|DARTH VADER No. 2, April 2015|
One of the most appealing advantages to the storytelling medium of comics over motion pictures is the incredible opportunity books provide to project many of a film’s lesser known characters into the ‘spotlight’ and enrich both their personality and history. Issue Two of “Darth Vader” is one such example of this as Kieron Gillen takes the short-lived imperial officer Cassio Tagge, wonderfully portrayed by Don Henderson in the 1977 movie “Star Wars”, and emphatically builds the Grand General up as a man powerful enough to potentially rival the Dark Lord of the Sith himself.
Admittedly it is hard to hear the late British actor’s voice in much of the dialogue. But even so it is clear right from the start that Tagge, placed in overall command by Emperor Palpatine, is an anathema to Vader’s appreciation of ‘vision and action’, with his graphs and mathematical models. This uneasiness and bitter rivalry is best summed up in the words of the Grand General himself as he retorts to his subordinate “My plans may not be as glamorous or grand as yours or the departed Tarkin’s, but they work.”
Disappointingly the actual plot to this second part of the “Vader” story-arc is nowhere near as engaging or entertaining as the interplay between the two imperial adversaries. Indeed it is rather confusing (or open ended) as to what the Sith Lord’s mission within the space pirates’ base actually is. The basic urgent requirement for the Empire to put an end to these supply raiders from the Extreme Edge of the Outer Rim is obvious. As is Tagge’s desire to identify the people behind them. But what is not clearly explained is why Vader risks his life in order to download the pirate’s system data twice? Was his astromech droid’s upload simply the Sith Lord falsely planting evidence of the General’s adjutant’s treachery on the base’s computer system, or did the little robot copy something far more important from the raider’s records? Possibly time will tell considering the destructive lengths Vader goes to in order to ensure any trace of the droid’s work is purged.
What is abundantly clear is how good a creative team artist Salvador Larroca and colorist Edgar Delgado are, for the illustrations within this comic are mesmerizingly good. Whilst the Spaniard’s depiction of Tagge isn’t quite an identical likeness for Henderson, it is extremely close. Whilst Lord Vader is a stunning representation of the black armoured Sith warrior. The former “Fantastic Four” contributor’s pencilling of tie-fighters, corvettes and droids are also very well technically drawn, capturing both the look and feel of George Lucas’ celluloid versions.
|The variant cover art of "DARTH VADER" No. 2 by Dave Dorman|