Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 4: Fortress Vader by Charles Soule & Giuseppe Camuncoli
Have you ever wondered as to how Darth Vader came to have a giant castle on Mustafar, the planet where he was left to die by Obi-Wan Kenobi before Emperor Palpatine gave him his cybernetic body? I mean, it seems a really weird place to have your headquarters, right?
Charles Soule has clearly wondered that too, and like most of the questions raised throughout this Vader-centric series, he supplies some pretty satisfying answers in Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 4: Fortress Vader. Vader’s castle was glimpsed only briefly in Rogue One (and at the time of this review, the films have yet to return to it) but it was a striking image that immediately threw up a ton of possibilities as to what Sith Lords get up to on their days off.
At the height of his power, Vader leads a team of Inquisitors across the galaxy, wiping out the last of the Jedi and gathering up Force-sensitive infants. After one such mission ends with some unexpected behaviour from two members of his task force, Vader asks Emperor Palpatine for a request: a world.
Mildly curious as to why Vader has chosen Mutasfar as a home-base, or why he even wants one in the first place, Palpatine grants his request and gives him something else to go with it: a mysterious helmet with a strange sort of energy about it.
Turns out this helmet once belonged to Darth Momin, who was not a destroyer like so many other Sith, but a creator. When the helmet is placed on the head of a sentient being, Momin can possess the body and begin architectural work on Vader’s castle — which is more than just a castle. Positioned on the locus of the Dark Side that covers the planet, Momin and Vader hope to breach the veil between life and death.
It all accumulates with an amazing journey into the spiritual side of the Force, in which Vader (or Anakin) is represented by a shadowy figure crawling with thin red lines, encountering people, events and symbols of his past, present and future (taken from the prequel, original and sequel trilogies). The artwork is incredibly well done, and it gives us a vivid look into the psyche of Darth Vader at this point in his life.
Even without reading the first volumes in this comic book series, Fortress Vader is a book worth picking up. It adds background and detail to plot-points already established in the film series (namely Vader’s castle) and demonstrates a clear grasp of continuity and world-building. I’m already looking forward to reading it again.