Darth Vader #1
Having discovered that name of the force sensitive pilot who destroyed The Death Star is a Skywalker, Darth Vader becomes obsessed with the Jedi-to-be he believes to be his son. After finally luring and confronting Luke on Bespin's Cloud City, Vader reveals himself to be his father. When given the opportunity to join Vader, Luke chooses instead to fall to his possible death than become one with The Dark Side. The confrontation has left Vader so visibly shaken that even his troops can sense it.
When the best of the best Star Wars comics are discussed, the two previous Vader series are always the fist thing people mention. Small short one liners like, “all I am surrounded by is fear and dead men,” followed by some of that Force-driven ultra-violence seems to be a winning formula for the series. Now a third series has arrived, led by writer Greg Pak. Pak formerly wrote for the previous Star Wars titled series, one which had its ups and downs. Taking the reins of Marvel’s most popular Star Wars series is a monumental task. Luckily, it seems Like Pak is off to a good start with Darth Vader #1. Like the first Vader and Star Wars series, the new Vader and Star Wars series run parallel to each other. The both start off right after the events of The Empire Strikes Back just after Vader confronts Luke and tells him he is his father. In the context of the comics, this meeting was long awaited. Vader has been obsessed with finding Luke Skywalker ever since he found out from Boba Fett, that the pilot who destroyed The Death Star was his son. That happened way back in the first Vader series’s issue 6, almost five years ago.
One of the things that makes the various Vader series compelling is the introspection we get from Vader’s character. Frequently the issues focus on memories, dreams, or visions. Vader has memories of his past when he visits a familiar location, or can see his own creation in meditative hallucinations. This issue continues that trend. The first issue of the new Star Wars titled series focused on Luke being almost dazed with the revelation that his greatest enemy is actually his father. He is just in awe and simply processing the info. In Vader issue 1, the Dark Lord doesn’t just reflect his emotional state, he has a journey of remembrance. He travels to Luke’s last know home world, Tatooine. A planet he knows all too well. He visits Luke’s old farm, a place of personal tragedy for Vader too. The issue is filled with red tinted memories of his life as Anakin Skywalker. It has somber tone as Vader retraces his steps while trying to track down Luke. This tone reverberates as Vader travels to other locations on his memory quest. The comic is not without action though. Despite the retrospection, Vader manages to get into plenty of conflicts with armies, aliens, and creatures throughout, not to mention a surprise cliffhanger at the very end to add a little extra intrigue
Pak and crew, have done a great job with reintroducing audiences to the Vader series. It has a familiar feel to previous series, but it also feels very much its own beast. Art was very well rounded between somber moments, memories, and action in between. The imperial officers wore their emotions on their face very well, while the Death Troopers in the story tell their intent simply with movement and posture. A simple bow of the head or slumped shoulders tells readers all they need to know about what Vader is feeling. All this is subtle, but incredibly important when portraying the emotional state of faceless characters. Very effective. If this level of high quality continues, this series could be just as compelling and engaging as the proceeding ones were.
One more Vader issue #1 is one more chance for a Vader title to excel over all the other Star wars titles. It must be lonely at the top for Darth Vader. This issue was well crafted and effective, but it also manages to pull off the one thing any first issue needs to do to succeed. It creates mystery and interest and a desire for the next issue to be released.
Darth Vader #1: I Hate Sand, Memoir of a Dark Lord
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10
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