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Comic Book / Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith

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The Clone Wars are over. The Jedi are defeated. Palpatine
has become Emperor, finally in position to bend the galaxy
to his will through the power of the Sith.

Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker has fallen to the dark side
of the Force. Swayed by Palpatine's promise to help
prevent the death of his pregnant wife, Padmé, Skywalker
betrayed the Jedi and became the Sith Lord Darth Vader.
Defeated by his old friend and former master Obi-Wan
Kenobi, Vader was left to die on the volcanic planet

Retrieved by Palpatine, and placed into a suit of
cybernetic armor to preserve his life, Vader awakens to
learn that wife has died. Now, for Darth Vader, there is
only rage, pain, and the new Galactic Empire...

Star Wars: Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith is a 2017 Marvel Comics Star Wars comic series written by Charles Soule (Lando, Obi-Wan & Anakin, Poe Dameron, later Jedi of the Republic) and illustrated by newcomer Giuseppe Camuncoli (the 2015 run of The Amazing Spider-Man and The Superior Spider-Man, later Jedi of the Republic), set in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. It is an immediate sequel to Revenge of the Sith, as well as a prequel to Darth Vader, which takes place after the events of A New Hope.

Taking place immediately after Darth Vader joins Emperor Palpatine in viewing the Death Star, the new Dark Lord must learn to adapt to his new life as a machine rather than a man and without the accompaniment of his former allies at his side, beginning with the construction of his new lightsaber and the birth of the Imperial Inquisition.

Not to be confused with Dark Lord—The Rise of Darth Vader, a Legends novel that also explores Vader adjusting to his new life in the aftermath of Order 66. Also not to be confused with Darth Vader (2011), a Legends comic book series that explores the same subject.

The first issue was released on June 7th, 2017, and concluded its run with the twenty-fifth issue on December 19th, 2018. Followed up in production order by Vader: Dark Visions, an anthology miniseries which explores the legends that get built up around Vader as seen through the eyes of the galaxy's various citizens.

The series was comprised of five story arcs:

  • The Chosen One - As Vader adjusts to his new cybernetic existence, his first order of business is replacing the lightsaber he lost in his fateful battle with Obi-Wan Kenobi. Since the saber of a Sith Lord must always be taken, not given, Vader is tasked with hunting down Order 66 survivor Kirak Infil'a and taking his weapon.
  • The Dying Light - Jedi archivist Jocasta Nu is revealed to have survived Order 66, in search of a secret that may help future generations restore the Jedi Order. Vader is paired with a new Dark Jedi, the Grand Inquisitor, to hunt down Jocasta and any other Jedi who have eluded the Empire.
  • Rule of Five - After fending off an assassination attempt, Vader launches an investigation to find the mastermind behind the attempt on his life. His search leads him to a traitorous cabal within the very ranks of the Empire itself.
  • The Burning Seas - The spark of Rebellion ignites on Mon Cala, as Jedi exile Ferren Barr begins a campaign of resistance against the Empire. With the Empire's grip on the Outer Rim still fragile, Vader and the Inquisitors are tasked with crushing the rebellion before it can spread to other worlds.
  • Fortress Vader - Vader returns to Mustafar, the site of his greatest defeat, intent on building a fortress and harnessing the energies of an ancient Sith presence.

Tropes in this series include:

  • Abusive Parents: Assuming Vader's vision in #25 is accurate and Palpatine is indeed his "father" note , then the Emperor more than qualifies.
  • Accidental Hero: Vader destroys the data crystal with the list of Force-sensitives on it that the Emperor wanted then killed Jocasta Nu so none of the children could ever be found. While Vader only did it so there would be no chance the Emperor could replace him (and perhaps a small part of him wanted to save others from his fate), he did protect the lives and futures of countless innocent children from a monster.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Palpatine undergoes this to a small extent, at least towards Darth Vader. In Legends, he rarely taught Vader anything and instead spent much of his time doing things to torture him, including making his suit as unbearable as possible. In the Canon, he seems to take Vader's role as apprentice more seriously and sometimes teaches him things about Sith philosophy and history. There's also no indication that Palpatine has any intention of making Vader's suit more of a burden then necessary, and in fact he explicitly gives Vader permission to make any changes to it that he sees fit.
    Palpatine: Padmé is dead, my friend. Even the power of the Dark Side cannot bring her back. But in her death, she has given you a gift: Pain. Now you must choose. Will you accept that gift? Will you use it or will you die?
    • In the Canon, he also tells Vader to rein in his Bad Boss tendencies. In Legends, he was actually worse than Vader when it came to this. Though this could be Pragmatic Villainy.
      Palpatine: I do not wish to rule over a galaxy of the dead.
    • In the final arc, he agrees to let Vader have a world of his own, and even offers Naboo (his original homeworld, mind you) or Tatooine (even suggesting that Vader could decimate it in payback for his suffering there) for that purpose.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Inverted; compared to Legends' depiction of Vader's early days, here he's much less regretful of his past actions, preferring to bury his pain instead of wallowing in it.
