Comic Review – “Star Wars: Darth Vader” (2020) #34 Forces Sabé to Choose Between Power and Suffering

Even though it was just last week that we got a new issue of Star Wars: Darth Vader from Marvel Comics, yesterday already delivered the next chapter.

Darth Vader Vol. III, #34 picks up right where writer Greg Pak left of in #33, with the title character unable to control his powers due to the Force wave emitted by the Fermata Cage (see the Star Wars: Hidden Empire miniseries for more on that).

Vader uses this surge of Force power to take hold of his wife Padmé Amidala’s former handmaiden Sabé, and command her to finally choose between the dark side and the light. Then he and Sabé share a Force vision of a potential future, wherein the woman from Naboo uses her theoretical influence and control within the Empire to bring peace to the galaxy in Padmé’s name. It’s interesting here that Sabé actually sees the Battle of Endor occurring (as this comic takes place between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) and that she is able to commune with a vision of Luke Skywalker, who also gets a brief moment to meet his mother, as “imaginary” as this sequence may be. Back in the real world, Vader loses control again– and once more forces Sabé to make a choice between “hate leads to suffering” or “hate leads to power.” Sabé, of course, decides to simply choose not to hate, and that’s the final straw for the Dark Lord of the Sith, who casts her into the ocean to her (apparent) death.

Vader also lifts the Imperial shuttle that brought them there from the depths of the water and uses it as a shield against the incoming rebel attack ship, the occupants of which had somehow received a tip-off that the Dark Lord was there and that he wasn’t in control. But naturally Vader proves himself powerful with or without the Force and manages to take down the ship using a detached laser cannon from the shuttle’s hull. On the final page, Vader declares that all he needs is hate to be powerful, and we are left wondering if Sabé is truly dead or whether she might pop up again in the future. The cover for the next issue of Star Wars: Darth Vader promises another reunion between Vader and his former assistant Doctor Chelli Lona Aphra, so that should be interesting. In the meantime, it was fun to see how this loss of control affected the Dark Lord’s powers and how it may have potentially ended the Sabé arc (which started way back in issue #1 of this volume) once and for all. And beyond Pak’s consistently entertaining writing, the team of artist Adam Gorham and colorist Federico Blee are still delivering some really provocative imagery, especially in dealing with Vader’s rage and with the muted color palette of the flashback sequence. As always, I’m very curious to see where this title goes after such a momentous issue and weighty events in the wake of Hidden Empire.

Star Wars: Darth Vader #34 is available now wherever comic books are sold.

Mike Celestino
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 all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.