Hunting The Dark Lord In Star Wars: Target Vader #3

by Tony Thornley

If any character has gained a benefit from Marvel Comics’ work on Star Wars for the past four years, it’s been Darth Vader. The Dark Lord of the Sith had essentially become a mascot for Lucasfilm and Disney, even appearing in ads for Disney Theme Parks riding the Teacups, Dumbo and the carousel. However, since 2015, in the pages of various series, we’ve seen Vader return to his status as the greatest villain in science fiction, a trend which Star Wars: Target Vader #3 continues…

Cover by Nic Klein

Robbie Thompson, Stefano Landini, Neeraj Menon, and Joe Caramagna continue the hunt for Vader in this issue.

The bounty hunters have set up a trap on the surface of Keva- a world that’s home to a fleet of abandoned but functional drone fighters, which Valance purchases on the spot. This leads to an impressive battle as Vader’s Star Destroyer locates them, and engages in aerial combat. Improbably, the bounty hunters win, leading to Valance standing face to face with Darth Vader himself…

This issue continues this miniseries’ solid run. Thompson’s story sets up the hunters’ victory in a way that doesn’t feel contrived or forced. You absolutely believe that the gambit, no matter how elaborate, would be successful. Landini and Menon embrace the largely action driven issue with layouts that drive it along, and setting it in the daylight to set it apart from a conventional Star Wars story.

Most interestingly though is comparing this issue to other Vader-centered stories we;ve seen recently. Just this week we saw a Kylo Ren one-shot where the title character lives up to his grandfather. Other Star Wars stories have shown Vader as an actual character. But here, he’s a force of nature thanks to both the script and art, an unstoppable monster who could pull ships out of the sky with a wave. By taking an outside perspective of its antagonist, this issue is incredibly effective in telling its story.

An incredible conflict has been set up, now it’s down to hunter versus Sith. It’s going to be quite a read.

Star Wars: Target Vader #3 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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