FORTRESS VADER: FINALE! The FORTRESS is complete. The door will be opened. VADER finds everything he has ever desired. THE DARK LORD gets everything he deserves.
Fortress Vader – Part VII
Vader enters the portal doorway and his force presence leaves his body behind.
He is led through a vision of how his life has been. Taking him back to see his pregnant mother, nightmares as a child on Tatooine, his Padawan training, falling in love with Padmé, his alliance with his padawan Ahsoka and him striking her down.
At the steps of the Jedi temple, he sees the Jedi he has defeated, but also those who were his friends. He springs to life with 2 blades and cuts down each and every one, even Master Yoda.
Inside the temple Senator Palpatine and Obi-Wan are in combat, which Obi-Wan loses. Palpatine blocks his way to a doorway at the top of the stairs, using force lightning Vader kills Palpatine and proceeds onto a balcony.
His wife Padmé stands before on the balcony facing away from him. He offers her his hand, he can save them both, but she doesn’t know him and says that “Anakin Skywalker is dead.”
She tumbles backwards off the balcony and falls, lightning strikes and evaporates her body mid-air.
The pain and anguish brings Vader to his knees, as he rises again, a shaft of bright light on the horizon approaches. From that light steps a figure, who ignites a familiar lightsaber and the force of this pushes Vader’s back into this body and the portal doorway closes.
Vader wakes and retrieves his lightsaber and in his anger, he destroys the alter.
A holo of Vader stands before the Emperor in his throne. He was worries that he needed a new apprentice. From the look of him his time on Mustafar has been challenging, and asks of his return. This will be soon, but the Emperor wants to know if has learned what he needed. Vader cuts off the communication and exits the chamber, standing in front of his fortress he replies… “yes.”The review;
Well the time I have been dreading is here. The 25th and final issue of Darth Vader from Marvel Comics, written by Charles Soule, has arrived to bring the curtain down on the series.
I’ll start with the covers as normal and although I was expecting more variants, we are treated to 3 beautiful covers. The direct edition cover from Giuseppe Camuncolli and Elia Bonnetti is stunning. It is a very deep and complex cover with amazing details on the lightning, lava and fire surrounding Vader emerging from the centre of it. Then we have the final character in the Rod Reis Galactic Icon’s series. The last issue for Vader and the subject of the variant can only be See-Threepio and ‘Thank the maker’, it is! The Reis series has been brilliant throughout the year. It must have been so difficult narrowing the selection of characters down to only 36. Then the last and final variant is from Gabrielle Dell’otto showing Vader striking a clench fisted pose that truly shows his power.
I’ve already hinted on social media to Charles Soule that I may have been slightly impressed with this issue, but in reality, it is one of the best, if not the best and most well thought out modern era comics I have ever read. It is just a fitting end to the series, but I feel it opens up so many possibilities for the coming Episode IX and fits perfectly with Episodes I to VIII, The Clone Wars, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Rebels. As for the Episode IX part, I will come back to that later.
There are just so many little Easter eggs, nods and nuances to the everything we already know from cover to cover. I especially loved the ‘nightmare’ of young Anakin where his Vader shadow, harking back to The Phantom Menace teaser poster, comes alive and tries to reach out to him. Vader is haunted by his past, but young Anakin was haunted by his future through force visions before his journey to become a Jedi began.
Ultimately there is the rejection from Padmé that she believes Anakin is dead. On his return to the ‘real world’ he has the answer he needs. Although rejected by his wife, he now knows that his former self has been extinguished. Or has it? An unfamiliar figure bathed in white light ventures towards him, a figure we all know as his son, Luke, but still at this point unknown to him. So even when he has the answer, the force is still warning him of his eventual redemption.
Now here’s my Episode IX what if? Could Kylo Ren find his grandfather’s fortress castle on Mustafar and activate the ‘portal doorway’ like Vader did? Could he go back to ‘let the past die’ and ‘kill it if you have to’ and change the path of the galaxy? Ezra goes through a similar experience himself in Rebels, so it is something we have seen before, that would be an amazing twist that could open up a plot line beyond anything we’ve ever seen.
I could go on for hours, if not days, drawing lines, talking theories and comparisons like these. I advise you to read this issue, not once, but read it 3 or 4 times and you will notice how deep these connecting lines are.
Marvel has a new Vader title lined up for 2019 and I think this may be a mistake. Any new title will struggle to stand up against what has been such an outstanding series, let alone try and match it. Charles Soule has given us, what I believe to be, the best Star Wars comic series since the early Marvel comics of the late 70’s.
I wasn’t originally slated to review this, but in a twist of events, I got asked to take it on and it has been a pleasure and an honour to have been able to review it. I’m so glad I did, I have found this series nigh on impossible to criticise, which is an unbelievable achievement.
I want to offer a heartfelt thank you to Charles, Giuseppe, Elia and the myriad of contributors for this amazing series. I really hope to see you all reunited on a new Star Wars title very soon, but for now, whatever you move on to next, ‘may the force be with you!’
This issue was released on 19th December 2018 and is available via the Marvel App and all good comic book stores. This issue retails at $4.99.