Written by Greg Pak
Art by Raffaele Ienco
Published by Marvel Comics
Dark Heart of the Sith has shown Darth Vader at his most vulnerable.
Vader has the opportunity to uncover Padme’s secret. However, he must do so without revealing he’s Anakin Skywalker. It’s a tension-filled balancing act that gets more intriguing with each turn of the page. The opening shows Vader at Padme’s tomb, which is a powerful sight considering the history.
Vader goes to open the tomb with seemingly zero regards as Sabé protests in utter disbelief until it’s shown on the next page that Vader opened the tomb ever so slightly, just enough to gather the evidence he needed. Greg Pak affirms that Vader’s ruthless aggression has one very emotional limit in the form of his wife.
The story brings us to Polis Massa, the starport where Padme gave birth to Luke and Leia in Revenge of the Sith. I never thought we’d ever see this location again. There was something about the mystery of Darth Vader not knowing where his children were born that added to the desperation of hiding the twins.
Raffaele Ienco works his visual magic as the once-thriving moon base is now a deserted heap. Seeing Vader amongst the wreckage is eerie because he’s not supposed to be there. The illustrations pack an even bigger emotional punch later on as Vader is triggered by the base’s maternity ward’s sights and sounds.
Vader is haunted by poignant images while reliving the heartbreaking final moments between himself and Padme. He even stumbles upon a recording containing his wife’s last words, which sends him into a tailspin. If you remember what those words are, it’s not hard to understand why.
As this story wraps up, Emperor Palpatine makes his presence felt to administer some punishment to his apprentice. Greg Pak and Raffaele Ienco have worked well in tandem throughout this series to show a side of Darth Vader we’ve never seen before while putting him in situations that we’ve also never seen him in.
Both objectives are accomplished while keeping Vader’s menacing mystique firmly intact.
I can’t wait to see what they have lined up next!