This is by far my favorite Star Wars series. It has everything to do with a younger, still angry, Darth Vader and his constant kickassary. If you listened to this week’s podcast then you know that Kevin also highly enjoyed the issue and while he told you most of the issue, there is plenty more to enjoy. After an opening sequence with a battle cruiser picking up a lone ship and then finding itself cut in half, we head to Vader who is chilling in his stasis pod. Let me quickly note that it’s cool as shit to see him using the stasis room. He’s summoned by the Emperor and so heads to his chamber, but when he arrives he quickly pushes the Emperor out of the way and then grabs his chair and throws it out the window. The chair goes boom!
The Imperial Guards (bad asses in red) don’t even move a muscle in the time span that it’s taken Vader to do all this. After the chair explosion we pop back in the chambers and find Vader already choking the two guards. He wishes that he could kill them slowly, but sends one of them flying to their death instantly. The other one manages to say that he knows nothing of a plot before Vader sends him flying as well. The rest of the Imperial Guards arrive and Vader calls them out as either failures or traitors. One of them speaks up and offers his head for his failure and he and several others put their neck out for Vader to chop. Vader pops his saber, but he takes the two that are still standing out instead. He assigns them all tasks and then talks to the Emperor. Something is clouding their vision of the Force and Vader asks if it’s Jedi (which would have been cool and a node to the prequels), but the Emperor says that it’s something dark and ancient. Darker than the Sith and at odds with them? Interesting.
This issue is action, action, action! From the very first page you start reading and it never lets up. It kept an amazing pace as you’re never lost or feel that the book is moving too fast. If anything you reach the ending and become disappointed that you’re being forced to stop. The pacing is great for a single issue, but all you trade waiters out there are going to have an amazing read once this series is done. The writing is superb as it captures Vader as his power is growing. It makes me wonder what happens later on that would keep him in check with the Emperor leading into the original trilogy. The edition of something dark and ancient is really cool and actually adds this layer of mystery to the world that has been missing for so long. If there is something other than the Force that can mess with the Force, it would be the equivalent of Superman going up against magic.
As was the case with the last issue, the art is phenomenal and again my personal favorite of any of the Star Wars comics (which could change in the coming months). The action sequences are easy to follow and never distract from the story. The art keeps up with the pace set by the writing and still manages to have an incredible amount of detail in each panel. The choke holds and throws are great looking and capture the feel of the movies. Vader is drawn so well that it will remind you of the first time you saw him in the films, it’s that striking.
The last issue was really good and a great start to the series and while this issue didn’t exactly feel like a continuation of that issue, it was still incredibly good. The last third of the book connects the two issues, but I have a feeling that it will overlap more in the next issue. Usually I would say that it’s okay to jump on with this issue (it still is), but I really think that both the first issue and this one are worth buying. It’s very likely that this is the definitive Darth Vader story and it’s pretty damn amazing.
Writer: Tim Siedell Artist: Stephen Thompson Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 5/15/13