Darth Vader (2020) #11 Review

by NumidianPrime on April 29, 2021

Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Raffaele Ienco
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel

The newest issue of Greg Pak's run on Darth Vader finds our favorite Sith finally reaching his destination: the Emperor's hideout on Exegol. Vader must finally confront his master after enduring the crucible he was put through for his perceived weakness, and find the answers to the questions that have been raised during his journey.

This arc has taken a long time to finally reach the destination that has been mapped out since the start. For the last several issues, I've been saying that my opinion on the story overall would be reliant on how satisfying the answers we get at the end are. Now that the arc has come to an end, I can confidently say it's...not bad. The issue had a few cool moments that I wasn't expecting. There are still some moments that didn't land for me and there are definitely some parts of the overall arc that I think needed to be fleshed out more but overall I'm more satisfied coming out of it than I expected to be. 

The over-the-top action and spectacle of the kaiju fights and unnamed assassins didn't do much for me, but it worked as a vehicle to take Vader through Exegol as we slowly learn some interesting new pieces of information about Palpatine's overall plans. There are a couple of really intriguing additions to the story seeded in the issue that have already sparked up much debate and some controversy, which I much prefer over doing the expected thing and not taking any risks. The artwork also does a good job recapturing Exegol as we saw it in The Rise of Skywalker, which works well to create a spooky atmosphere. 

Character-wise, I do respect what this series is trying to do in order to bring Vader into the mindset he has during Return of the Jedi. I think it's a really interesting choice to use Exegol's power as a way to subjugate him under the Emperor again, just like it was an interesting choice to bring Sabé into his life immediately after his confrontation with Luke in Empire Strikes Back. Each arc seems to be taking on a mostly independent plot that moves Vader's character around in some way and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what else the seies has in store, even if I think the execution of a few of its previous ideas has faltered a little. 

I do expect it to be a bit jarring to go right into the War of the Bounty Hunters crossover after this very big and heavy story, doubly so because I think it'll be a tough sell to integrate Vader into that storyline at all. It does seem like the series might have some interesting cards to play during the crossover, so I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. This series has definitely had its ups and downs for me but I think it still has the potential to stick the landing and create a story that's satisfying to revisit from beginning to end, just like Soule's run on the Vader comic or Gillen's run on the main one. I think it's fair to say I'm looking forward to the next issue more than I was looking forward to this one. 

Our Score:


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