  • Adaptational Sympathy: Darth Vader was made this, at least in contrast to the Legends version of the character. Legends Vader's villainy, Depending on the Writer, depicts him as a ruthless killing machine who will tear down anyone who '''gets in his way, be they friend or foe, and really reveling in being evil. Canon Vader, though still a cold and merciless killing machine, is shown to have become evil because he feels like he has no other choice, using the guilt of having betrayed the Jedi Order and playing a role in his wife's death as the means to punish himself for his sins.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: After giving him a speech about how he's nothing but a blind tool to Palpatine and that the Emperor wanted to use the data crystal with a list of Force sensitives to make more like Vader and possibly replace him, Jocasta asks Vader, "What do you want?". Instead of delivering her and the memory crystal to Palpatine, he chooses to kill her and destroys the crystal. Just as Jocasta was counting on.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Mask of Momin (which already appeared in Star Wars: Lando), stolen from Jocasta's secret archives, which can possess people and make them carry out its bidding. It's also told Palpatine about its past and developed the finalized plans for Vader's Mustafar castle by possessing an architect.
  • Babies Ever After: A very twisted subversion of this; former Jedi Master Eeth Koth is revealed to have had a daughter, but almost immediately after she's born, Vader and the Inquisitors storm in, kill Koth, and kidnap the baby for use in Project Harvester.
  • Bad Boss: Vader is this to the Inquisitors; Force-choking or beating them up when they annoy him, cutting off their arms to ensure that they have the same set of disadvantages that he has, and outright killing two of them who he felt were getting too friendly with each other.
  • Bait-and-Switch: At first, it sounds like Jocasta's pride would get the best of her in that she'd be too hasty in trying to rebuild, costing her chance at doing so as well as letting her information fall into Sith hands. Ultimately, while her pride does get her caught sneaking around the Jedi Temple, she deletes the archives with a contingency key and is prepared to die.
  • Battle Couple: A villainous variant with the red female Inquisitor and the black Twi'lek one, who help to kidnap Eeth Koth's child. They're killed off once Vader finds out about their relationship though.
  • Being Evil Sucks: If there's one running theme of the comic, it's how self-hating, suicidal, and all-around messed up Darth Vader is. He violently lashes out at anything positive since it reminds him of what he used to be and/or how he had to give that up, spreads as much pain as he can to alleviate his own, and seeks out dangerous situations partly because he really wants to die and partly just to feel something again.
  • Being Good Sucks: At this point in time, the transition from Republic to Empire is recent enough that the Empire still benefits from some level of Villain with Good Publicity status. There are many people who nevertheless realize how evil and corrupt the Empire really is, but most of them believe that openly challenging it would be suicide. Jedi who were lucky enough to survive Order 66 have to avoid drawing too much attention to themselves, and some, like Eeth Koth, have essentially given up on fighting the good fight. Those who are brave enough to challenge the Empire tend to either succumb to He Who Fights Monsters (like Ferren Barr) or get crushed like bugs when support fails to materialize (like Lee-Char).
  • Berserk Button: Jocasta really doesn't want the Grand Inquisitor reading her books out of what appears to be pride rather than actually wanting to keep forbidden knowledge under wraps. She only blows her cover to confront him when he apathetically throws one of her books, which we know will lead to her death and the loss of the artifacts she was retrieving.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Jocasta attempts to jump to her death when cornered by Vader and his clone troopers, but he manages to catch her mid-air with the Force.
  • BFG: The gun Jocasta pulls on Vader. It appears to use the same technology as the Death Star, drawing its energy from the kyber crystal of a lightsaber loaded in its ammunition chamber and firing continuous beams of energy; however the process visibly damages the lightsaber.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: The Burning Seas has a unique case of a Big Good Wannabe in the form of Lee-Char.
    Lee-Char: The Mon Calamari are central to the destruction of the Empire, and it will not happen without me. I know this to be true.
    Darth Vader: A twitch of my finger could end you forever. You are central to nothing.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The second arc, The Dying Light, ends this way. Jocasta Nu dies, but Vader chooses to destroy the information she possessed rather than give it to Palpatine. Meanwhile, we see that Jocasta's assistant has sealed away her collection of Jedi knowledge, to one day be found by Luke Skywalker.
    • The final arc, Fortress Vader. After his vision culminates in seeing Padmé die again, Vader finally accepts there's no way he can bring her back. He then fully lets go of his old life and commits to the Dark Side, in a moment framed as oddly triumphant. However, the final thing Vader sees before the vision ends is a far-off apparition of Luke, reminding us that Anakin will eventually return to the light.
  • Black Comedy:
    • While Vader chases down the romantically-involved Inquisitors, his ship crashes right on top of a Gran senator having a romantic tryst in the park. Even better is that the ship lands on the couple at the exact moment their glasses clink together. And what tops it all off is how plainly exasperated Palpatine is by this, and by how Vader is still as unbothered by carving a vast swathe of destruction in pursuit of his objective as he was as Anakin Skywalker.
    • Throughout the failures of building his castle on Mustafar, Vader kills Momin's current host for every one of them. On the eighth attempt, Vader has Momin possess a Lava Flea, with Momin's mask simply mounted on the flea's horn.
