When we last left Darth Vader, he was left to deal with a monster from the original Star Wars trilogy – the dreaded Rancor. Lured into a trap by the traitor Cylo, Vader must deal with biomechanically enhanced Rancor – a similar beast that Luke Skywalker had to defeat in Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi.
Darth Vader #22’s fundamental conflict, though, pits religion versus science. Can Cylo pawn Tulon Voidgazer’s Rancor defeat Vader and his reliance on the Force? It echoes the classic scene from Episode IV, when Admiral Motti challenges Vader’s “sorcerer’s ways,” right before Vader uses the Force to choke him. This time, though, the Rancor uses science to stymie Vader’s Force choke. But since this is a series with a Force user as the main character, you can probably figure out how things turn out.
The series, which is coming to an end with issue #25, has been a high point for the Marvel titles, which were re-introduced in 2015 (and now considered canon). Faced with the embarrassment of losing the Death Star at the battle of Yavin, Vader has scheming to get back into the good graces of the Emperor.
Familiar faces like the Rancor hearken back to what we loved about the movies. And unique characters like the murderous droids Triple-Zero and Beetee have turned our expectations on their head. There’s no doing things for the good of the Rebellion here. These droids love to murder humanoids.
With only three issues left in the series, we’re left with a cliffhanger. We know that Vader will survive, but the seeing him deal with new characters and situations make us wish for just a little bit more Force in our lives.