Over the years there’s been a lot of ridiculous Star Wars stories, and I’m not just talking about the prequels trilogy, some of the Extended Universe tales are understandably no longer canon because they were so daft and / or over the top. But this latest issue of Star Wars: Vader – Dark Visions takes the biscuit, chews it up, and then spits it back in your face leaving a heart shaped stain as it tells the story of a nurse on the Death Star who falls head over heels in love with Darth Vader.
From her perspective she thinks Vader reciprocates her feelings too, when she bursts in to the Death Star med bay while Vader is there for a check up (as even Sith Lords have the odd sick day it seems, or maybe he was just checking his face hadn’t decayed completely, it’s never really explained) though Darth is infuriated he takes his anger out on the doctor present and it’s this act which makes our heroine think that Vader wants to get it on all hot and heavy like he once did with poor old Padmé Amidala.
Naturally she’s wrong, hell, we don’t even know if Vader has a working penis anymore after he fought with Obi Wan Kenobi on that lava filled volcanic planet and had his legs chopped off, but that doesn’t stop her from obsessing about him, beginning a collection of mementos from his trips to the sick bay be it bits of shrapnel pulled from his armour or even samples of his blood. After the doctor discovers her beloved treasures he throws them away and that’s enough to make her go crazy and rush off to confess her love to Vader, and, well, you can probably guess how well that goes.
It’s a twisted little tale and a lot of humour is generated from her fantasies of being Vader’s one and only, from the two of them tonguing each other’s tonsils to the duo indulging in a bit of ballroom dancing, but it did leave something of a nasty taste in my mouth. The nurse is never given a name or fleshed out in any way character wise, she’s just an obsessive fan of the dark lord and something of a deranged lunatic so you don’t feel any sympathy towards her when she is eventually penetrated by Vader, though it’s via the use of his lightsaber and not in the manner she was hoping for. Vader should be seen as a hateful bastard, it’s what the first six films are based around, but this would be a far more enjoyable read if it was far more nuanced and rather than going for laughs was perhaps a chilling tale of unreciprocated affection.
Due to this it’s caused a fair bit of controversy online and though it doesn’t take much for the people of twitter to become enraged on this occasion I completely understand why. Vader is a figure of toxic masculinity, at least in the prequels, and by having a female character become obsessed by him it seems to be making fun out of her rather than showing just what an absolute shit Vader himself is. Writer Dennis Hallum has claimed that this wasn’t his intention, that “to me it’s about a person so beaten down and caged in by her fascist existence that she fantasizes about the only person in her world powerful enough to free her” but that doesn’t come across in the comic at all, so either he’s lying or is quite a bad writer. Whatever the case, while on the surface it may be a funny and breezy read under scrutiny it’s unfortunately rather unpleasant.