      Momin: Now, I can understand why you might have lost a bit of faith in me at this point. But I've said all along that this is a process.
  • Blatant Lies: Palpatine says that he has freed the Inquisitors from the "slavery" of the Light Side when he stripped them of their identity, replaced their names with numbers, forced them to work for him and keeps them in line with the fear that he will horribly torture or kill them if they displease them.
  • Book Ends: The first word Vader utters in the comic is "No!", in a recreation of his awakening scene from Revenge of the Sith, showing that his grief is still raw and his unwillingness to accept the consequences his actions have wrought. The final panel of the comic, by which point he's accepted that Padmé is forever lost to him, is him saying "Yes" in a response to a question from Palpatine, showing he's finally let go of his life as Anakin Skywalker.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Darth Vader has no lightsaber for the first three issues. Apart from a predictable Curb-Stomp Battle when he tries attacking Palpatine, it doesn't slow him down. He also ends up in a Curb-Stomp Battle when he fights Kirak (who he has to steal his kyber crystal from in order to make his own lightsaber); but survives the encounter and uses the Force in their rematch to return the favor.
  • Call-Back:
    • The Inquisitorius base is located in the Industrial District of Coruscant. In Attack of the Clones, that's where Count Dooku went to report to Palpatine about starting the Clone Wars. Also, during the Yoda arc in The Clone Wars, Palpatine and Dooku meet there again so they can cast an illusion on Yoda (who was on a quest to learn how to become a Force ghost) about him fighting Palpatine in the district.
    • In the second Annual, Vader wipes out a rebellious Geonosian hive and afterwards states that "They were animals. So I slaughtered them like animals."
  • Call-Forward:
    • We discover the origins of Vader's red lightsaber, as Anakin lost his blue lightsaber while fighting Obi-Wan on Mustafar back in Revenge of the Sith.
    • We also learn the origins of the Imperial Inquisition, who first appeared in Rebels and earlier in Ahsoka. In the latter, it turned out that within a year of the Empire's rise to power, the Grand Inquisitor and the Sixth Brother were already active.
    • The left eye of Vader's mask is shattered open while he attempts to bleed his kyber crystal, appearing exactly like a) where Obi-Wan would later injure him in his eponymous series, and b) mirror-similar to how Ahsoka cut the right eye of his mask open in Rebels. In all these instances, Vader is presented with the option of leaving the dark side by bringing up old memories, but he violently rejects it both times after a moment's hesitation.
    • The cave on Mustafar that Palpatine sends Vader to in order to bleed a kyber crystal appears to be where Vader's Castle will be built, as the All There in the Manual of Rogue One states it was built over a cave. The "Fortress Vader" arc later expands on this, actually showing Vader going to Mustafar to have his castle built on that location.
    • In the 2015 run of the series, Vader has a What If? scene where Obi-Wan mercy-kills him on Mustafar after the latter is incapacitated by throwing him into the lava, the scenario being driven by Vader's belief that if Obi-Wan had truly loved him, he would have killed him. Here, Vader has another What If? vision that includes him begging for Obi-Wan to forgive him and kill him, only for the latter to refuse to kill him because he forgives him... which causes Vader to snap back to reality and reject this alternate scenario.
    • In Vader's What If? vision, he kills Palpatine in lightsaber combat. Considering Palpatine doesn't use his Force-lightning powers during the fight, one must question the accuracy of this vision in comparison to how it would realistically happen.
    • Jocasta's message in her holocron is the same as Shaak Ti's message in her own holocron, as seen in the main Star Wars comic series.
    • The second Annual features Scarif, Krennic, and the Ersos.
    • In the final issue, Vader goes on some sort of vision quest that recaps his entire life, narrated by "echoes" of lines from the previous movies. Then, as Vader is confronted by his past enemies, the voice changes to Kylo Ren.
    • Another part of that same vision is Vader seeing flashes of the duel he will have with Ahsoka on Malachor years later. Vader remarked that their duel was "foretold" to happen, and now we know that he wasn't just being dramatic.
  • Canon Immigrant: Quinlan Vos is revealed to have survived Order 66 (or at least isn't confirmed to be dead by the Empire), having also survived in Legends.
  • Catch-22 Dilemma: Palpatine wants Vader to steal a kyber crystal from a surviving Jedi. The only accessible Jedi that Vader can confront is a Jedi Master, who is obviously skilled in lightsaber combat, among other things. Naturally, this leads to a Curb-Stomp Battle. However, this is soon alleviated when Vader steals Arex's training lightsaber so he can fight fairly against Kirak, while also threatening the civilians to distract him and make him stand down.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In Issue #2, one of the clone troopers named Ding is playing with a green-bladed lightsaber. His comrade Kicker takes it and puts it on a wall. When Darth Vader attacks the space station, guess what lightsaber he uses?
