Star Wars: Darth Vader #12 is written by Greg Pak, joined by artist Guiui Vilanova, colorists Dean White and Giada Marchisio, letterer Joe Caramagna, and cover artists Aaron Kuder and Richard Isanove. Published by Marvel Comics, Star Wars: Darth Vader #12 serves as a prelude story for the six-month-long War of the Bounty Hunters event that will crossover multiple Star Wars comic books. Throughout the series, readers will join our heroes and their adversaries on the hunt for Han Solo in between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. While Cavan Scott’s Star Wars #13 followed our heroes in a prelude to War of the Bounty Hunters, Star Wars: Darth Vader #12 follows the Dark Lord’s own role in this adventure.
Previously in Star Wars: Darth Vader #11, the true extent of Darth Sidious’s might was revealed to Darth Vader on Exegol. The mechanical menace confronted his master in an attempt to kill him with all the might he could muster but was no match for the Emperor and his command of the dark side of the Force. Shortly after defeating his appetence and a summa-verminoth, Sidious showed his broken disciple the devastating fleet he was amassing and the giant kyber crystal that was being bled to power the operation. Vader now understands that he cannot defeat his master while still being plagued with visions of the looming threat that is his own son. The Sith Lord must now find a new way to direct his anger.
Star Wars: Darth Vader #12 opens with Darth Vader returning to Coruscant with his master, defeated, broken, and in disarray. Despite objections from Mas Amedda, Palpatine restores his apprentice to his full strength. During the reconstruction process, Vader again has visions of his son, Luke Skywalker. In a series of eerie red-tinted panels that have become synonymous with this series, Vader begins to refocus his anger to where this series began.
It was Vader’s perceived weakness that Luke Skywalker possessed that led him on a rampage to discover who hid his son from in the early issues of Star Wars: Darth Vader. Now the mechanical Dark Lord eyes his son’s friends who have protected him for far too long. The first in his sights, the smuggler turned Rebel who stopped Vader from preventing the destruction of the Death Star, Han Solo.
The rest of Star Wars: Darth Vader #12 plays out Vader’s initial plans to find Han Solo. Much like when Vader is having visions, lettered Caramagna provides Vader’s thoughts in ominous red and black letterboxes while the issue plays out. Despite having a different artist on Star Wars: Darth Vader #12, the art remains on theme with the rest of the series. Artist White shines as the panels of Vader’s visions are foreboding as the reader sees events from the films but now through the eyes of a vengeful Sith Lord who has his own plan.
Writer Pak does an excellent job of transitioning between two issues as one quest ends and another begins for Vader. Going into the War of the Bounty Hunters event, I was worried how the Star Wars: Darth Vader would play into the mix with Vader just coming off a brutal defeat at the hands of his master. However, Pak provides the context for why Vader would even care about the smuggler and his fate after The Empire Strikes Back. His motives are clear, and readers can understand why he would put the same kind of effort toward Solo as he did in other arcs in the series. Further, this leaves readers open to experiencing new characters and even learning more about others like Ochi of Bestoon and Sly Moore.
Overall, Star Wars: Darth Vader #12 hits the mark for a prelude to a massive crossover event. The team behind Star Wars: Darth Vader has gotten me excited for every arc in this series so far, and they certainly do it again here.
Star Wars: Darth Vader #12 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Star Wars: Darth Vader #12
Star Wars: Darth Vader #12 hits the mark for a prelude to a massive crossover event. The team behind Star Wars: Darth Vader has gotten me excited for every arc in this series so far, and they certainly do it again here.