Star Wars: Darth Vader #12 (July 2021)

War Of The Bounty Hunters – Prelude: Into The Trap

Writer: Greg Pak, Art: Guiu Vilanova, Colours: Dean White, Giada Marchisio

PRELUDE TO WAR OF THE BOUNTY HUNTERS: “”RESTORATION”” Returned to the fold after his rebellion against the EMPEROR, DARTH VADER faces the horrors of reconstruction in the secret laboratories of CORUSCANT. As he blacks out under the knife, does he still dream of revenge against his master? Or do his thoughts drift towards his son – and the friends who make LUKE SKYWALKER so vulnerable? Don’t miss this next critical new chapter in Vader’s ongoing evolution – featuring the revelation of the first time the Dark Lord learned the name HAN SOLO! official solicitation

At the end of the last arc Vader was left both physically and mentally broken by the Emperor. After witnessing the extent of the power Palpatine controls he the could either be destroyed or fall back in line. Now the Emperor has control of him again he rebuilds Vader knowing he will no longer be a threat. But the power of the dark side comes through hate and to grow his power Vader will have to directed his hatred elsewhere. As he is going through the pain of having new limbs attached he finds a new target for the focus of his rage – Han Solo. In Vader’s eyes Han is the one that Luke relies on, the person that stops Luke from being turned to the darkness, and person who aided Luke in the destruction of the Death Star. If he can get to Solo he can control his son. And this is all before he finds out that Han wants to fuck his daughter. So begins the ‘Darth Vader’ part of the massive ‘War Of The Bounty Hunters’ crossover.

In this prelude issue to the event Greg Pak tells the story of how Vader finds out who Solo is. We see Vader piece it all together through memories of the events of ‘A New Hope’, a film where the two characters don’t actual meet. He knows he is after a YT-Series freighter as there was one on the Death Star and at the Battle of Yavin. Cut to Corellia and we see what looks like the Falcon in a docking bay and someone dressed like Han is exiting the ship. It turns out not be Han but an Rodian who is greeted by the sharp end of Vader’s lightsaber. By coincidence Han and Chewie are also in the docking bay and Vader locks eyes with Han, recognising him from the Death Star docking bay. The two smugglers take this as their signal to leave and they jump in the real Falcon. Vader pursues in his TIE but loses them amongst the most YT freighters you have ever seen in one place.

The big question this poses is just how many freighter pilots has Vader killed until he found the one he was after. He doesn’t know he is looking for Han until the moment he sees him so is he just travelling from docking bay to docking bay hoping that every pilot he kills might be the right one. It’s only after he has seen Solo’s face that he can get the docking bay droid to identify him and then he destroys the droid so no one else knows what he was up to. Vader now has the name of Skywalker’s friend and if he can get to Solo he can control Luke.

Greg Pak is once again taking material from the films and adding layers to it and this sets up why it is Han that Vader chooses to torture in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ but where this story is leading seems unnecessary. Vader is now going to team up with Ochi of Bestoon and Bokku the Hutt to get the frozen Solo as controlling Han is the key to turning Luke to the dark side. But if this is the case why did he give Han to Boba Fett in the first place. This is the problem of massive comic book crossovers. Books that were quiet happy telling their own stories being forced to bend in directions that they were not planning to and a five month commitment to something you are not looking forward to reading is a lot to ask. Hopefully Pak can prove me wrong and carry on entertaining.


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