When we last saw Darth Vader, he was battered, outfought and force-pushed off a mountain into the cliffs below. This alone demonstrates the DARTH VADER series’ willingness to build its iconic antagonist from the ground up. Currently, he is not the unstoppable galaxy-feared juggernaut of a Sith Lord, but someone easing into that role. DARTH VADER #4 contributes to that build-up by giving Vader a second chance to bounce back from defeat. The actions that he does display foreshadow the reputation that would later be synonymous with Darth Vader’s character.

DARTH VADER #4
Image from DARTH VADER #4, Provided by Marvel Entertainment

Picking up directly after the events of the previous issue, DARTH VADER #4 finds the Sith Lord recovering from his defeat. Using the remains of Jedi Master Kirak Infil’a’s robot assistant, Vader manages to re-construct his broken and destroyed Appendages. Thus, Vader once again turns his attention to recovering the Jedi’s Kyber crystal so that he can forge a Sith lightsaber. This, in turn, not only threatens the Jedi Master’s attempt to leave Al’doleem but inhabitants of the planet as well.

READ: Why do the heroes of film become less than stellar parents? Guess Vader isn’t the only one with this problem.

Vader’s Rage

This issue divides itself into two parts: a re-establishment of stakes and another confrontation between Jedi and Sith. Naturally, readers would expect Darth Vader to survive his fall and recover, as this is his origin story. However, by introducing Am’balaar City, the storyline has now brought civilians into the fight. Such a factor changes the battleground from an isolated setting to a place in which innocents could be hurt. For a Jedi, this means protecting the innocent from harm; for a Sith, it provides a weakness to use against the Jedi.

These new additions play a primary role in Darth Vader’s rematch, with the Sith Lord taking a different fighting approach. Whereas the first fight was a more physical endeavor, this one has Vader relying on fear-based tactics. Without spoiling anything, writer Charles Soule implements these tactics as a means of preluding Vader’s later reputation. By taking advantage of the environment, Vader prevents Master Infil’a’s combat from overwhelming him like it did last time. Thus DARTH VADER #4 tests Vader’s Sith creativity, relying on fear and the Force to gain the upper hand.

DARTH VADER #4                      Image from DARTH VADER #4, Provided by Marvel Entertainment

Dark and Powerful

Giuseppe Camuncoli and David Curiel once again helm the artwork for DARTH VADER, and it still looks incredible. Both Vader and Infil’a remain heavily detailed, but Camuncoli and Curiel give Vader more attention as they exploit his armor’s broken state. With his cracked eye lens, crudely repaired arm and exposed leg, it’s made clear that despite his second wind, Vader has taken a beating. The additional side characters look good, though it’s clear Camuncoli wishes to maintain focus on Vader’s fight with the Jedi. The final pages, however, do a stellar job of expressing and communicating Vader’s rage solely through their artwork alone. And, seeing how Vader is an antagonist of few words, that’s usually the best way to depict his character.

READ: How did Darth Vader end up so battered and bruised? Check out our previous DARTH VADER review for more details

DARTH VADER #4 Final Thoughts

DARTH VADER #4 brings the newly created Sith Lord closer to finishing his first mission on behalf of the Galactic Empire. While still not close to the Vader feared throughout the galaxy, this issue edges him a few steps in the right direction. It’s in this direction that we see more of Anakin Skywalker fading away, eventually leading to Vader becoming “more machine than man.”

DARTH VADER #4 by Charles Soule, Giuseppe Camuncoli, and David Curiel
Story
Art
Characterization
Summary
DARTH VADER still portrays the Sith Lord as a rookie, but one who is learning more of the skills that will later make him feared throughout the Galaxy.
85 %
Dark and Entertaining

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