Thursday, July 9, 2020

#IReadsYou Review: STAR WARS: Target Vader #1


[This review was originally posted on Patreon. and please visit the "Star Wars Central" review page here.]

STORY: Robbie Thompson
ART: Marc Laming; Cris Bolson
COLORS: Neeraj Menon; Jordan Boyd; Andres Mossa; Federico Blee; Erick Arciniega
LETTERS: VC's Clayton Cowles
EDITOR: Mark Paniccia
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Akira Yoshida a.k.a. C.B. Cebulski
COVER: Nic Klein
VARIANT COVERS: Carmen Carnero; Marco Checchetto
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (September 2019)

Rated “T”

Part 1 of 6: “On the Hunt”

Star Wars: Target Vader is a new six-issue comic book miniseries.  It is written by Robbie Thompson.  The art for the first issue is drawn by Marc Lamming and Cris Bolson, with coloring by Neeraj Menon, Jordan Boyd, Andres Mossa, Federico Blee, and Erick Arciniega.  Series letterer is Clayton CowlesTarget Vader finds the Dark Lord of the Sith hunting for a mysterious criminal syndicate that operates outside of the rule of the Galactic Empire.

Star Wars: Target Vader #1 opens on the “Lower Bay Docks” of Eikari in the Outer Rim.  Holaq, a gun-toting criminal, has chosen his new allies badly.  Darth Vader is on the hunt!  He is searching for “The Hidden Hand,” a highly-secretive criminal syndicate that is selling weapons to the Rebel Alliance.  Emperor Palpatine wants Vader to find The Hidden Hand and to expose and destroy every member and to also tear any allies or associates to pieces.  Meanwhile, on Coruscant, the notorious bounty hunter, Beilert Valance, is about to get an offer from The Hidden Hand.

Sometime before the debut of the 2015 film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a commentator wrote that he would like that film and the Star Wars films to follow to be more like the original Star Wars (1977) film.  To him, that first film was a kind of science fiction that had the elements of an American Western film.  I can see the spaceport town of Mos Eisley on the planet Tatooine as something like an isolated Western outlaw town.

Star Wars: Target Vader #1 has a vibe that suggests the original Star Wars film.  The settings and action could be from either a Western or even from an urban gangland fairy tale like “The Untouchables” (1959 to 1963) television series.  Robbie Thompson's script for this first issue is a lean, mean, fighting machine – quick to the point and quick to dispatch characters to their violent deaths.  Thompson manages to make even Darth Vader seem vulnerable (somewhat) in this scenario.

The other star of this comic book is Beilert Valance, now an official character in the Star Wars canon.  He is a re-imagined version of Valance the Hunter, a character that originated in Marvel Comics' first Star Wars comic book series (which began in 1977) and not in the Star Wars films.  [Valance was created by writer Archie Goodwin and artist Walter Simonson and first appeared in Star Wars #16 (cover dated: October 1978).]  Thompson makes Beilert seem quite intriguing:  a loser with a bad-ass streak and the skills to kill.

The art for this issue is split between Marc Laming and Cris Bolson.  Both deliver comic book art that is in the spirit of science fiction comic book artists of the pasts like Al Williamson and Dan Barry.  The coloring is bright and vivid and shimmers like starlight, and Clayton Cowles proves to be a letterer whose fonts are perfect for Star Wars.

I really like Star Wars: Target Vader #1, and I hope the rest of the miniseries can offer the excitement this one does.  This series might even offer readers a kind of Star Wars take on DC Comics' Suicide Squad.  I can say, once again, that Marvel's Darth Vader titles are consistently good.

8 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2019 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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