I only have one word to describe this issue – Bold.
Greg Pak is definitely taking a bold stance in this issue regarding one of the world’s most revered villains, and I find myself torn by it. This entire run takes place between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, so whenever they tell a story, they are messing with cannon to a degree. This is mostly because there is very little time that passes between the two movies, unlike A New Hope and Empire where there are possibly years that span the two films.
Vader returns to the Emperor’s Throne room and is chastised for letting Luke escape and then running off to embark on a personal mission with Padme’s double, which took place over the past few issues. The Emperor wants to teach Vader a lesson that no matter how powerful the Dark Lord is, the Emperor is even more so. Palpatine sits back as Vader goes to work on his attacking guards, but as Vader begins to get the upper hand, Palpatine force chokes him. This is something we have never seen before. In fact, I don’t believe we have ever seen a Sith or Jedi force choked, because they can break it. Not here, however. Vader is choked into submission.
He finds himself back on Mustafar, in the very spot where he fought Obi-Wan while he was still Anakin Skywalker. The Emperor then rips Vader asunder with the force. Once again, Vader doesn’t deflect the attack with the force in any way, which I find doesn’t live up to his character. He is left near the lava with no legs and one arm and is instructed by Palpatine to not use the force or he will know.
Grabbing his fallen lightsaber, Vader crawls to attempt to fix himself, while the Emperor sends out an assassin, just for good measure. Like things weren’t grim enough for Vader at this point.
It was definitely a shocking issue, that much is certain. Do the things that happen in this issue match Vader’s character? – I’m not too sure. He seems to be beat pretty quickly. Also, he’s hit with force lightning. Had he been hit force lightning prior to Jedi? I’m not sure. When he was hit by the Emperor’s lightning in the movie, it effected his breathing apparatus, but doesn’t here.
I think the bottom line for me is the same as the one for the Star Wars comic series – if this wasn’t supposed to be cannon, I would be enjoying it a lot more. However, by saying this part of the actual Star Wars storyline, I’m having a harder time swallowing it.
Definitely check it out, just for the shock factor.