STAR WARS: DARTH VADER - BLACK, WHITE & RED #1
When Anakin Skywalker turned to the dark side, he became Darth Vader, one of the most
powerful Sith of all time. In his service to the evil Galactic Empire, he has left a trail of
destruction and terror, striking fear into the hearts of millions across the galaxy.... these are some of those stories.
Of the myriad of characters in the Star Wars universe, few hold as broad a fascination as the Darth Vader. This series examines aspects of Darth Vader as a force of darkness, an agent of the Emperor and the evil galactic empire, and his physical and psychological dark presence in the Star Wars universe in small, well-crafted vignettes.
Hard Shutdown Part #1
In an ongoing opening story, Jason Aaron and Leonard Kirk take Vader to an abandoned ore mining moon where a meeting with the son of a dead doctor turns out to be a predictable ambush. Vader seems to be expecting this, except these are not rebels. Aaron’s Vader is excellent. Sure of himself, merciless, violent, and seemingly unstoppable, but in a critical moment where it looks like Vader has squashed things, Aaron reminds readers he does have weak spots, and the tables turn. Kirk’s heavy blacks and lines, punctuated by Romulo Fajardo’s very liberal use of red for the violent moments in the story, make it visually appealing and easy to follow. Fajardo uses shades of red to add depth and draw your focus in several panels well. It’s a perfect combination of violence and mystery to open the series with a cliffhanger ending that has a solid hook to get one to pick up part 2, as Aaron exploits the idea of Vader’s robotic parts as a possible weakness for his enemies to exploit.
This next chapter’s switch in pace, tempo, and look works to astonishing effect—hats off to the editor who called to put this story next in the issue. Peach Momoko is an astounding artist whose unique and prolific covers have become one of the most sought-after in the current comics landscape. Momoko is also a storyteller; if you haven’t checked out her Demon Days series, you are doing yourself a disservice. The story is a visual representation of the psychological terror of Vader as an individual and how that can tear into and take hold of the psyche of one of his targets or victims. Momoko lets the art tell the story. Silent, with no words but profoundly symbolic and psychological, every panel is so exquisitely crafted, from the line art to the heroic use of black in this story. Momoko brings to life the psychological terror of who Vader is. His face is a death mask as Momoko uses scale to absolutely incredible effect. She warps a dream reality into a mental terrorscape where the looming Vader’s presence is crushing and inescapable. It’s a story that the reader doesn’t read but feels viscerally through Momoko’s art. Through her unique art, Momoko has made this an experience. Incredible.
Dissolution Of Hope
Torunn Gronbekk and Klaus Jansen spin a tale highlighting Vader’s ability to use his enemy’s expertise against them. Gronbekk uses sabotage and rebellion as the stage while reminding us of the commitment it takes to be a rebel, the tragedy of it, and in this instance, the futility in the wake of being outsmarted by Vader himself. Along the way, Gronbekk comments on the weakness of corrupt men in power and uses first-person narration from Vader to excellent effect from the opening panel to the end. Klaus Jansen is a veteran of the Marvel Star Wars comic as he was one of the artists that worked on the original Marvel run, including several annuals. There’s a level of nostalgia that his line work evokes that takes me back to my childhood and finding a new Star Wars comic in the spinner rack of the corner store in my long-gone youth. Even the way he draws Vader, the mask’s shape reflects that era. It’s a thoroughly engaging outing for all involved that shows off Gronbekk’s talents as a writer and that Jansen can still deliver as an artist in spades.
An absolutely flawless start to the anthology series which mixes clever, varied storytelling themes around the central character of Vader with an eclectic but absolutely stellar art selection. STAR WARS DARTH VADER BLACK, WHITE & RED #1 is perfect Star Wars comics from everyone involved
STAR WARS: DARTH VADER – BLACK, WHITE & RED #1: Tales Of A Dark Lord
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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