Charles Soule’s Darth Vader #5 is set shortly after the events of Revenge of the Sith, and so far has focused in on Darth Vader’s attempt to build a Sith lightsaber. At the heart of every lightsaber is a kyber crystal, and the series has revealed that Sith Apprentices must take the crystal from the lightsaber of a Jedi they have defeated in combat. As a result, the first arc has focused on Darth Vader’s battle against a Jedi-in-exile who survived Order 66. Emerging triumphant, he must now bend the kyber crystal to his will, a process known as “bleeding,” which will turn the crystal red. Palpatine intends this to be done on Mustafar.
All this raises an intriguing question: Did Palpatine actually know that Obi-Wan would seek out Anakin? Had he believed Anakin would defeat his old Master on Mustafar? If he had, then no doubt Palpatine would have commanded his apprentice to bleed the crystal from Obi-Wan’s lightsaber then and there, creating his Sith blade before returning to the galaxy as a powerful Sith Apprentice. It’s certainly a possibility that we shouldn’t discount, given one of Palpatine’s greatest gifts was his ability to chart the future through visions. If so, though, he gravely miscalculated, and his plans were disordered by Obi-Wan’s triumph.
Whether or not that’s the case, though, in Darth Vader #5 we see Palpatine send his recovering Apprentice to Mustafar. There, Darth Vader finds the ruins of an ancient structure, and a cave marked with strange, sinister inscriptions. He meditates in the Force, and the issue shows a battle of wills between the kyber and the Sith Apprentice. Intriguingly, the kyber itself seems to fight Darth Vader, offering visions of his turning to the Light Side, slaying the Emperor, and being reconciled with Obi-Wan. Darth Vader rejects these visions, his indomitable will triumphing, and instead turns the crystal red. By the end of the comic, Darth Vader has committed to the Dark Side as never before.