  • Chekhov's Gunman: One of the workers on Mustafar mentions feeling cold, with another worker incredulous given where they are. This is a sign that the worker is Force sensitive enough to feel the Dark Side from the nearby Vader. And Force sensitive enough to, when used as Momin's host, open the portal for him.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Palpatine explains to Vader about how if you want to use a kyber crystal that isn't attuned to you, you have to make it "bleed", the subject having first been explored in Ahsoka, where Ahsoka purifies bled kyber crystals after defeating the Sixth Brother.
    • Ahsoka is among the list of Jedi survivors/unconfirmed deaths.
    • Jocasta mantras "I am one with the Force and the Force is with me." when she thinks she's going to die.
    • Jocasta leaping from a tall building to in front of a battalion of armed and hostile clones that believe her to be a traitor brings to mind Krell versus the 501st after Rex confronted him during the Umbara arc in The Clone Wars.
    • Once again, Vader gets his lightsaber taken, and the taker (in this case, the Jedi Temple droid Cator) calls it a "fine addition [to the Archive Vault's inventory]".
    • You probably remember Commander Fox for his Friendly Fire on Fives back in The Clone Wars. In this installment, his men open Friendly Fire on Vader because they thought he was a Jedi.
    • The possessed mask of the Sith Lord Momin, seen originally in Lando (where it possesses some of Lando's crew while they smuggle Palpatine's shipments) returns in this series, where it's revealed to be the true architect for Vader's castle by way of possessing one of the Imperial architects Vader brings with him.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: Vader uses the slim and elegant lightsaber he took from Kirak Infil'a until it's pulled from his grasp by a Tractor Beam gun and torn apart when he tries to recapture it with the Force. Vader rebuilds it into the thicker-handled model he's using in the movies, which he can hold more easily in his cybernetic hand.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Darth Vader is on the receiving end for a change when he tries attacking Palpatine in the first issue. The older Sith Lord easily overpowers him by manipulating him to let his guard down first and then tortures him with Force Lightning as a reminder not to attack him again.
    • And is on the receiving end again in issue 3 where he's defeated by the Jedi Master Kirak Infil'a in their first duel. Worf Had the Flu is in effect, however, as Vader is quite willing to demonstrate in their rematch.
    • Vader gets thrown a bone when he defeats the Grand Inquisitor in their first encounter, which was a Secret Test of Character by Palpatine to make sure Vader is still strong enough after recovering from his kyber crystal quest. Vader later asks him if the Grand Inquisitor would be his new second-in-command if he lost instead, but Palpatine simply answers that if Vader never doubted his own ability in defeating the Pau'an, then he should assume the same about his position as Palpatine's apprentice.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Strangely enough, the Grand Finale of the comic presents The Dark Side, for the first time in canon, as strangely neutral, almost like a force of nature. Extremely creepy to be sure, but not malicious or evil. It even seemingly seeks to give Vader closure; his vision is what finally convinces him that he needs to let go to find any peace, as what's done is done and there's no way that he can take back what he did. It also offers him the possibility of redemption in the future, a glimpse of his son, Luke Skywalker. As it points at the beginning, everything it is showing Vader is true...from a certain point of view.
  • A Death in the Limelight: In Issue #16, while fleeing the Inquisitors, Barr's companions die one by one, with a page worth of flashbacks showing their dark and troubled pasts for each of them.
  • Death Seeker: Issue #5 once more confirms Vader to be this, as Vader's vision shows him begging Obi-Wan to kill him.
  • Description Cut: Palpatine talks at length about the danger and deception of the Jedi and how they are a malicious infection that present the biggest threat to the Empire. Cut to Madame Jocasta in hiding, drinking tea and reading with an animal on her lap and a serene expression.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: Palpatine to Vader, after the latter lashes out at him with the Force.
    Palpatine: I realize this has been a...traumatic time for you. But if you touch me with the Force again, I will finish what Kenobi could not. You are my friend, Lord Vader. I do hope we never find ourselves in this position again.
  • Doomed by Canon: The Burning Seas arc was published alongside the main comic's Mutiny on Mon Cala arc, which makes it clear that Mon Cala's resistance will fail, with the planet being occupied and King Lee-Char being taken prisoner by the Empire.
  • Downer Ending: Given that the story is about a Villain Protagonist who can't lose to the heroes yet, the comic book series is bound to have these whenever he's fighting the good guys.
    • The Chosen One arc ends with Vader killing Kirak, Arex, and an entire city so he can take Kirak's lightsaber, and then rejecting Kirak's crystal's offer to leave the dark side, with a Sequel Hook to the next arc, the introduction of the Inquisition...
    • The Burning Seas arc ends with Mon Calamari decimated by orbital bombardment, and the Jedi Master who was orchestrating the revolt there dying in disgrace after deliberately setting up a bloodbath in a misguided bid to enrage the rest of the galaxy into rebelling.
    • Fortress Vader ends with two Inquisitors who loved one another dead, countless Imperial workers dead in the process of building Vader's castle, and Vader forced to accept that he can never bring Padmé back from the dead, snuffing out his last possibility for redemption...for now.
  • Dramatic Irony: Tarkin dismisses the fleeing Mon Calamari cruisers as irrelevant, even as Barr helpfully reminds the audience they will eventually become the backbone of the Rebel fleet.
