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Reaction to the story online in the wake of its release has been...well, as you might expect from the headline of this blog, one filled with controversy—especially for female readers. A part of Star Wars fandom, and especially within female fan circles, that’s been around for as long as fandom itself are people who are fans of the franchise’s villains. From the Imperial cosplayers of 501st to Reylo shippers, there are people who champion these characters as their favorites as much as there are people who laud the heroes of the Republic, Rebellion, and Resistance—or fantasize about them (I mean, we all saw Ben Swolo, right?). Being attracted to villains is a tale as old as fiction itself.

And yet Dark Visions’ view of the nurses desires takes established feminine power fantasies and treats them as delusional jokes, right up until the moment it leaves its female protagonist a crumbled heap on the floor. Threads like the one above from female fans lambasting the story have even lead to Dark Visions writer Dennis Hallum reaching out to defend the nurse’s portrayal as one that’s meant to be heroic—and that the story is meant not to depict the medic as someone mentally unstable:

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Which would be fair if Lopez, Pina, and Vicente’s artwork didn’t repeatedly depict the nurse as looking manic, even before her breaking point near the issue’s climax.

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But what’s also what’s stoked the controversy around the story even further is that Chuck Wendig—the writer rapidly removed from Shadow of Vader when it was first announced despite having already written multiple issues, before the entire book was cancelled and replaced with the similarly-premised Dark Visions—also took to Twitter to make a comment. The author revealed that in Shadow there would’ve been a similar tale from a male perspective, framed as a commentary not on female obsession, but toxic masculinity:

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Whether the story was inspired by Wendig’s pitch for Shadow of Vader or just a matter of awkward coincidence is unknown—when reached for a statement about reaction to Dark Visions #3 and Wendig’s statement, Marvel Comics declined to offer further commentary. It would seem that this is just the latest shadow Shadow of Vader’s cancellation has happened to cast over its successor.


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