TWS: Thinkin’ ‘Bout Ink – Darth Vader #25 End of the End of Games

Marvel Star WarsThis. Is. The. Best. Star. Wars. Comic. Series. Ever. EVER. I know three books came out today (whoa! right? Three books in one day?!?! We only got three books all last month!), but this is the end of my favorite series, so it gets its own post. I have to say, I was insanely curious how things were going to pan out with this issue, and it did not disappoint. That’s not to say there weren’t things I didn’t necessarily love, but there was nothing about it I didn’t at least like, so it was an overall winner for sure…so, yeah, that’s a sufficient intro, would you say? Right, that’s what I thought, so let’s get to it!

Darth Vader #25
star_wars_darth_vader_25_coverAlright, so, Cylo-version-whatever is dead and now Vader’s in hot pursuit of the mother-whale to get rid of him for good. Knowing that Vader will stop at nothing to get to him, he throws everything he has at him, including several versions of himself…but, of course, it’s not enough. In fact, Vader even admits “That I can kill you repeatedly is by far your most appealing trait.” (Great line.) Then Vader once again shows Cylo how misplaced his blind faith in technology is by using the Force to plant the idea to fly into the sun into the brain of his whale-ship. Pure genius. So, dumbfounded, Cylo watches his demise grow closer through the viewport while Vader escapes just in time in his TIE. But, as we know, a whole new surprise awaits the Dark Lord when he gets back aboard the Executor…a surprise that I feel like we’re all supposed to think is going to get Vader more time in the Emperor’s doghouse (much like Dr. Aphra does), however, in true maniacal Palpatine fashion, he reveals that he’s proud of Vader for finally fully embracing the darkness for personal gain…I feel like the Emperor has been pushing him to this since Lords of the Sith if not even before – I thought he’d been trying to ensure that Vader was always under his thumb, but I think, more than that, he’s been trying to push Vader to be driven by personal gain, triumph and power (a push that may have factored into the Emperor’s ultimate demise). So, after everything (I feel like I’m saying “so” a lot this post…oh well), Vader is more on the Emperor’s good side than ever, and now…what to do with Aphra? I was basically screaming into my fire to saber her in the back, but, alas, he tosses her out the airlock instead, basically giving her the opposite of the demise she’d asked for…good ol’ Vader…I’ll admit, I was sad to see her go, but it was inevitable…as was, in my opinion, Tagge’s going the way of Captain Needa (or, I guess, Captain Needa eventually going the way of Tagge, if you put it chronologically)…now everything is as it should be:  Vader is in command of his flagship, his opposition is taken care of, he’s in the Emperor’s good graces…the Empire is truly ready to strike back…and then there are two pages of artful perfection with the only word it needed:  “soon.” We see Vader looking out into the vastness of space as he reaches through it in his mind for the hand of his son who’s reaching back, but, right before they connect, perhaps just in his vision, perhaps through the Force, we’re brought back to Vader standing alone, save Tagge’s lifeless body, on the bridge of his ship uttering the word “soon.” Soon he will find his son. Soon he will bring him to the dark side. Soon they will overthrow the Emperor and bring true peace to the galaxy. Soon he will avenge Padme’s death by making his son into the man he would have been if he’d been raised by them. Soon everything will be right. Soon it won’t all have been for naught. Truly powerful work. I cried both time I read it. And so ends the end of games…or does it?

Aphra is alive! Or:  Aphra is alive? I’m torn on this one because I love her character, but I also feel like she should have been left dead. I don’t like the idea of a loose end out there that undermines Vader’s overwhelming power. But she beat the system, so to speak, so good for her. Plus her exquisitely-planned fake demise was brilliant, and it allowed for more page time for Krrsantan, so there’s really no way I can complain about that…and she does say “let’s never do that again,” so I’ll just assume that means she won’t be meddling with Vader’s affairs ever again (*looks side-to-side shiftily*)…it will definitely be interesting to see if and when she shows up again (which, as it turns out, will, if nothing else, be in her own ongoing series coming in December)…

So…what is going on here, and why? My best explanation is there’s a lone survivor of Vader’s rampage on the Tusken camp whose somber solitude is interrupted by a returning hunting party lead by some kind of Tusken shaman. The loner shows said Shaman what happened which leads to a gathering of Sand People at the demolished campsite where the shaman tells them either an old legend he believes Vader to embody, or his version of what Vader is:  some kind of magical Tusken (they are both similarly masked, afterall) that flies to one of the suns, gathers its power into a blade, and destroys their camp…and, of course, what do you do when there’s a powerful member of your primitive race that’s murdering your own kind? You build a giant statue of him out of the dwellings he ruined and the corpses he made, tie the sole survivor to it, and then burn it all while on all fours, praying to it…and, I mean, that’s pretty cool and all (if I’m even right?), but what’s the point? Why add that? I’m honestly at a loss, so if anyone has any ideas, please let me know…

And that’s it…I’m really sad to see it go, but, honestly, I’m glad it had such a well-thought-out arc and didn’t become one of those series that runs itself into the ground…so what do you think? About both the closing issue and the entire series? Do you love them both as much as I did, or are you just kinda meh? (The ladder makes you crazy, by the way, just saying…) Do you like the way the Emperor embraced Vader’s plunge into darkness, or do you think it’d be more in-character for him to be angry at his lack of subservience? And what about Aphra? Are you glad she’s alive, or do you think she should be dead? And what in the hell is up with the coda? What does it mean? Is my explanation of what’s happening at least on point, or did you come up with something better? Give the book a thorough second read and let me know what you think in the comments…or I’ll use the Force to suggest your next Uber driver takes a long drive off a short pier…until next time, TWS out.


One thought on “TWS: Thinkin’ ‘Bout Ink – Darth Vader #25 End of the End of Games

  1. I would agree with you; I’m happy ‘Darth Vader’ went out while it was still at the top of its game. Personally, issue #24 affected me more emotionally but I found this to be a satisfying conclusion. What most impressed me was how they made certain to restore Vader to the terrifying figure he clearly is in both ‘A New Hope’ and ‘The Empire Strikes Back.’ It’s clear, by the end, that no one is crossing this Sith Lord in the Empire.

    I thought Tagge’s death was handled fantastically and, like you, I wish they would have had Vader actually kill Aphra. While I do like the idea, in theory, that a new character is getting their own monthly comic, Aphra’s actual death would have served to more fully underscore how brutal Vader is, to kill her is the manner she most fears.

    As to the Tuskins…I have NO IDEA what that was about :/. I think I would have preferred if that wasn’t in the comic. It made little sense. But, any issues I may have aside, I’m certainly in the camp that sees the Darth Vader comic as the best piece of the new Disney Canon so far!

    Liked by 1 person

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