  • Establishing Character Moment: An In-Universe example for Vader to the Imperials. In issue #12, after two failed attempts to kill him, of which Vader strongly suspects they came from the Imperial Officier Corps, he tells Sidious that there will be consequences to this and he will take either some Imperial lives or all of them. Sidious agrees but tells Vader to spare Tarkin. And so, at Vader's request, Palpatine introduces Darth Vader to the Empire's Army/Navy as his right hand and his voice. What does Vader do? He selects five random officers (including the poor officer who was choked earlier in issue #8) and choke them to death declaring that he will always survive each assassination attempt against him but they will not. This shows to the Imperial Officers to not mess with him and that he has no qualms to kill anyone in his own ranks just to prove his point.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Palpatine is genuinely amused that Eeth Koth chose to hide as a priest of all things.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • After giving Vader a "The Reason You Suck" Speech and Armor-Piercing Question about his ability to make choices, Jocasta lets him kill her.
    • The two Inquisitors who had a budding romance with each other face this. After helping Vader break up Eeth Koth's family and trying to escape after Darth Vader comes after them later on, they're executed after Vader finally catches them. In their final moments, they make peace with their situation and admit that after the kind of lives they've lived, they probably shouldn't have expected to die peacefully with each other in bed.
  • Face–Heel Turn: This series confirms what Rebels previously implied: That all of the Inquisitors were former Jedi who were corrupted by the Dark Side.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Eeth Koth was removed from the Jedi Order and decided to begin a new life for himself during the age of the Empire... as a priest. Both Vader and Palpatine lampshade this:
    Palpatine: He could've been anything and he picked the closest thing to a Jedi he could find. These fools can't help themselves.
  • Failure Montage: Issue 23 has one of Vader and Momin attempting to build a fortress capable of channeling the energies necessary to open a portal to the afterlife, only for each one to be overwhelmed and collapse and/or explode.
  • False Flag Operation: Jedi Master Barr kills the Imperial ambassador to Mon Cala, counting on the Imperial counterattack driving the Mon Calamari to rebel.
  • Fling a Light into the Future:
    • Before getting killed, Kirak intended to start the Jedi Order anew. Jocasta tries to do the same, but she at least makes a holocron message urging viewers to not let the Jedi die out.
    • Jocasta's assistant, Gar, blows up the entrance to his and Jocasta's hideout, ensuring that no one — except for, perhaps, a Jedi — can find it and take the information stored there. Sure enough, it turns out Luke will find it one day.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • It turns out that Jocasta wants to retrieve and save the list of Force-sensitive children as well as a Sith Holocron, which we know won't work, because Rebels shows that Vader, Palpatine, and the Inquisitorius are well aware of these things because they have them in their possession.
    • Jocasta learns who Vader is and confronts Vader about it, as well as telling a bunch of other clones about it. Of course, he kills them to keep it under wraps.
  • Foreshadowing: The first conversation between Vader and Palpatine in Issue 1 (shown as immediatetly after the Big "NO!" moment of Revenge of the Sith) was the latter's warning about how even with the Dark Side, Vader/Anakin cannot bring Padmé back. True enough, the very last issue (#25) involves Vader passing through Dark Side dimensions to retrieve what he thinks is Padmé's soul. This vision of Padmé (heavily implied to be a manifestation of the Dark Side itself) rejects him and commits suicide), hammering home to him the irrevocability of things.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Jocasta realizes that she cannot let the Sith know the Jedi secrets, and deletes the entire archive, erasing everything she was trying to preserve.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • Vader begins Force-choking Commander Fox, who doesn't appear for the rest of the issue, heavily implying he died.
    • After her talk with Vader, Jocasta says that she'll accept whatever fate has in store for her as Vader ignites his lightsaber.
  • Heel Realization: Vader experiences this in issue 5, after the kyber crystal throws him against the cave wall and shatters open the left eye of his mask. His left eye is revealed to have reverted back to its original blue color, showing that he is free from the Dark Side's influence at that moment. He experiences a vision in which he kills Palpatine and finds Obi-Wan, with Vader begging the latter for forgiveness and death. Unfortunately, his heel realization doesn't take, as the vision shows Obi-Wan refraining from killing Vader/Anakin, causing Vader to snap back to reality, as symbolized when we see that his eye is still yellow. It's ambiguous as to whether his eye really did return to blue or if it was just part of the vision.
  • Hero Antagonist:
    • Kirak Infil'a in The Chosen One.
    • Jocasta Nu in The Dying Light.
    • Ferren Barr in The Burning Seas.
    • Father Kkkt in Fortress Vader.
    • Averted with Rule of Five, which featured an Evil vs. Evil conflict.
  • Hero of Another Story: Ferren Barr's crew. Each has their own story that motivated them to oppose the empire, unfortunately for them, they are not in a story in which they win.
