a pawn in a larger game.
Fans who may read the novelization of The Rise of Skywalker or watched the deleted scenes from the film may know where Star Wars: Darth Vader #8 is heading given his appearance at the end of the previous issue. The powers that the Eye of Webbish Bog possesses are intriguing, forcing visions into the head of someone as powerful as Darth Vader that very few in the galaxy would be aware of. Ienco expertly portrays the scale of this rather unsettling looking creature’s powers panel after panel. Red-tinted memories from previous issues are replaced with actual manifestations. This is coupled with Pak’s dialogue and calls into question whether Vader has truly made any decision for himself. The Eye of Webbish Bog is something I hope we see more in Star Wars media.
Overall, I enjoyed Star Wars: Darth Vader #8. Even though I knew what Vader would find during the issue given the times we have seen the Eye of Webbish Bog previously in Star Wars media, I was still drawn into the issue. The implications of Darth Vader interacting with the Eye of Webbish Bog prior to the events of The Return of the Jedi adds context to the Dark Lord’s actions even thirty-seven years after the film’s release. Further, the Sequel Trilogy begins to be tied into the Original Trilogy, which I have no doubt will also add more context to those films as well as the series unfolds.
We continually see characters and storylines that I did not think needed to be told after the Skywalker Saga wrapped. However, every issue brings me more understanding of characters and sequences of events that are decades old. It is this kind of masterful storytelling from Pak that has made the Darth Vader series one of my favorites of the year and has me continually waiting for the next issue.
Star Wars: Darth Vader #8 is available December 16, 2020 wherever comics are sold.
Star Wars: Darth Vader #8
Every issue of Star Wars: Darth Vader brings me more understanding of characters and sequences of events that are decades old. It is this kind of masterful storytelling from Pak that has made the Darth Vader series one of my favorites of the year and has me continually waiting for the next issue.