WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Darth Vader #15
The Star Wars comics have answered some lingering fan questions, revealing Darth Vader to be able to survive, use his lightsaber, and Force-manipulate marine. All those discoveries in one single story may be hard for fans to resist, but the Sith's trip to Mon Cala is just the latest plotline and twist on Star Wars canon to be delivered in Marvel's Darth Vader comic series.
The solo series from Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli has helped add the earliest chapter of Darth Vader's rise to the new Star Wars Canon. Not the fall of Anakin Skywalker, but the threats and challenges the Apprentice Vader had to face to become a true Sith.
His journey has been filled with unforgettable moments, but taking him from space to the bottom of the ocean in Darth Vader #15 may be hard to top.
For those who may have missed the prior issues, one of the earliest hurdles for the Emperor (and therefore Vader) to overcome is the loyalty of the Mon Calamari: the proud, noble, aquatic race of the planet Mon Cala. But when the Empire trades negotiations for outright attack, the Mon Calamari pull all of the Empire's forces below the watery surface of the planet - Vader included.
It isn't too often that Darth Vader has the tables turned so swiftly against him, but his trip to Mon Cala has turned out to be far more complicated than he first assumed. Not only does the mission require Vader to torture the Mon Cala king who fought beside Anakin in Clone Wars, but the Empire aren't the only ones with Force Users on their side.
After earlier issues revealed that a secret Jedi survived the Emperor's Purge to take refuge on Mon Cala, the true threat was revealed. It isn't just one new Jedi being added to the Canon, but an academy of Force sensitives under Jedi Master Barr.
These were all matters that Vader intended to deal with before he was swept under the surface, in a suit not equipped for such pressures and conditions. Fortunately, his use of The Force allows him to create a low pressure bubble in which to survive. And after giving a new origin for Darth Vader's red lightsaber earlier in the series, this issue reveals it can function normally underwater. Provided he can keep it in his hand, that is.
And so we arrive at the real climax of Vader's brief trip into the sea, when one of Mon Cala's massive, man-eating squid decides to make a meal out of Vader, squeezing him and his lightsaber apart. Until Vader reaches out with The Force to take total control of the creature's actions. Releasing Vader, returning his lightsaber, and allowing him to escape isn't enough.
Even slights at the hand (tentacle) of alien marine life demand revenge, and so Vader grabs gold of the giant squid and commands it upward to the surface to rejoin his team of Sith Inquistors. As he rises from the planet's very depths to its shallower water at speed, the squid's bulbous eye (and, presumably, organs more vital to its survival) over inflate and eventually... explode. It's not a pretty sight, but it's not the biggest mess Vader is likely to leave on the planet.
Not now that he has the location of the surviving Jedi, and is in an even worse mood than the one in which he arrived.
Darth Vader #15 is available now from Marvel Comics.