Yesterday's Star Wars comic dropped a big bombshell, introducing a character that changes everything we know about the galaxy's most notorious smuggler. But, along with the newest issue of Darth Vader, it showed the exact moment when the Dark Lord of the Sith learned who Obi-Wan Kenobi's last padawan was. Yeah, the one he's related to.
(Massive spoilers follow.)
So far, the three Star Wars titles launched by Marvel over the last few months have stayed on parallel paths. This is the first time they have crossed over and the moment they do reveals a key piece of Star Wars lore.
One of the big open questions of Star Wars' continuity has been the when and how of Darth Vader learning that he had a son out there in the cosmos. Somewhere, between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, Vader learned that the rebel pilot who blew up the first Death Star was his son. How'd he get that information? Star Wars #6 and Darth Vader #6 show how that happened. A Mandalorian was involved.
After the first story arc of the Star Wars comic — written by Jason Aaron and drawn by John Cassaday — Luke Skywalker's gone off on a sort of vision quest, with the hopes of sharpening his still-raw Jedi potential. In the latest issue, his travels take him back to Ben Kenobi's home on Tatooine, where he has a run-in with Boba Fett, tasked by Vader with the capture of the aforementioned rebel pilot. Their fight adds another new bit of lore to the new Star Wars canon, creating a first encounter between the two that happens before Return of the Jedi.
Even though Luke gets blinded by a flash grenade, it's still no surprise that Fett doesn't kill him. We do see the latter tap into his Force powers in a new (to him) way.
Darth Vader #6 picks up the thread of this showdown, showing Boba Fett reporting back to Vader after getting bested.
The series centered around the Dark Lord of the Sith has been the best Marvel Star Wars comic so far, because it's given readers irresistible psychological insight into Vader. That trend ramps up this issue, as we see how the revelation of a son catalyzes a big shift in the acrimonious boss/lackey relationship between Vader and Emperor Palpatine.
At first, the Luke/Fett fight rubbed me the wrong way, because it seemed unlikely that a Luke who's not that Force-savvy would win out over the more experienced Boba. But the outcome of their fight adds tension and motivation to Fett's appearances in the movies. It stands to reason that he'd want a shot at someone who escaped him before.
Overall, I like this development. It's the better species of retcon, one that enables more complex readings of already existing material. Vader discovers a reason to be more than just Palpatine's chief weapon and Luke's experienced a taste of what he can do with the Force, even if he doesn't know it yet. We already know where these characters will wind up, but these new comics are making their paths much more interesting.