While Luke Skywalker might have had the cooler fight in the second season of The Mandalorian, his father Darth Vader actually fought Darktroopers years earlier following the events of The Empire Strikes Back. Having been tasked with hunting down Crimson Dawn for the Emperor, Vader is determined to bring order to the galaxy, starting with the agents of the Dawn who are embedded within the Empire itself. However, certain Imperial officers aren’t too pleased with Vader unilaterally wiping out their troops, motivating a brutal retaliation in this new issue.
In previous issues of Darth Vader, the Dark Lord has amassed a force of hired assassins and freedom fighters to root out the members of Crimson Dawn in the Empire. However, the list they recently recovered that allegedly contains the names of Crimson Dawn agents proves to be a plant. While Vader knew the list was fake, it serves as the perfect excuse for him to eliminate those he sees as unworthy to serve the Empire in the name of order, while also bringing him closer to the person who created the list in the first place.
The new Darth Vader #21 from Greg Pak and Raffaele Ienco sees General Romodi angered by the loss of good soldiers who were needlessly murdered with no evidence of affiliation with Crimson Dawn. As a result, Vader’s next attack with his forces reveals an entire legion of Darktroopers waiting for them, having been sent by Romodi as revenge. While the droids first featured in The Mandalorian are defeated Darth Vader learns who sent them, seemingly spelling Romodi’s doom.
In comparison, Luke Skywalker was able to fight an entire legion of Darkstroopers on his own in The Mandalorian while Vader’s assassins and freedom fighters fight the majority of the droids in this new issue that takes place years prior. That being said, their appearance in the issue cements their canonical existence in the Star Wars continuity, serving as formidable assets the Empire had at its disposal. Furthermore, Romodi having lost so many of his stormtroopers to Vader makes the Darktroopers the ideal tools to use for his revenge against the Dark Lord of the Sith (had they actually been successful).
Complicating the issue is Vader’s right-hand man Ochi of Bestoon. The Sith assassin appears to be the one who tipped off Romodi. Ochi has been working for Crimson Dawn and Sabé, the former handmaiden of Padmé Amidala who created the false list in a bid to use the Dark Lord to do the Dawn’s dirty work. However, Vader is well aware of Ochi’s duplicitous nature and was even counting on it. As such, Ochi leads Vader right to Sabé by the issue’s end, forcing her into his service. While Darth Vader will likely be setting his sights on Romodi in the near future, the general may have more of The Mandalorian’s Darktroopers at his disposal to put between him and the Dark Lord.