Friday, 27 February 2015

Darth Vader #1 - Marvel Comics

DARTH VADER No. 1, April 2015
 Publishing a comic book series based upon a genuinely villainous character, someone who has completely surrendered themselves over to evil and everybody loves to hate, would ordinarily be viewed as a brave move on the part of “Marvel Worldwide”. But when that individual is the Lord of the Sith from the multi-billion film franchise “Star Wars” and the title of the periodical is “Darth Vader” then one could argue that successful sales figures are inevitable no matter what the quality of the magazine’s content.

As it happens however Kieron Gillen has written a very good opening issue with Anakin Skywalker’s alter ego demonstrating all the ruthlessness and secretive ingenuity which made him such a sinister force within the motion picture’s ‘original trilogy’. This former Jedi Knight is dangerous. Unbelievably so. Though at first it is all too easy to forget just how incredibly powerful the black-garbed Ralph McQuarrie designed solitary figure actually is. 

Indeed when Lord Vader single-handedly strides into Jabba’s Palace at the start of the storyline, and finds himself surrounded by the vile gangster’s mercenary bodyguards, things do not look good for the ruthless cyborg; certainly Max Rebo doesn’t believe so as the male Ortolan shields his eyes from the anticipated slaughter of Ben Kenobi’s former Padawan. But just a few pages of red light-sabre action later, and all the ‘scum and villainy’ have been dispatched. Whilst ‘the mighty Jabba’ is clutching his swollen throat as a result of force ‘choke’ hold. “Impressive. Most impressive.”

Unfortunately “Darth Vader” is not a virtuoso performance by the British writer however. The opening sequence of a lone individual strolling into the Hutt’s Tatooine fortress has been repeatedly replicated since its inception at the start of the movie “Return Of The Jedi”; so appears somewhat clich√©. There is also some uncharacteristic dialogue between Master and Apprentice on Coruscant as Vader actually challenges the Emperor to his face by accusing him of “…trying to hide something from me?” just because Palpatine won’t reveal the identity of a mysterious visitor to the Imperial Palace. The subservient Sith Lord has never showed such troublesome doubts in his master’s decision-making before. Nor would do so on the 'big screen' until their climatic confrontation during the Battle of Endor; something which doesn’t take place for a considerable time in the future…

Arguably the highlight of this comic book however is the excellent artwork by Salvador Larroca. The Spaniard’s pencilling of Vader, along with some beautiful highlighting work on his armoured costume by colorist Edgar Delgado, is simply faultless. Whilst his attempts to recapture pivotal shots from the motion pictures, such as the memorable “The Force is strong with this one” Death Star trench run, are outstanding.
The regular cover art of "DARTH VADER" No. 1 by Adi Granov

4 comments:

  1. I saw the front cover and my eyes lit up - a Chibi Darth Vader and Chibi Stormtroopers! How cool! Sadly, it was only for the front cover, which has to be an alternate cover. It has been many years since I bought a Star Wars comic and I doubt if I ever will again. My problem is that there are way too many Star Wars titles and it would be far too costly to collect them all. I agree that the interior artwork of this comic looks superb but "these are not the comics I'm looking for."

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    1. Sorry Bryan. The cover is a variant by my favourite artist Skottie Young. I try and buy his work whenever I can or at least I try and post a picture of it, as I love his 'chibi' look. This is actually a very good time to buy "Star Wars" as its official canon stuff this time round with both it and "Marvel Worldwide" now being owned by Disney. There's just three titles too, "Star Wars", "Darth Vader" and "Princess Leia" (min-series). I'll be covering all three though if you just want to know what is going on :-)

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    1. Clearly not a fan of Skottie Young's work then Bob :-)

      For March I'm planning on the theme being "Make Mine Marvel - Not", so there won't be any "Marvel Worldwide" titles being reviewed just "DC Comics" and all the other independent publishers. That should keep the 'Chibi' covers down to a minimum for you ;-)

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