Sunday, March 1, 2015

I Reads You Review: DARTH VADER #1


["Star Wars Central" review page is here.]

STORY: Keiron Gillen
ART: Salvador Larroca
COLORS: Edgar Delgado
LETTERS: VC's Joe Caramagna
COVER: Adi Granov
VARIANT COVERS: Alex Ross, Simone Bianchi, Mark Brooks, J. Scott Campbell, John Cassaday, John Tyler Christopher, Adi Granov, Greg Horn, Greg Land, Salvador Larocca, Alex Maleev, Mike Del Mundo, Whilce Portacio, Mico Suayan, Skottie Young
40pp, Color, $4.99 U.S. (April 2015)

Rated T

Book 1: Vader

Marvel Comics' new line of Star Wars comic books yields a second series.  Entitled Darth Vader, it is written by Keiron Gillen, drawn by Salvador Larroca, colored by Edgar Delgado, and lettered by Joe Caramagna.  Of course, this series focuses on the signature Star Wars villain, Darth Vader.

It might seem odd to that Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, is so popular.  Throughout six Star Wars films, Vader, either as himself or as his original identity, Anakin Skywalker, has been portrayed as a killer, a mass murderer, a child killer, a war criminal, a torturer, a traitor, a liar, and as the lap dog of Emperor of the evil Galactic Empire.  While people would generally find anyone of the above descriptions repugnant, to say nothing of possessing more than one, Darth Vader is a fictional character is an escapist fantasy.  Instead of being repugnant, Vader is alluring

It is granted that countless people around the world take the Star Wars narrative seriously.  While Darth Vader may be like Adolf Hitler, he is not in actuality like Hitler.  So fans can love the fictional Vader, while hating even a fictional depiction of Hitler.  Got it?  We don't have to take Vader so seriously in order to find him a most delicious bad guy.

Darth Vader #1 (Book 1: Vader) opens after the events that took place on Cymoon (as seen in Marvel's recently launched Star Wars comic book series).  Vader is on the planet Tatooine to negotiate with Outer Rim crime lord, Jabba the Hutt.  The story then takes readers to the period shortly before Vader arrived on Tatooine.

We learn that the Emperor is exceedingly displeased at the Rebel Alliance's destruction of the Death Star and also with the Rebel attack on Cymoon.  The Emperor both blames Vader and tasks him with repairing the damage done to “his” empire by the recent setbacks.  Vader realizes that his position is now precarious, so how will he respond?

As I started reading Darth Vader #1, I did not expect much – I have to admit.  The art is good, but it is by Salvador Larroca, who is always good and has been for over a decade.  Just after the halfway point in this first issue, I started to understand that Darth Vader the comic book looks like it is going to be a character drama about and character study of Vader.  He will be neither the henchman/contagonist of the original Star Wars film trilogy nor the shallow and petulant youth of the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

Keiron Gillen will give Vader not only motivation, but also personality, including a sense of pride and an ability to be pricked and wounded emotionally and psychologically.  Vader will have to respond, to defend, and to protect himself in sometimes imaginative and sometimes foolish ways.  Larroca will bring that to life in vivid, potent, and eye-catching storytelling.

Could Darth Vader be the better Star Wars ongoing series?


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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