  • Heroic Suicide: Jocasta attempts to let herself fall to her death on Coruscant when she's cornered by Vader and a battalion of clones, only for Vader to Force-grab her.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Jedi Master Barr activates Order 66 on the Inquisitors' death squad, and said Inquisitors are all traitorous Jedi. This results in the Tenth Brother getting killed and forces the others to retreat with the Sixth Brother crippling the Ninth Sister to let them kill her as a distraction.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: The Cha's plan to bring down Vader includes exploiting his refusal to harm innocent bystanders (they mistakenly believe he's a Jedi). Cue Vader using said bystanders as living shields and throwing them like projectiles.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: One story involves Tarkin leading a team of expert bounty hunters to hunt down and kill Vader. The best bit is The Reveal that Vader organised this himself, because he'd run out of Jedi to fight and needed a challenge.
  • Imagine Spot: In the second Annual, Vader has several of killing Tarkin, who realizes he's doing so and calls him out on being unable to go through with it.
  • Immediate Sequel: The series begins a few moments after Vader is revived by Palpatine on the operating table towards the end of Revenge of the Sith.
  • Invisibility Cloak: A literal version when Vader skins a creature that can camouflage itself. Rather than hide however, he openly displays himself wearing it to the bounty hunters pursuing him as a non-verbal Badass Boast (the creature is the apex predator of the planet they are on). A couple of his hunters have extra-sensitive hearing and they can always pick up Vader's breathing apparatus, but Vader finds ways around that too.
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch:
  • Leave No Witnesses:Vader executes all the clones aboard his gunship after Jocasta tells them the very man they're obeying is a Jedi.
  • Living MacGuffin: Jocasta, due to the knowledge she holds. Once she figures this out, she manages to get Vader to kill her by asking if he's accepted being Palpatine's lapdog or letting Palpatine train potential replacements for Vader with the list of force sensitives on her data crystal, as turning her in would mean he submits and become expendable.
  • Karmic Death: The Tenth Brother and Ninth Sister, two Jedi killers and traitors who stabbed their fellows in the back for various reasons, are killed when their Clone Troopers are made to betray and kill them by Barr activating Order 66 against them.
  • Luke, I Might Be Your Father: Among the visions of the past, present and future Vader is shown in the final issue, one of them seems to imply that it was none other than Palpatine who influenced the Force into conceiving Anakin.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Vader responds to an assassination attempt against him organized by unknown parties in the Imperial officer corps but killing five of them at random and promising to repeat the process every time he is targeted. A panel shows that one of the surviving officers is missing a finger, just like one of the conspirators meaning Vader missed at least one.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Had Vader chosen Tatooine over Mustafar as his base of operation, he would have easily found Obi-Wan and his long-lost son, Luke, almost two decades earlier.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Spoken almost word for word by Vader in issue 5 after the kyber crystal throws him back and shatters open the left eye of his mask when he attempts to bleed his kyber crystal.
  • Mythology Gag: Anakin Skywalker notices his shadow is weird in a vision sequence in #25 (it's shaped like Darth Vader), referencing one of the posters for The Phantom Menace.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Mas Amedda holds a ceremony on Coruscant celebrating the end of the Jedi by publicly burning their lightsabers in a furnace. It comes off eerily like book burnings in Nazi Germany.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Kirak storing his getaway vehicle at a mechanic's shop in the city should he need to flee the moon went without considering what would happen if an adversary followed him, putting not only his getaway at risk, but also the lives of the city in danger.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Vader has a mid-air chase/battle on Coruscant similar to his one in Attack of the Clones, except here he doesn't worry about collateral damage. Palpatine is not amused as one of those accidentally killed was an Imperial senator who was useful to him.
  • Nothing Personal: Invoked by Chanath's parents, who argue for Vader to spare her life partially by having her swear that she will take no revenge for his killing her parents. That was nothing more than the occupational hazard of being a bounty hunter and she will not hold a grudge for it.
  • Not Me This Time: The murder of the Imperial ambassador to Mon Calamari seems like the kind of thing the Empire would do to give themselves a pretext to invade the planet, but in actuality it was done by the Jedi advising Lee Char, who wanted a war to fan the flames of rebellion.
  • Orbital Bombardment: During the "Burning Seas" arc, the Empire ultimately resorts to this to force the Mon Calamari to surrender their planet. Then when they do signal their willingness to surrender, Tarkin orders the bombardment continued to Make an Example of Them.
  • Papa Wolf: Darth Vader finds Eeth Koth just as his daughter is born. Koth tries to go all Papa Wolf while his wife flees with the baby. Unfortunately, against Vader, it isn't enough.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": How the series reinterprets Darth Vader's Big "NO!" from Revenge of the Sith. All but one of the "no"s are internal, though.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • A small one (but can be Pragmatic Villainy for Palpatine). When Vader comes back from his first mission very badly damaged, Palpatine reassures Vader that his armor will be repaired in no time by his droids. And he even heals Vader in a bacta tank. Also, he (after noticing Vader's frustration with his armor) acknowledges Vader's engineering skills and allows him to adjust (and repair) his suit to his convenience.
    Palpatine: Do not fear, my friend. The droids will have your armor repaired in no time at all.
    Palpatine: This armor is you... It is only appropriate that you should make it your own, especially with your skills as an engineer. Adjust the suit as you see fit, my apprentice.
