Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca's ongoing Darth Vader comic for Marvel has shown exactly why Darth Vader became the pop culture icon he is today. He's ruthless while also being mysterious and complex. Did we mention ruthless?
That ruthlessness is on full display in the final issue of Darth Vader, where the dark lord of the Sith personally executes not one but three characters who have wronged him.
Major spoilers for Darth Vader #25 below! Turn back now if you don't want the surprises ruined!
The past several issues have led up to Darth Vader's confrontation with Cylo, a scientist working on creating cybernetically enhanced individuals who could perhaps replace Darth Vader as Emperor Palpatine's enforcer.
Once Vader finds out about Palpatine and Cylo's plan, he's hardly happy. After fighting through Cylo's various clones, Vader uses the Force to do a Jedi mind trick on Cylo's organic spaceship, sending it flying straight into a nearby sun. Vader, of course, escapes, but Cylo and his clones aren't so lucky.
Forcing somebody to fly into a sun might seem pretty darn evil, but Vader isn't even close to being done. The series has seen Vader working closely with a woman by the name of Aphra, who helped Vader secure a personal army of battle droids, among other things. Aphra and Vader have been working behind the Emperor's back, but she at long last spills the beans to Palpatine.
That meeting goes better than one might expect. Rather than being enraged by Vader's actions, Emperor Palpatine is actually pleased by them.
Vader, on the other hand, is hardly pleased by Aphra ratting him out. When the two meet once again on the Super Star Destroyer Executor, Vader promptly locks Aphra in an airlock. She begs for mercy, pleading "Not like this. Please not like this." With no words or hesitation, he ejects her out into the darkness of space.
It doesn't get any more ruthless than that, but Vader has one more problem to take care of. The always critical General Tagge, who is actually seen in A New Hope and manages to survive the destruction of the first Death Star, is the next subject of Vader's wrath. He force-chokes the general to death, taking command of the Executor in the process.
The issue goes a long way toward reminding fans that Darth Vader, is in fact, a bad guy. However, in a post-credits scene, it's revealed that even he can be outsmarted. Aphra knew her encounter with Vader likely wouldn't go well, and so she planned accordingly by having her ship secretly parked on the far side of a nearby asteroid. After being shot out of the airlock, she is quickly reeled into her ship by her companions. Aphra, it seems, lives to fight another day.
All in all, it's a fitting conclusion to the series, one that returns Vader to the formidable presence fans knew him to be in the early days of the Star Wars saga. As for Gillen, he's not done writing Star Wars just yet. He will be penning a new, still-unrevealed Star Wars comic set to start in December.