It has been four and a half months since the release of Marvel Comics’ previous issue of Star Wars: Darth Vader, though that’s no fault of the iconic publishing company or the extremely talented writers and artists who bring the series to life on the page. The current state of the world has had an effect on many aspects of the entertainment industry, and unfortunately the comic-book market was one of them. But thankfully, Marvel seems to have gotten things up and running again and we are now seeing near-weekly releases of Star Wars comics, including the acclaimed Darth Vader title, which is now in its third volume since first launching in 2015.
Star Wars: Darth Vader #3 continues the story from where writer Greg Pak (X-Treme X-Men) and artist Raffaele Ienco (Avengers World) left off back in March, with Vader teaming up with Padmé Amidala’s former handmaiden Sabé to solve the mystery of Padmé’s death and possibly bring her killer or killers to justice, though obviously Vader knows a bit more about those circumstances than he’s letting on.
This month’s new issue brings Vader and Sabé back to the serene planet of Naboo, and the Dark Lord keeps getting flashbacks of the time spent on this planet with his beloved prior to the breakout of the Clone Wars. Fans of the Star Wars prequel trilogy are going to find a lot to like about this issue, which sees the return of more than a few familiar locations, characters, creatures, and yes, even vehicles. There are tie-ins and remembrances of the events of The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith, yes, but also references to the recently released novels about Padmé and her handmaidens entitled Star Wars: Queen’s Shadow and Star Wars: Queen’s Peril. Indeed, those paying to the larger tapestry of current-canon Star Wars novels and comic books are going to find elements of long-planted seeds starting to pay off in this story.
I am hesitant to spoil any further surprises that lay in store for Darth Vader and Sabé on Naboo, so suffice it to say that Pak continues to do a terrific job both in furthering Vader’s ongoing quest to discover the truth about Padmé’s final hours, and also providing quite a bit of fan-service in resurrecting some familiar faces and locales, answering the question of “Whatever happened to…” when it comes to some of the secondary characters from the prequels. It’s also worth noting that Ienco’s artwork strikes that ideal balance between evocative and grounded, which works best when it comes to comics set in A Galaxy Far, Far Away. There are a couple really clever twists and one big cliffhanger ending to be found here as Vader and company carry on in unraveling this particular puzzle, so it’s incredibly fortunate we now only have to wait two more weeks until the next issue is released.
Star Wars: Darth Vader #3 is available now wherever comic books are sold.
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general since a very young age and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.