I liked the first arc of this comic book and enjoyed the two previous iterations immensely. This arc was a bit hit or miss. It tries to provide context to some aspects of the sequel trilogy, but in doing so, it created even more questions and potentially created even larger plot holes. Although, I’m not sure whether the comic itself or the sequel trilogy is to blame for these problems; the comic largely just fills in part of the story that was implied by events in The Rise of Skywalker. While I didn’t hate the move, it definitely left some holes in the larger story of the saga, which become even clearer after reading this comic.
In this story, the Emperor was angry with Darth Vader for the events of the previous arc and punished him by stripping away much of the machinery keeping him alive. Darth Vader had to fight for his life, and during this fight he learned some of the Emperor’s biggest secrets. The story felt somewhat like a rehash because the previous Darth Vader comics also had arcs devoted to the Emperor testing Darth Vader. At some point, repeating this story-line begins to undermine the relationship seen between the Emperor and Vader in the original trilogy. And I think this arc comes very close to crossing that line.
Despite its shortcomings, there were things to like about this story, as well. It, once again, gave an incredible look into Darth Vader’s power. I enjoyed seeing him overcome all the odds and rebuild himself from scraps. The artwork really made his struggle and his power come to life in a beautiful way. I also liked how they included some ideas from the sequel trilogy that didn’t make it into the movies.
Overall, I enjoyed reading the arc but was disappointed with how it filled in the holes left by The Rise of Skywalker. It has left me with even more questions, but I am interested to see how Darth Vader’s story moves forward from the trials he faced in these issues. Therefore, I rate this arc 3 out of 5 stars.
Have you read the Into the Fire arc? What did you think?