Vader is a Glutton for Punishment in Darth Vader 20

by Michael DeLaney

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala is easily one of the worst parts of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, but it is my favorite part of a Darth Vader comic book. When you remove Hayden Christensen (and George Lucas) from the picture, the emotional weight of the former Skywalker is fairly significant. Such is the case in Charles Soule and Giuseppe Canuncoli’s Darth Vader 20.

Darth Vader and his Inquisitors have hunted rogue Jedi down so well that they are all but out of Jedi to kill for the Emperor. Like any good authoritarian figure, Vader creates a problem for him to solve: a fabricated Inquisitor insurrection. After hunting down two “rogue” Inquisitors and leaving a trail of destruction throughout Coruscant, Vader explains his theory:

It’s possible that Vader has convinced himself of this “plot,” I wouldn’t put that type of self-deception/illusion past him. However, it’s more likely that he just fed Palpatine an excuse for sating his Jedi bloodlust.

More to the point, he sees the romantic potential that these two Inquisitors have for one another and it makes him furious. The rules of the Jedi Order are strange, arbitrary and generally not well-fleshed out. But Attack of the Clones made it very clear that “attachment is forbidden.” By attacking these two Inquisitors for their attachment to one another Vader is ironically enforcing Jedi law – albeit a perversion of that law.

Vader’s murder of these two Inquisitors has a unique blend of wickedness and selfishness to it. On the one hand it feels like he denying anyone the opportunity to love – if he can’t have love, why should they? At the same time it feels like Vader is yet again punishing himself for his failures. Just look at how he kills these two:

There is a dark poetry to the way he forces these would-be lovers to kill one another. The flames of love burn bright, and they end up consuming these two Inquisitors by Vader proxy.

As I mentioned Vader does seem to enjoy punishing himself, evidenced by his decision to make Mustafar his vacation home. Palpatine likes to torture his apprentice with his past failings as well. He presents Vader with the “gift” of Padme’s Royal Cruiser. Of course all this does is make Vader look into the ship’s weathered reflection and see all of the things he’s given up for the power he wields.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

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