The first issue of Star Wars: Vader – Dark Visions presented Vader as a hero, with the second issue giving us a more familiar Dark Lord of the Sith, albeit from a viewpoint we don’t usually see.

This third issue returns us to familiar territory from an unusual viewpoint, presenting a tragic love story involving Vader.

A lonely, mistreated nurse on board the Death Star has fallen hopelessly in love with Darth Vader – and the more she sees of him, the more she twists her perception to fit her romantic image of him. She misreads his treatment of the Death Star’s Doctor – who bullies her relentlessly – as Vader protecting her, leading her on flights of fancy and into dark obsessions that will eventually have disastrous results.

First things first: the fanciful imaginings of the unnamed central character are rendered beautifully; the romantic fantasies she has are gorgeous to behold.

Art is credited to David Lopez and Javier Pina; though those painted panels are beautiful, the art of the standard scenes feels somewhat problematic.

That’s because as the issue goes on, it presents the tragic figure of the Nurse as increasingly unhinged and bug eyed, which is a real shame. It leaves us in no doubt that we’re supposed to find her actions and reaction – to the abuse she’s suffering – as unstable and unrelatable.

She’s not done any favours by the script of course, which squanders an opportunity to present her more sympathetically than she ends up being.

I found it all quite sad; the Nurse was someone I felt sorry for, but it does seem as if the intentions of the creatives are at odds with that – presenting her or at least attempting to present her as someone to be mocked and ridiculed, even though she is clearly suffering from years of abuse and loneliness.

So I have mixed feelings about this third issue; had the Nurse been treated with more humanity by the writers and artists, no doubt it would have left me feeling differently.

It’s not even that I mind the inevitability of the tragedy at the heart of the story; just that the Nurse is poorly served by a writer and artists who clearly misjudge the tone of the tale here. It has its moments, for sure, but this is the first misfire of a series that got off to a great start.

You can purchase Star Wars: Vader – Dark Visions Volume 1 (which collects the entire five issue series) from Amazon here.

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