Review – Imperial Love and Obsession in Vader: Dark Visions #3
THE STAR-CROSSED LOVER! DARTH VADER, a name that strikes fear in the hearts of countless across the galaxy…but there is one lonely heart that beats just for him. What is it like to be in love with LORD VADER? And what fate will befall one who is infatuated with the tall, dark mystery behind the mask?
Written by Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum
Art by David Lopez & Javi Pina
Colors by Muntsa Vicente
Whether it was between Han and Leia in the original trilogy, Luke and Mara Jade in the Legends or Kanan & Hera and Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell in the new canon, love has always had a part in the world of Star Wars, not least thanks to its serial and pulp fiction roots. And perhaps it is just my imagination or I live in a very specific Star Wars bubble, but it seems to me that fans have recently become more vocal about wanting romance in our space adventure. Maybe Marvel heard them and this comic is an answer, an answer worthy of the Dark Lord of the Sith.
This is a story of obsession.
The story takes place on the first Death Star, some time during the Galactic Civil War. The protagonist is a young unnamed nurse working for the doctor responsible for maintaining Darth Vader’s health. In the beginning, it seems she that has a simple crush on someone who commands a great deal of power and provokes fear in his subordinates, including her own boss.
But, from the moment she has close encounter with Vader, the depth of her obsession starts rearing its ugly head. When she interrupts Vader’s session and the doctor is punished instead of her, she projects her own feelings onto the Dark Lord. Her enjoyment in doctor’s fear is almost sadistic.
She also collects bits and pieces that remain after every ‘maintenance’ session in contrast to both imperial aesthetic and policy, mementos of ‘unspoken love’. In our modern world, her mementos would be called trophies and she would be branded a stalker.
But, the war is going on and Vader is in a thick of it. When he comes back injured, our nurse takes the opportunity to take doctor’s place before she is chased out. The proximity to Vader makes her fantasies more intricate. In them, she is with Vader on the battlefield against rebels as his support. The real Vader has no time even for his own health before he is back on the battlefield. Left to clean the operating room, she finds Vader’s cloak. In her eyes, Vader left it for her as undeniable proof of his love. What to say, except: The delusion is strong with this one.
The nurse smuggles the cloak to her rooms but is caught by the doctor. You can see that doctor only now starts to understand the depth of her depravity. While his words gruff, even brutal, he is still trying to protect her. He also finds her little ‘collection’, confiscates it and throws it away.
The nurse runs to the trash compactor to try and find her treasure. Of course, that is impossible.
The first panel above shows you the exact moment when the last semblance of sanity leaves our nurse. And in the second the fantasy takes a dark, dark turn.
Proving that madness have completely overtaken her, the nurse goes to Vader’s private quarters. Vader is in his mediation chamber sans the helmet. His mangled appearance does not faze our nurse as she professes her love to Vader and promises him companionship. What catches your eye on this page are not her words but Vader’s empty eyes.
Nurse’s life is cut short when Vader stabs her with the lightsaber through the chest. Putting his helmet back on, Vader calls for bridge to take the garbage out of his quarters.
Since the moment I saw the preview for this issue, I was certain about the end result. You know from the first page that the fact that someone has hots for Vader is not the point. Hallum didn’t even bother naming his heroine. What is important is that her story holds the mirror to Anakin’s.
While nurse’s behavior is extreme and in some instances genuinely funny, you cannot help but think about Anakin and his love for Padmé. While not quite this extreme, Anakin’s selfish love, his obsession was one of the elements of his fall. You have to wonder what Vader sees looking at the young, sick woman and how much is that lighsaber thrust aimed at her and how much at his former self.
This issue has two artists – David Lopez & Javi Pina – and I wonder if the art was divided between the ‘real world’ and nurse’s fantasies. Muntsa Vicente’s choice of colors certainly made the difference between the two as he uses clean, primary colors for nurse’s imperial existence and warmer, softer colors for her fantasies.
All in all, this is an interesting issue – completely irrelevant to the bigger picture, but a possible psychological insight into our main character through someone who shares more with the Sith Lord than he would like. I also liked the little insights behind the curtain at some of the hundreds of thousands people manning the Death Star.
Before Vader confronts the Rebel pilots next time,
THIS ISSUE GETS 6.5/10 STARS.