Darth Vader, a lackey to a subordinate of The Emperor, got his ass handed to him at the end of Star Wars. He let the Rebels get away with the plans to the Death Star, which they then used to blow up the space weapon... and he was the only person who walked away from the whole fiasco alive. How the hell does he end up in command of his own Star Destroyer by the time The Empire Strikes Back opens, and taking orders directly from The Emperor himself?
This is the spine of Star Wars: Darth Vader, one of three new Star Wars comics coming from Marvel, who have taken the license back from Dark Horse. I love writer Kieron Gillen's take on the character, and his approach to the book:
My model for the series is “House of Cards.” A man in a position of power who is slighted and turns to tactics that he wouldn't have really considered before. In terms of engagement with the readers, it really helps that we're set in the period between “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back.” That’s an emotionally interesting place for Vader, and I suspect many people will empathize—if somewhat darkly—with his position.
Marvel's also launching a Star Wars comic that picks up immediately after the end of A New Hope as well as a Star Wars: Princess Leia 5 issue miniseries that examines how the heroine deals with the small issue of her homeworld being blown up. I've always loved that Star Wars has the kind of tone where everybody mostly shrugs off the destruction of Alderaan and wind up all smiles at the end.
But it's this Vader book that is the real must-read for me. What's more, Marvel is working with the Lucasfilm story group, so these comics are 100% official canon - for the first time ever, I believe.