Darth Vader simply overpowered the same monster that attacked Han Solo, but he did so in more ways than one.
WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Star Wars: Darth Vader # 10 by VC’s Greg Pak, Raffaele Ienco, Neeraj Menon and Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
The last time we saw Darth Vader, he was about to enter the extremely dangerous nebula that leads to the planet Exegol. But before he could enter, his path was blocked by the appearance of a Summa-Verminoth, the same creature that attacked Han Solo during his shot at the Kessel Run. But this particular Summa-Verminoth was something else entirely, having evolved to hunt its own kind. These creatures in their natural state are considered the apex predators of space, but this was the absolute top of the food chain until Vader broke it in more ways than one.
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The Summa-Verminoth that Vader encountered was huge, but as Vader’s pursuers pointed out, it was a subspecies. No explanation was given as to why he was much more lethal than an average Summa-Verminoth (if “average” is something they can even be), but the most likely explanation was due to his proximity to Exegol. The dark side has a way of turning life into something designed only to hurt and kill. And honestly, what could be a better guardian of the secret world of the Sith than a appendix Apex predator?
This creature was not only massive in size, but unlike the creature that had attacked the Millennium Falcon, it also had telepathic abilities. He was able to reach into the minds of his prey and show them visions of his death, distracting them long enough for them to drift into his open jaws or more likely crash into the nebula he was protecting. If the Summa-Verminoth had been compared to Cthulhu before, now the parallels are complete.
But this was a creature used to unsuspecting travelers, not fully trained Sith Lords. And Darth Vader was no stranger to slaying giant beasts. The creature affected him by showing him an altered version of Vader’s duel with Luke in Cloud City. But Vader was the survivor of the Clone Wars, his mutilation on Mustafar, the loss of his wife, and even the Emperor himself. It would take more than a few visions of a possible future to end his life. He managed to break free from Summa-Verminoth’s mental assault to land on Exegol. But the creature followed, reluctant to let its prey go free.
This was his biggest mistake. Vader probably would have been content to move on to the next obstacle, but the monster pushed the problem. So Vader decided to turn the situation around. He was used to being the one to launch a psychic attack, so he was completely taken by surprise when Vader dominated his mind with the Dark Side. And while riding the giant toward the Sith Temple like a war beast, Vader proved more powerful than the black hole that killed the Kessel Run Summa-Verminoth. Not only did he break the monster, he bent it at will.
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