Darth Vader 18 is the eighteenth issue of the canon comic book series Star Wars: Darth Vader (2017). It was written by Charles Soule, illustrated by Giuseppe Camuncoli, and published on July 11, 2018 by Marvel Comics.
The story is told from the point of view of Governor Wilhuff Tarkin. On Chandar's Folly in the Outer Rim Territories, Tarkin reflects on the ninth day of the hunt. Of the 20 original members of the bounty hunting expedition, only eight remain. Considering their quarry, Tarkin thinks this is better than expected.
A human woman named Yerga informs Tarkin that Sissian spotted their quarry in the northwest but that something is different. She hands him her macrobinoculars. Peering through them, Tarkin sees Darth Vader wearing the hide of a Valath, an apex predator with a hide that allows it to blend into its surroundings. Tarkin realizes that Vader managed to kill one without his lightsaber. He deduces that Vader wants them to see him.
As the other hunters gather, Yerga remarks that she is starting to hate this "guy." A human male bounty hunter with a cybernetic implant responds that he started hating Vader eight days ago. Tarkin informs the other hunters that it is time to move. He tells Gil and Eighty-One to take point and instructs the Chadra-Fan Hardhear and his grandson Sissian to stay alert for Vader. Reflecting on the hunt, Tarkin narrates that one must take everything known about the prey in order to devise a plan.
Reflecting on the hunt, Tarkin recalls that Lord Vader is impervious to blasters. Tarkin had thus outfitted his team with flamethrowers and slugthrowers in the belief that flames are not susceptible to lightsabers. On the second day, the bounty hunters had attacked Vader with flamethrowers. However, Vader had attacked the flamethrowers, causing them to explode and kill four hunters.
Tarkin recalls that Vader always leaves a trail but proves to be a difficult opponent due to his lightsaber. On the fourth day, Tarkin and his team managed to relieve Vader of his lightsaber but at the cost of four men. The droid Eight-One managed to capture it. Tarkin also recalls that Vader prefers the intimacy of a close kill but can also use Force choke to kill from afar.
Tarkin is curious about Vader's mysterious Force powers, sacrificing the lives of several hunters to learn about it. Tarkin also learns about Vader's deep attachment to his lightsaber and surmise that he is also hunting them.
As the hunt continues on the ninth day, Tarkin and the seven remaining bounty hunters travel through a valley of crystals with Sissian and Hardhear at the front and back. The two sharp hearers are tasked with picking out Lord Vader based on the hums from his breathing apparatus. However, Vader uses the echoes created by the crystals to ambush the bounty hunters, hurling one against the crystals. Tarkin thinks that Vader lured them here in order to neutralize the Chadra-Fan's abilities.
The Sith Lord Force chokes Hardhear and then disintegrates Eighty-One. Tarkin and the four surviving bounty hunters flee into the open. After Sissian senses that the "dark demon" is gone, Tarkin decides that they should make camp in the stormlands despite Yerga's concerns about safety. That night, Sissian stands guard. He initially senses nothing but is soon Force choked by Lord Vader.
As Vader attacks them, Tarkin realizes that the Sith Lord must have temporarily deactivated his armor's breathing apparatus. Vader kills Yerga by breaking her neck. The two remaining bounty hunters take position. Vader uses the Force to retrieve his lightsaber from Tarkin and strikes down the two remaining bounty hunters.
Realizing that the hunt is lost, Tarkin flees the camp with Vader in pursuit. He fires his blaster at Vader, who easily deflects them with his lightsaber. Realizing that Vader is more powerful, Tarkin decides to stand his ground and kneel. However, Tarkin has deliberately led Vader into the stormlands due to the frequent lightning storms. Vader is struck down by lightning.
Honoring his agreement with Vader, Governor Tarkin contacts his personal starship Carrion Spike to request a pick-up. Having learned about Tarkin's past as a hunter on Eriadu, Vader had asked him to hunt him in order to test whether he could still be challenged. Initially unwilling to accept defeat, Vader Force chokes Tarkin but relents after considering the fact that he still answers to Emperor Palpatine.
- UPC 759606086665; July 11, 2018; Marvel Comics
|Organizations and titles||Sentient species||Vehicles and vessels||Weapons and technology||Miscellanea|
Organizations and titles
Vehicles and vessels
Weapons and technology
- Vol. 3 — The Burning Seas
- Star Wars: Darth Vader - Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 2
- Star Wars: Darth Vader by Charles Soule Omnibus
Notes and references
- The events of Tarkin take place five years after the rise of the Galactic Empire, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 19 BBY. Therefore, Tarkin must be set in 14 BBY. Ultimate Star Wars, New Edition places the events of Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith 18 after Tarkin. The later issue Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith 19 features the Second Sister, who is killed in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Fallen Order takes place five years after the Great Jedi Purge, which is dated to 19 BBY by Galactic Atlas. Therefore, Fallen Order is also set in 14 BBY. As Dark Lord of the Sith 18 is set between both Tarkin and Dark Lord of the Sith 19, the events of the former issue must take place in 14 BBY, as well.