- "…I always described the story in interviews as the story of how Darth Vader recovers his position post-A New Hope. You know, he's arguably responsible for the biggest disaster of all time—or at least, the only person responsible still alive—and by Empire he's in a much more powerful state. We get Vader in an incredibly powerful position by the end of the story. So definitely Vader, by the end of the story, is the man we meet in Empire."
- ―Kieron Gillen
Darth Vader 25: End of Games, Part VI is the twenty-fifth and final issue of the ongoing Marvel comic book series Star Wars: Darth Vader. The issue, released on October 12, 2016, is written by Kieron Gillen, with art by Salvador Larroca and Max Fiumara.
It has all built up to this! Vader's trials against Cylo's creations! His machinations against the Emperor! His covert missions with Doctor Aphra and her murderous droids! All comes to fruition in an oversized 40-page issue by the stellar team of Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca! You won't want to miss this ending!
The final issue opens with Darth Vader piloting his TIE Advanced, racing to intercept Cylo-V before he and his whale-ship fleet can make their jump to hyperspace and flee Vader's and the Emperor's justice. Vader succeeds in breaching Cylo's flagship by flying his TIE into an open port to its anterior docking bay, where he encounters minimal resistance from Cylo's garrison. Vader moves towards the bridge, passing through Cylo's cloning facility. A number of tanks housing replacement bodies have been opened, and Cylo-VI, VII, VIII, IX, and X confront Vader with various weapons. Without difficulty, Vader dispatches Cylo's remaining clones, and leaves the cloning facility in flames, as he moves on.
Vader enters the bridge, where Cylo fearlessly taunts Vader, self-assured that he has transcended the Force through science and is entirely immortal. Vader uses a mind trick on the whale-ship, commanding it to fly into the nearest star. In horror, Cylo struggles to override his whale-ship's sudden Force-induced resistance to its captain's control, as Vader swiftly departs and watches as Cylo and his research base are immolated in the blink of an eye.
Back on the Super Star Destroyer Executor, a triumphant Vader reports of his victory and of Cylo's death to the Emperor. The Emperor, expecting a full report, reveals that Doctor Aphra is present, and has informed him of Vader's many treacheries. The Emperor, instead of angry, is quite pleased with his apprentice's scheming, believing Vader's conspiracies to be the proper way of the dark side. As he sings his praises, he leaves Vader alone with Aphra, and goes to speak with Grand General Cassio Tagge. Vader orders Aphra to follow him, and leads her to an airlock. Vader remains silent as Aphra attempts to defend her actions, telling him that she did not give up the secret of Vader's son to the Emperor. He opens the airlock, and beckons for Aphra to enter. Realizing her fate, she pleads with the Dark Lord for a quicker death, but Vader does not oblige, pushing her in, sealing the doors and jettisoning her into hard vacuum.
Vader rejoins the Emperor on the bridge with Tagge and Admiral Ozzel. The Emperor demotes Tagge, and awards Vader command over the Executor, his new flagship, and the entire Imperial fleet, including the Death Squadron fleet, Vader's personal fleet. He then departs again, leaving Vader to "educate" his new subordinates as he sees fit. Tagge appeals in vain to Vader's sensible side, arguing that under his command, his decisions have led to "increased stability" across the board, despite his mistakes, namely allowing Tulon Voidgazer full access to the Executor's systems. The Dark Lord is not persuaded, and chokes Tagge with the Force until death, appointing Admiral Ozzel in charge of the Executor's repairs and final preparations for its maiden voyage.
Vader, back in the Emperor's good graces, and with all loose ends seemingly tied up, stands victorious overlooking the vista of stars upon his new bridge. In his mind, he reaches out to his son, who reaches back, and he whispers, "Soon."
After the issue's credits page, we learn of Aphra's ultimate survival and her besting the Dark Lord of the Sith in a daring gamble. Having been jettisoned into space, Aphra floats seemingly lifeless in orbit around the Executor. That is, until a ship suddenly appears hidden within an asteroid and retracts her body aboard. Her rescuers, Black Krrsantan, 0-0-0, and BT-1, wake Aphra, whose injuries are serious but not fatal. They muse about the success of their plan—Aphra placing her bets on Vader killing her by airlock, not by lightsaber as she requested in her first meeting with the Dark Lord, and Aphra hiring Krrsantan to save her by reusing the equipment from the Son-tuul Pride robbery. With her survival safely a secret from Vader and the Emperor, the Tarkin Initiative droids firmly in her possession, and a lengthy debt owed to the Wookiee bounty hunter, they enter hyperspace to pursue new adventures.
In the first issue of Darth Vader, Vader slaughters an entire village of Tusken Raiders as he awaits the bounty hunters Boba Fett and Black Krrsantan. In the epilogue to the final issue, we learn that one Tusken Raider survived and witnessed the slaughter of his tribe from a hiding place atop a sand dune overlooking his village. When Vader departs Tatooine in his ship, the Tusken Raider wanders the desert aimlessly. As night falls over the Jundland Wastes, he lights a small fire to keep safe from the cold. A neighboring tribe traveling on Banthaback discovers him. He leads the tribe's shaman back to the lifeless village and tells him of the massacre. Later, as dawn approaches, the shaman retells the story of the village massacre to his tribe by fireside. He then orders the tribesmen to gather the dead to be burned; they build an effigy of Darth Vader, tying the lone survivor of the village massacre to a stake above the piles of carcasses, and sets the entire display on fire. As the dead villagers and the lone survivor burn, the tribe bows down in awe before the funeral pyre.
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Notes and referencesEdit
- Yehl, Joshua (May 13, 2016). Marvel's Star Wars: Darth Vader Comic Will End With Issue #25. IGN. Retrieved on May 13, 2016.