WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Darth Vader #25 by Charles Soule, Daniele Orlandini, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Dono Sanchez-Almara, Cam Smith, Eric Arciniega, David Curiel and VC’s Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
As Darth Vader wraps up, the Marvel Comics series is revealing fallen Jedi Anakin Skywalker's worst nightmares. After entering the afterlife through a Sith Portal, Vader searches for something he's longed to possess since his fall to the Dark Side. However, to get there, Darth Vader #25 sees the character literally facing his old demons as he fights off the Jedi phantoms that have haunted him since his betrayal. Eventually he cuts a path through to the object of his desire: his dead wife, Padme Amidala.
Finding Padme has been Vader's main ambition ever since her death giving birth to Luke and Leia in Revenge of the Sith. While becoming Emperor Palpatine's apprentice scrubbed away most of his humanity, his love for Padme has lingered, and it's part of what has driven him to restore order to the galaxy, albeit via an iron fist. This desire led to the creation of his obsidian castle at Mustafar, where he was able to create this portal with the help of Sith architect Momin, who later betrayed him.
Vader wants to restore Padme to life, a power that Emperor Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious) told him a true Sith could unlock once fully devoting himself to the Dark Side. This was a secret Palpatine's master, Darth Plagueis, apparently learned and Vader looks to have perfected the skill, as he kills off his past and makes his way to Padme. Sadly, Padme's ghost -- brought by the Force to the location at which they last interacted -- wants nothing to do with the traitorous Jedi.
Vader takes the form of Anakin once more, but Padme throws herself over a balcony, choking herself while red-lightning, indicative of the Sith, destroys her. This act is tremendously symbolic as, before she commits this spiritual suicide, she compares Ani to a beautiful angel, just like he did her in The Phantom Menace. The choke is itself a nod to Anakin Force choking Padme at the end of Revenge of the Sith, when he thought she had sided with Obi-Wan Kenobi against him. That abusive act sent Padme into labor and resulted in her death during childbirth. It seems her spirit hasn't forgotten that betrayal.
Padme reminds Vader that he didn't just betray the Jedi. He also spat on their love and is undeserving of her. Although many thought Anakin's last shred of humanity died when she perished, it's at this moment when her ghost rejects what he's become that the man he was truly dies.
Anakin's eyes turn red. and he quickly reverts to his Sith form. He's then dispatched back to the land of the living in a blaze of blue-lightning by an obscure being of energy, which is the Light Side's representation of Luke, hinting at how that hero will redeem and purify his father in Return of the Jedi.
Of course, Vader doesn't know about his son at this point; all he knows is that Padme died thinking he was a villain and now that he's reunited with her, she's still of this mindset and hates him for it. It's not a heartbreaking moment, because it feels Vader getting his comeuppance for all of the blood he has spilled in the name of love. However, as Padme points out, none of his actions have been about bringing her back. The Dark Lord of the Sith is selfish person whose nature was always more monster than man. Padme was finished being his excuse for wanting to conquer the cosmos.