[SPOILER ALERT] This article contains minor spoilers for Star Wars (Marvel Comics), Issue #50 and prior stories.
Reeling from two humiliating defeats, first from Jyn Erso’s incursion onto Scarif and the resulting theft of the Death Star plans, and then from the destruction of the Death Star itself at the Battle of Yavin, the Empire needed to take immediate action to quell the rising tide of rebellion. Unable to utilize its super-weapon, however, the Empire’s task fell to Darth Vader, and the Death Squadron was born.
We’ve seen in the films the effect Vader’s Death Squadron can have; led by the Super Star Destroyer Executor (one of the Empire’s new Star Dreadnaught-class vessels) and rounded out by six Imperial-class Star Destroyers, the Death Squadron wreaked havoc through the galaxy.
We get glimpses of the Death Squadron in Episode V as it lays siege to Echo Base on Hoth and chases the Millennium Falcon across the skies. Though the squadron became the spearhead of Imperial might, we don’t know much about its origin. Marvel Comics finally gives us some insight.
Through the comics we learn that Vader is initially reluctant to utilize such a tactic. Don’t forget, Vader prophetically cautioned Grand Moff Tarkin and the rest of the Death Star’s commanding officers not to be “too proud of this technological terror” they’d created. Knowing Vader would be fueled by his desire for revenge, however, Admiral Ozzel and General Veers eventually convince Vader to utilize Death Squadron to fill the void left by the Death Star’s destruction.
In Marvel’s Star Wars, Issue # 50, we get to see one of the first times Vader demonstrates the sheer might and brutality of his Death Squadron.
Upon learning of a secret Rebel Alliance on Mako-Ta, Vader ambushes the Rebels in especially sadistic fashion, instilling in the Rebels a growing sense of fear and terror before unleashing all the devastating power Death Squadron has to offer. His goal? Extinguish any hope the Rebels developed following the Battle of Yavin.
Created by the team (whose work is displayed in this article) of Kieron Gillen, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith, Salvador Larocca, Guru-eFX, and Java Tartaglia, Star Wars, Issue # 50, aptly titled “Hope Dies”, is available now.