In the new Star Wars Annual #4, Darth Vader barely avoids having a confrontation with his long-lost son… and also keeps him from winning his favorite childhood game.
Let it never be said that dark lords cannot be incredibly petty sometimes.
The main plot involves the smuggler Sana Starros, who has acquired two lightsabers belonging to an ancient Sith Lord named Darth Atrius. She sells one to a local crime lord on the planet Hradeek, and the other to the Empire. Darth Vader turns up to claim his prize, at the same time that his unknown son, Luke Skywalker, happens to be on the planet, doing business for the Rebel Alliance.
Long story short, Luke has to flee from some Stormtroopers and winds up at a podracing match, where he jumps in and begins to race. While he has some trouble at first (it’s just like a landspeeder, right?), he soon proves quite good and begins to near the frontrunner.
Meanwhile, Vader has wandered into the stands and seems enthralled by the race, even as the other audience members reel back in fear of him. It is an interesting character moment, showing that some part of Anakin has remained unchanged since his cheerful childhood in The Phantom Menace. Also reminiscent of that film is when the announcer marvels at the skill of this human podracer, noting that, despite reports from “lesser systems,” a human has never won the sport in a major circuit.
So of course, with Luke at risk of beating Anakin’s own record, the Sith Lord uses the Force to blow out his engine.
While this may have been influenced by Darth Atrius’ lightsaber, which is shown to increase the wielder’s anger, Vader seems as generally calm as ever, and notes that Luke’s progress is “impressive.” As far as we know, he has not linked this random podracer to the pilot who destroyed the Death Star (whom he now knows to be his son), but another demonstration of Luke’s impressive piloting skills makes it almost funny how close the two are to a confrontation.
Overall Star Wars Annual #4 is a basic standalone issue, and many fans will find its references to The Phantom Menace both endearing rather than pandering, reveals screenrant.com. And of course, Vader is just happy that the achievements of his past identity will remain unbroken for now.