Darth Vader is one of the most fearsome and stoic figures in the Star Wars galaxy. But deep down, under those layers of leather, metal, and charred flesh, he is still Anakin Skywalker. And Anakin Skywalker is nothing if not a petty, petty man.
This week’s Darth Vader #13—by Charles Soule, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Daniele Orlandini, and David Curiel—is set three years into Palpatine’s reign, jumping ahead from the previous story to primarily focus on a tale of how the Empire came to subjugate the Mon Calamari homeworld. But it opens with Vader, ensconced in his meditation chamber, having a dream of a scene that’s very familiar to Star Wars fans. He’s looking back to the final moments of his encounter with Obi-Wan on Mustafar during Revenge of the Sith. But there’s one key difference.
Anakin doesn’t imagine himself as he once was. He imagines himself as the Dark Lord of the Sith that he’s become. And he imagines himself winning.
The dialogue is still the same, ripped from the movie. Obi-Wan still infamously has the high ground. The moment is still a fateful one, but instead of it ending as we know it ends, with Obi-Wan abandoning the burning body of his fallen friend, it’s Vader who stands victorious, watching his former master ignite in flames.
It makes for a great visual moment to kick the issue off. But it’s also totally Anakin Skywalker.
In the time frame of this issue, it’s been three years since this moment actually played out the way it actually did—and he’s still drawn back to it. Imagining what it would be like now that he finally has the power he arrogantly told Obi-Wan not underestimate. Going over that moment over and over, just to prove to no one but his own conscience that if it happened now, he’d be victorious. It’s a side of Vader we rarely see—in the original movies he exudes a quiet confidence as part of his intimidating aura. But this sort of almost childish braggadocio? That’s absolutely the Anakin we know of from the prequels. And it makes sense that deep down, underneath the stoic indomitable figure of Darth Vader, he can still be the man he once was.
This latest run of the Darth Vader comic, set in the fertile ground of the earliest years after the Republic’s fall, hasn’t been afraid to relitigate some elements from Revenge of the Sith. But it’s nice to see the series revisit the film in ways that dig more into what Anakin Skywalker is like as a man now in some interesting ways like this. Even if they are, in reality, displays of just delightfully petty Anakin can still be.