Thursday, July 20, 2017
Review: DARTH VADER #25
MARVEL COMICS – @Marvel
[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]
STORY: Keiron Gillen
ART: Salvador Larroca
COLORS: Edgar Delgado
LETTERS: VC's Joe Caramagna
COVER: Juan Gimenez
VARIANT COVERS: Cliff Chiang; John Tyler Christopher; Michael Cho; Adi Granov; Greg Land; Salvador Larocca; Jamie McKelvie; Sara Pichelli; Joe Quesada; Chris Samnee; Kamome Shirahama
52pp, Color, $5.99 U.S. (December 2016)
Book IV, Part VI: “End of Games”
Of course you know that The Walt Disney Company owns Marvel Comics, dear readers. Shortly after acquiring Marvel Entertainment, Disney bought Lucasfilm, Ltd., the owner of all thing Star Wars. Just a (relatively) short time later, Dark Horse Comics lost the license to produce Star Wars comic books, which it had held for two decades. It was obvious that Marvel would be the new home of Star Wars comics, and around the beginning of 2015, Marvel released the flagship title, Star Wars.
Shortly afterwards, Marvel began its second Star Wars series, Darth Vader. Written by Keiron Gillen, drawn by Salvador Larroca, colored by Edgar Delgado, and lettered by Joe Caramagna, this series chronicled the quest of Star Wars' most (in)famous and beloved villain, Darth Vader, has he delved into his past and fought for his present in order to prepare for his future.
Basically, this is how Darth Vader the comic book worked. Emperor Palpatine held Vader responsible for the destruction of his ultimate weapon, the Death Star, by the Rebel Alliance – as seen the original Star Wars from 1977 (also known as Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope). Suddenly, the Emperor had appointed others in position of power that basically rivaled Vader's position of power and authority under the Emperor, and some of those rivals wanted to see Vader dead.
To defend himself, Vader essentially created his own secret Empire within the Emperor's Empire, from which he could defeat his adversaries and secure his position in the Empire. Vader even learned that the young pilot who launched the torpedoes/missiles that destroyed the Death Star is Luke Skywalker, his son by his late wife from another life. As the series progressed, Vader had much success, but some of his rivals prove to be formidable adversaries who could destroy him.
Now, the series comes to an end and wraps up its remaining story lines/threads in Darth Vader #25. As the story begins, Darth Vader prepares for his final showdown with the one who has proven to be his most wily rival, Cylo, but the traitorous scientist has a fail safe that may give him victory over Vader. Meanwhile, Vader's secret ally, Dr. Aphra, moves to protect herself from Vader – by seeking counsel with the Emperor!
After the first story arc of this series, entitled “Vader,” it was clear that Marvel's best Star Wars comic book was Darth Vader, which was saying a lot because the flagship Star Wars was also quite good. I think series writer Kieron Gillen did a good job of connecting the past, which contained the wreckage resulting from the transformation of Annakin Skywalker into Darth Vader to the present, filled with Vader's problems and dilemmas. Gillen gave his readers the chance to watch Vader discover some of the secrets of his past, which were not secret to readers, while also offering readers the opportunity to see how Vader “discovered” Luke Skywalker.
I can say that Gillen was good enough at what he did with Darth Vader that this series is worth preserving in trade paperback for future readers. For the time being or until Star Wars is inevitably rebooted (probably sooner than we think), Gillen's Darth Vader is Star Wars storytelling for posterity.
And before we go, I must praise the stellar work of series artist, Salvador Larroca. It is a shame that it seems easy to take Larroca for granted, but his work defined this series' sense of cloak and dagger and the title character's relentless aggression.
Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"
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