Since Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, Marvel has reclaimed the Star Wars comic book mantle from Dark Horse, one they originally held from 1977 until 1986. Since then, the House of Ideas has steadily built upon and integrated their shared universe, continuing the in-canon development of new characters like Star Wars: Rebels’ Kanan Jarrus as well as classic characters like Han Solo and Princess Leia. By far one of their hottest properties since redeveloping their line has been their Darth Vader solo series.
Starting in 2015, writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca tapped into the untold tales between Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, exploring the aftermath of Vader’s ‘failure’ to protect the Empire's first planet killer. Several months ago, Marvel announced that issue #25 would conclude the post-Battle of Yavin chronicle.
In honor of Vader’s popular run, Marvel pulled out all the stops, including variant covers from Adi Granov, Jamie McKelvie, Michael Cho, Sara Pichelli, Chris Samnee, Kamome Shirahama, John Tyler Christopher, and Cliff Chiang. Marvel CCO Joe Quesada even got in on the action (take a look at more variants here). In addition to the alternate covers, Marvel is also giving fans a sneak peek at the action-packed conclusion to this acclaimed series. Check out the synopsis and get an early look at the interiors, as well as a few more of the variants below:
It has all been building to this! The epic conclusion to the blockbuster ongoing series! Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca’s critically acclaimed series comes to a close on October 12th in the blockbuster DARTH VADER #25! It has all built to this! Vader’s trials against Cylo’s creations! His machinations against the Emperor! His covert missions with Doctor Aphra and her murderous droids. It all comes to a head in this cataclysmic final chapter. Plus, this oversized issue also contains a thrilling new tale from Kieron Gillen and artist Max Fiumara. Who lives? Who dies? The answers may surprise you!
The latest round of adventures finds Darth Vader trying to get back in the Emperor’s good graces after that whole Death Star fiasco. Of course as a Sith Lord, he has a few plots cooking on the side as well, including his wheelings and dealings bounty hunter favorites, his subterfuge with Doctor Aphra, and the reveal of Cylo’s diabolical ace in the hole in Darth Vader #24. The final issue will wrap up the swirling subplots, the menacing machinations, and conclude the heady "The End of Games" mini arc with a major bang.
As one of the most fascinating characters in Star Wars mythology, it’s no wonder Marvel chose to further expand on the Jedi hero turned Sith Lord. While the Prequel Trilogy and the Clone Wars animated series explored more of the elder Skywalker’s trials and tribulations, his early and middle years (glimpsed further in Rebels) show Vader in his prime. Gillen and Larroca’s work has delved into some of the meatiest material, allowing fans to watch the Emperor's Right Hand recover from one of his worst periods since his defeat at Mustafar by his former teacher Obi-Wan Kenobi.
While it’s always a little sad to see Vader’s latest adventures come to an end, fans only have a short wait until the Dark Lord rears his sleek mask in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story this December. The Sith Lord’s story, of course, is far from complete. Following the success of his solo arc, it wouldn’t be surprising if the fallen Jedi finds his way into another solo run.
Which era of Vader would you next like to see Marvel explore?
DARTH VADER #25 arrives in comic shops and on digital devices October 12, 2016.