Comic Review – The Schism Imperial’s Assault On the Sith World of Exegol Begins in “Star Wars: Darth Vader” #46

Today saw the release of issue #46 in the third volume of the ongoing Star Wars: Darth Vader title from Marvel Comics, and below are my brief recap and thoughts on this installment.

I hope you got around to picking up and reading this year’s Star Wars Free Comic Book Day issue that came out over the weekend, because Darth Vader (2020) #46 begins with a direct continuation of the storyline writer Greg Pak introduced there. Yes, Padmé Amidala’s former handmaiden Sabé is back, having survived her last encounter with the Dark Lord of the Sith, and she’s seeking out his would-be-Jedi-Knight son Luke Skywalker, with the help of the Force-sensitive con-artist Warba Calip (who we now know is working for Vader himself). So Sabé and Warba meet up at the Sergia Seven Spaceport and head out on a Naboo ship in search of Luke, while in a different part of the galaxy Captain Corleque makes a delivery to the Red Honeycomb Zone that separates known space from the Sith planet of Exegol. The Sith Eternal can sense Corleque’s hatred for Vader, but that makes him the perfect candidate for the job so that Darth Sidious and his cronies don’t detect the coming incursion of the Schism Imperial.

So Vader, Imperial Sub-Administrator Sly Moore, Senior Lieutenant Pryde, and the M.A.R. Corps make their way to Exegol aboard a shuttle shielded with Kyberite to protect them from the positively Lovecraftian creature known as the Summa-Verminoth and its “psycho-venomous” abilities, although they still suffer some mental damage while traveling through the red mist it calls home. Once arriving on the planet, our antiheroes are attacked by the Sith Eternal, and Vader appears to succumb to their offensive, until we realize that the titular Dark Lord has a few tricks up his sleeve. It turns out that the Vader we’ve been following this issue is actually a robot in disguise (no, not that kind) and that the true Vader has been smuggled onto Exegol via Corleque’s deliveries. From here Vader causes quite a bit of chaos on the Sith planet, even going so far as to bring a building containing a stockpile of large Kyber crystals crumbling down around him.

This issue ends with another attack, but this time from above as the Summa-verminoth evidently wants revenge on whoever woke it from its slumber. It’s a rather terrifying cliffhanger filled with the kind of existential dread that will likely keep readers coming back for more in the next issue, and this kickoff to “The Razing of Exegol” arc only further leads me to believe that this volume of the Star Wars: Darth Vader coming will likely be ending four months from now with issue #50. I imagine that announcement will be coming up soon, but until then I’m absolutely enjoying how all-out Pak and his artist Raffaele Ienco are going with the idea that Lord Vader may actually want Palpatine eliminated, even though we know that doesn’t happen before the events of Return of the Jedi. The other dangling question here is what Sabé has planned for Luke when she finds him, and how Warba might stand in the way of that, but we’re sure to find out more about that in June!

Star Wars: Darth Vader #46 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.