Vader’s electrifying presence and power drive a lonely woman towards dark fantasies in Vader: Dark Visions #3.
Warning: This review contains plot points for Vader: Dark Visions #3.
Vader: Dark Visions #3
Story: Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum | Art: David Lopez & Javi Pina | Colors: Muntsa Vicente | Lettering: VC’s Joe Caramagna | Cover Artist: Greg Smallwood | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman | Editor: Mark Paniccia
Hero worship can drive people to do crazy things. Rock and roll fans will pull crazy stunts in an effort to impress their musical idols. Similarly, sports fans will live and die with the fortunes of their favorite sports teams. In the realm of politics, discourse frequently turns ugly when opposing supporters of icons espouse conflicting political beliefs. When fanaticism combines with loneliness and despair, the consequences might truly be tragic. Now, consider how this might play out in the Star Wars universe. Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum does just that in Vader: Dark Visions #3.
Loneliness begets Obsession
The main character of Dark Visions #3 is an unnamed nurse serving aboard the Death Star. She serves as an aide to the station’s chief doctor. This doctor has the unfortunate privilege of tending to Darth Vader after battle. Thus, the nurse frequently finds herself in Vader’s proximity.
This nurse also confesses to loneliness. In addition, she is frequently bullied by the very doctor she assists. Providing medical services to a Dark Lord of the Sith is certain to be a scary and nerve wracking experience. Plus, Vader has a reputation for punishing incompetence and annoyance harshly. There are examples of that in Dark Visions #3. The beleaguered doctor often takes out his anxieties on the nurse.
The nurse of Dark Visions #3 has nobody to turn to. She isn’t a stormtrooper or an officer. Therefore, she has no comrades on the station. It is unclear how she came to serve on the Death Star, but it is clear it isn’t a fit for her. Also, she seems to have a mental health issue.
In her loneliness, the nurse has fixated on Vader. She admires his power and how everyone on the Death Star scurries to curry his favor. After Vader receives treatment, she collects battle debris that is leftover. This often includes his blood and tissue. The nurse looks to Vader as a hero and for salvation. Therefore, she looks for reciprocation of her affection in even the smallest actions of his.
The nurse convinces herself that Vader too is lonely in Dark Visions #3. So, they have something in common. When Vader lashes out at the doctor, she misinterprets the cause: Vader was protecting her from the doctor’s wrath. In reality, Vader was punishing the doctor for not controlling his facility. In her mind, Vader loves her and will always protect her.
These fantasies grow in scope and purpose over the course of the issue. The nurse imagines a romance developing between herself and Vader. The art style changes when these fantasies emerge from a comic art style to something more akin to what would expect from the cover of a romance novel. He is her knight in black, shining armor. As their love becomes more concrete, she assumes his power and eventually imagines using a force choke to punish and kill the doctor for his cruelty.
The biggest sign that the nurse’s obsession is an unhealthy one is her collection. Whenever Vader receives treatment, she gathers the bits of him left behind on the surgical table. Hidden behind a panel in her room, she fancies the bits and pieces of Vader she collected over time as mementos and “souvenirs of [their] unspoken love.” She believes Vader deliberately left them behind for her as tokens of his affection. It is grotesque, but she really has nothing else.
The Final Straw
Ultimately, the nurse was doomed. Vader finally shows up one day when the doctor wasn’t in his facility. Naturally, the Nurse interprets this as Vader coming to her for help in his moment of need. Her heart swells. She imagines racing to his side on the battlefield after he heroically destroyed an army of Rebels. However, the doctor arrives and ushers her out before she can do anything to jeopardize his well being.
Her fantasy is only encouraged in Dark Visions #3 when Vader leaves behind his cape. Her reaction is revealing. She knows taking it isn’t right, and therefore, she attempts to hide his cape in her coveralls and smuggle it back to her room as another addition to her collection. It would be a prized addition to her box of mementos. However, the doctor catches her and throws her collection in a trash compactor despite her pleading. When her search through the trash fails to turn up her collection, she envisions wielding Vader’s power against the doctor herself.
Thus emboldened, the nurse makes her way to Vader’s meditation chamber. She knows he has no need to keep his chambers locked, but she chooses to believe he was expecting and hoping for her arrival. It was a bad choice. As she explains how they can finally be together, Vader runs her through with his saber.
Final Thoughts on Vader: Dark Visions #3
Vader: Dark Visions #3 is disturbing. On some level, it probably hits a nerve for many readers. Who hasn’t had an unrequited love at some point in their life? Who hasn’t examined every action of the object of their affection for some sign that they feel the same way? Some end up making the grand gesture, just like the nurse did towards Vader. Sometimes it works, but often, there is an embarrassing rebuke. The nurse is likely to be an object of scorn for many readers. That is unfortunate. She clearly was not well, but she was also acting out of desperation. Her circumstances lead to tragedy.
A final word on Vader’s reaction: after killing the nurse, Vader contacts the bridge. He orders them to “come get the garbage out of [his] quarters.” There is no doubt that Vader is mean and vengeful. However, he wasn’t really prone to these types of petty insults. Although it is difficult to image that he would have had any sympathy for the nurse, adding the further insult of labeling her as “garbage” after killing her seems out of character.
The Dark Visions series is an interesting take on how others in the galaxy look upon the Dark Lord of the Sith. One society came to view him as a Black Knight and savior, while some of his own officers beheld him as the consequences of failure personified. Vader always inspires something in those around him. Dark Visions #3 is a bizarre take on what that might be.
Dennis Keithly is a graduate of the University of Missouri, North Texas attorney, husband, father of two, and co-host of Starships, Sabers, and Scoundrels. In addition to Star Wars, Dennis is a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and super heroes in general. When not engaged in fictional universes, Dennis is reading a good book or watching the NHL, football, or studying the NFL draft.