– Spoiler Review –
It’s nice to finally get back behind Vader’s helmet after spending so many years with Anakin Skywalker in the prequels and The Clone Wars, but all that time spent with Anakin provides a new perspective on the fear inspiring enforcer of the Emperor. Darth Vader #1 revolves around a recent string of failures for Vader, just what exactly those failures mean for the Empire and his place in it, and it finds a unique way to express the Skywalker hidden deep inside the helmeted menace.
My absolute favorite aspect to #1 are all the panels where Vader is positioned and drawn as to recall specific shots of Luke from the films, and it’s done in so obvious a way it’s actually kind of subtle (I almost missed it on my first read-through). Vader’s entire entrance into Jabba’s Palace sequence looks so much like Luke’s in Return of the Jedi, it’s uncanny how artist Salvador Larroca captured it. Then there’s a panel later on of Vader staring out at the twin suns of Tatooine and I could almost hear the Force theme playing in my head. It’s an interesting contrast/comparison to make, like father like son as it were, and a splendid visual clue there’s still good in this Skywalker. But then the final panel takes an ominous switch, reminding us this Skywalker is still far from redemption, as he stands over his recent slaughter of more Tuskin Raiders. I can’t wait to see if they’ll continue those type of visual mimics of Luke with Vader as the series goes on, because it’s a smart and unique way to build Vader’s character.
Failure seems to be the theme of this issue, as Vader must finally face the consequences of losing the Death Star and to report his failure with the Rebels on Cymoon 1 (events from the first two issues of Star Wars) to Emperor Palpatine himself. Palpatine shames Vader for the decisions he made which helped lead to the Death Star’s destruction, taunting him with one of my favorite lines, “Oh, you are truly the chosen one Vader. Chosen to be the one responsible.” Their time together offers a small glimpse into Palpatine’s ruling of the Empire during this time period and his somewhat shrewd, but efficient planning. And having read about it in the novel Tarkin, it was chilling to finally see Palpatine walking around the empty halls of the Jedi Temple, now converted into the Imperial Palace, with Vader in tow. They discussed the state of the Empire for a bit, giving us some insight into how the Death Star’s destruction really messed up Palpatine’s plans, but he doesn’t seem too concerned about it. Not only does he mention the construction of the second Death Star, but he reveals General Tagge left the Death Star before the Rebellion’s attack and will be spearheading the construction. And will directly command Vader, a job I can’t imagine many people want, though Tarkin seemed to do a well enough job.
Vader’s mission to Tatooine to restart the negotiations with Jabba that the Rebels interrupted in Star Wars #1 allows for Vader to fulfill some alternative objectives. He recruits Boba Fett to help him track down the Rebel pilot who blew up the Death Star (it seems he’s beginning to suspect Luke, whom he met on Cymoon 1) and then he assigns Black Krrsantan, a Wookiee bounty hunter, to track down a mysterious figure who met with Palpatine on Coruscant after Vader was dismissed there. Afterwards (issue #2), it’ll be back to the Emperor’s mission of gaining Jabba’s resources, who might be more willing to do business after Vader took out most of his crew and Force choked him. Talk about ‘aggressive negotiations,’ hey?
Here are a few other things:
- Going along with all the mimicking of shots from the films, there’s one with Palpatine and Vader in the Imperial Palace which recalls a scene in Attack of the Clones where Mace Windu, Obi-Wan, and Yoda are talking about Anankin in the then Temple hallways.
- Tagge was assumed dead aboard the Death Star in EU/Legends tales, but is surprisingly alive here. Despite Palpatine’s high regards for Tagge’s foresight, we all know how well Tagge’s crack at the Death Star program works out, though commanding Vader might be his downfall first, methinks.
- Even if you haven’t read the first two issues of Star Wars, there’s enough here that you won’t feel left out.
- As Vader reminisces, we are treated to panels containing specific shots from A New Hope and I swear, had I not known I was reading a comic, I’d have said they were stills from the movie.
- Learning about a Wookiee bounty hunter’s history, and what seems like his almost partnership with Boba, is now on the top of my list.
- It seems Darth Vader #1 ‘spoils’ Star Wars #3, because by the end of SW#2 the Rebels hadn’t even regrouped at the Falcon yet, while DV#1 shows a scene of the Millennium Falcon flying off and Vader mentioning the Rebels got away from him on Cymoon 1.
Darth Vader #1 isn’t an action romp like the Star Wars series has been, instead it’s a little slower, methodical. But it’s paced well enough with new information and intriguing revelations to keep you glued to the page, while it’s character work on Vader puts him in a whole new light that’s well worth a read.
+ Panels where Vader mimics Luke
+ New characters
+ Vader dealing with his failures
– A little slow
STAR WARS CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
Vader: #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 | #6 | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25)
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25) | Annual: #1
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Poe Dameron (on-going)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)