    • The Inquisitors let Eeth Koth's wife go despite killing her husband and kidnapping her child, though now they've forever left her with the knowledge of the loss of both.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Fox forgot to tell his men that Vader is a fellow Imperial, not a Jedi. When they Friendly Fire on Vader, thinking that he was a Jedi, Vader kills Fox for his failure.
  • Pragmatic Villainy:
    • At the beginning of issue #8, an Imperial Officer comes to report to the Emperor only to be choked by Vader for the (supposedly) poor performance of his division. Palpatine stops his apprentice before he kills him. Sidious understands and acknowledges Vader's feelings about "lesser beings" in their Empire but warns Vader to not go too far in killing Imperials for two reasons: first, the Emperor does not want "to rule a galaxy of the dead" and second, he tells Vader that going too deep into the Dark Side means that his rage will control him. Vader does take the lesson on board, but it's difficult when he really is Surrounded by Idiots, some of whom are trying to kill him.
    • Palpatine is more restrained in his Card-Carrying Villain tendencies and doesn't indulge in pettiness when it could endanger his plans or it serves no end. He's still petty and sadistic but seems to prefer to fulfill some goal while engaging in his pettiness.
    • Vader kills Jocasta Nu partially so that Palpatine can't have the Jedi's knowledge of Force sensitive children and thus can't train a potential replacement for Vader.
    • Palpatine chews out Vader for the collateral damage he caused during his battle with the rogue Inquisitors, as one of the victims was a politically useful senator and such violence in his capital implies he's not in control of things. He then orders the Inquisitors off Coruscant, but allows Vader to have a planet of his own so he can indulge himself without restraint.
    • Tarkin would prefer to negotiate terms with the Mon Calamari, and when that fails occupy their planet with troops rather than use Orbital Bombardment. Though when he does go that far, he keeps going even after their king has surrendered.
    • Although Tarkin threatens to kill an incompetent subordinate, he instead gives him one more chance to redeem himself, then has him sent to the front as a stormtrooper so at least he'll be useful as Cannon Fodder.
  • Shout-Out: When Vader meditates, he usually sees visions of blue glowing butterflies circling around him, similar to Vincent's visions of golden butterflies in Cowboy Bebop: The Movie.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • The first thing the Grand Inquisitor wants to do now that the Jedi are gone... is read books. In fairness, the Inquisitorius needs all the information they need to hunt down Jedi, but he's just so bitter about Jocasta not letting him read information that was off-limits to him. In fact, this is how he fell to the dark side in the first place.
    • When Jocasta returns to the Jedi Temple, she sees the Grand Inquisitor reading the books that she told him not to touch. She still feels violated by this, but she convinces herself the first time she passes by him that getting the artifacts is more important than blowing her cover. Then the second time she passes by him, he tosses one of the books ungraciously...
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In Legends, Madame Jocasta was originally killed by Vader during the attack on the Jedi Temple. Here, she survived and is on the run, leading to her becoming the first target of the Grand Inquisitor.
  • Stealth Insult: When Palpatine introduces Vader to the Grand Inquisitor, Vader repeats "Grand?", implying he's more unimpressed by this newcomer than curious as to who he is.
  • Talking Weapon: Kind of. Attempting to bleed a kyber crystal is a violent procedure, as it will cause energy bursts to get the user away from it. Seems like just a regular chemical reaction type of thing, but the crystal will show the user an immediate What If? future if they were to turn away from the dark side in an attempt to persuade them to do so. It's unknown of the crystals' extent of clairvoyance and if they just give rough estimates based off of what the user knows and unconsciously desires, since Vader experiences a vision where he has a Curb-Stomp Battle against Palpatine, finds Obi-Wan on a world that is not Tatooine, and Obi-Wan forgives him.
  • This Cannot Be!: The resurrected Momin is unable to comprehend that Vader is actually beating him in a fight, as he was utterly convinced that the Dark Side favored him.
  • This Page Will Self-Destruct: A strange droid warns the wife of Galen Erso about the true nature of the Death Star project, melting down the second the message is delivered. Since Vader has used self-destructing droids before, it's implied he sent the robot messenger to sabotage the Death Star, as he didn't like giving up his role as The Dreaded for Tarkin's technological terror.
  • This Is Reality: Vader rejects the vision that the kyber crystal gives him. In fairness, he has a bit of a point as the vision was heavily romanticized; Vader can't possibly hope to defeat Palpatine in combat (considering Vader gets offed by Palpatine's Shock and Awe without even properly fighting him as we see in Return of the Jedi; Palpatine doesn't use it this during the vision), and Vader only found Obi-Wan again because the latter came to him after two decades of seclusion.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Palpatine continues to call Vader his friend, even as he deliberately and overtly turns him to the Dark Side.
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • By using half truths and his skill with the Jedi Mind Trick, Barr surrounds himself with a bodyguard of loyal men and convinces the ruler of Mon Cala that he can successfully resist the Empire instead of negotiating a peaceful settlement. Turns out they're expendable pawns meant to light the flame of a future galaxy-wide resistance.
