SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for "Darth Vader" #24, which is on sale now.
Marvel's "Darth Vader" ongoing series, a book that's existed since the launch of Marvel's Star Wars line early last year, is preparing for it's grand finale. "Darth Vader" #24, the penultimate issue, arrived in stores today and it finds the Dark Lord of the Sith at quite possibly the lowest point of the entire series. Darth Vader has been rendered ineffective and motionless, kneeling before the creator of his life support armor (and his enemy) Cylo. While imprisoned in his armor and at the mercy of his foe, a sequence begins that series writer Kieron Gillen teased in an interview back in May.
"There's a lot of the philosophy element even," said Gillen. "There's an issue in this arc which is like if this arc were 'The Empire Strikes Back' this would be our dark cave on Dagobah sequence." The scene he's referring to found Luke Skywalker in a cave on Dagobah and encountering a Force-conjured hallucination/trial wherein he dueled with Darth Vader. In this issue, Vader has his own hallucination, which takes him back to those fateful final moments in 2005's "Revenge of the Sith."
The fantastical sequence reimagines the scene on Mustafar, with Obi-Wan Kenobi killing his partner Anakin Skywalker following the Jedi's turn to the Dark Side and rebirth as Darth Vader. Instead of dying, however, Anakin emerges from the lava fully formed in his Vader armor. The Sith Lord disposes of Obi-Wan quickly, but he's then challenged by a surprising foe: himself.
The issue gives us a lightsaber duel between Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader. The dream sequence continues, with Vader finally killing the remnants of his previous life as Anakin Skywalker -- first his old Jedi self, and then his wife Padme. Vader pushes through his vision, emerging stronger than ever -- strong enough to force himself out of his Cylo-induced paralysis.
But will Vader be strong enough to survive what the creative team of Gillen and Salvador Larroca throw at him in the final issue? "Darth Vader" #25 -- the series finale -- arrives in stores on October 5.