    • Momin's helmet convinces Vader to help him open a portal to the afterlife, allegedly to be reunited with Padmé. In actually, it's so Momin can resurrect himself.
  • Victory Is Boring: Once Vader has killed off every Jedi that can be tracked down, the lack of challenge in his life makes him antsy and he begins stirring up trouble on his own. Palpatine eventually shoos him off-planet to Mustafar to set up his fortress.
  • Villainous Friendship: As shown in others Star Wars works, Palpatine keeps referring Vader as his "friend".
  • Villain Has a Point: Momin is absolutely right that ultimately, Vader's belief he could control the Dark Side to his own ends completely ruined him.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Used ruthlessly by the comic. Frequently the story will introduce minor characters with just enough personality, aspirations, and relationships to get the audience to care about them before having them brutally murdered in some fashion. For bonus points they often spend a brief amount of time as POV characters, and it's usually Vader who kills them.
  • Wham Episode:
    • In Issue #6, the Inquisition has existed long before Anakin fell.
    • At the end of Issue #13, there is a Jedi survivor that is helping the Mon Cala insurgency, they know of the Inquisition, and they know that Vader and Anakin are one and the same.
  • Wham Line:
    • The girl in Issue #11 who is trying to help her parents kill Vader is a younger Chanath Cha, the bounty hunter from Lando.
      The girl's father: Chanath! we're done here. Pull back! Now!
  • Wham Shot:
    • In Issue #6, the Inquisitors look the same age as they do in Rebels despite this being a decade and a half before (though it could be excused as Bizarre Alien Biology), and Madame Jocasta is seen to be alive and in hiding somewhere on the very last page.
    • In the very first page of Issue #7, we're treated to the Sixth Brother groveling on the ground in pain, grasping at the stub of where his arm was. And then this is followed up by the Fifth Brother doing the same, and the Dowutin Inquisitor unconscious with her right hand conveniently offscreen and with a medic droid treating her.
    • In Aurebesh, Issue #9's list of surviving Jedi or under an unknown status includes Quinlan Vos.
    • The architect possessed by Lord Momin shows Vader his plans for the Mustafar castle, which looks almost exactly like what we see in Rogue One. Meaning that Vader's castle was actually technically designed by an ancient Sith Lord.
  • What If?: While trying to make his new crystal bleed, the crystal makes Vader see a possible outcome of where he realizes what he has done to the point that he turns away from the dark side, then confronts & kills Palpatine in his own office, and finds Obi-Wan (and implicitly wants him to kill him). Of course, Vader rejects this possibility and goes through with bleeding the crystal.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Since the comic is set in the immediate aftermath of Episode 3, Vader's emotional trauma and physical injuries have left him at his absolute weakest. Although Vader's suit is stated not to be as horrifyingly uncomfortable as in Legends, Vader still reacts with fury upon hearing that Palpatine's droids will repair it, so in the first few arcs it probably was less-than-satisfactory. In addition there are several points in the story where this trope is invoked.
    • Against Jedi Master Kirak, Vader has no lightsaber ( the whole reason he is confronting him is to get a Kyber Crystal ) and is clearly unprepared against the Jedi master, who has a far better grasp of the terrain as well, managing to use the high ground to his benefit. In particular, Vader was accumulating damage from firefights in the issues prior, as well as from Kirak's traps—the fight ends when the cybernetics of one of Vader's legs, already exposed and damaged due to the traps, fail and he can no longer stand. He manages to improvise a replacement for the rematch.
    • Invoked: Momin waits for Vader to exhaust himself opening the gate to the afterlife and fighting the Mustafar natives before attacking him and nearly succeeds in killing him before, like many Sith, Momin's Pride gets the better of him. Also Justified, as Momin has already admitted that Vader was far stronger than him and thus knew he needed for Vader to be weakened. Although Momin is able to wear down the weakened Vader in Saber combat, cutting off an arm, Vader eventually just hurls a massive stone at the ancient Sith lord, killing him once and for all.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Well, we already knew he would from the Jedi Temple incident, but once again: he collapses the dam, destroying the city and killing the children Kirak was friends with.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Chanath and her bounty hunting parents take a contract with Vader as the target. While Vader hasn't earned the reputation he will have yet, he's still a high ranking member of the Empire which makes one question the bounty hunting family's common sense. To their credit, they stated they only took the job because it paid so well. Of course the biggest strike against them was that they were told Vader was a Jedi. So they equipped themselves to fight a Jedi. This, predictably did not work. Like, at all. In fact their big plan was to use innocent bystanders to get Vader to back down. While, obviously, they get crushed by Vader it's actually a little funny that they were counting on Vader's concern for the sanctity of life to beat him followed immediately by Vader using civilians as shields and projectiles.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: When Vader threatens to kill Chanath unless her parents reveal who hired them, they're smart enough to insist that he let her go first, and make her swear that she won't seek revenge for their inevitable deaths so that Vader won't regard her as a threat he has to hunt down later.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Palpatine's first mission for Vader post-Mustafar is to find a Jedi, kill them, and use their kyber crystal in the construction of his own lightsaber.