|DARTH VADER No. 4, June 2015|
Despite some incredibly strong distribution figures, with this title’s fourth instalment alone selling 123,394 copies in April 2015, many fans of the Dark Lord of the Sith would argue that disappointingly Kieron Gillen’s interpretation of Darth Vader is almost unrecognisable from that portrayed by David Prowse in the original “Star Wars” motion picture trilogy. Much of this disillusionment stems from the fact that publishers “Marvel Worldwide” have seen fit to allow the former Jedi to be saddled with both two droids, who are worryingly similar to Artoo and Threepio in all but their murderous motives, and a young smart-mouthed female sidekick; none of which, it could be argued, would ever have shared any screen time with George Lucas' menacing movie 'monster'.
The British writer’s narrative in “Book I, Part IV" of "Vader” is also extremely questionable as the ‘galactic gang’ land on Geonosis in order “to steal a robot womb factory off a homicidally broody alien queen.” Such an audacious action-packed adventure admittedly provides its fair share of drama and frantic fast-paced fun. But such ‘high octane’ antics would surely be far more suitable if the central character was a rebel scoundrel such as Han Solo or even an apprentice Jedi like Luke Skywalker. As it is, Darth’s black armoured presence simply jars the sensibilities as the central focus of Gillen’s swashbuckling soiree.
Unfortunately the former journalist’s script does not get any better once events have quietened down and the Sith Lord starts to manufacture his “private off-the-grid” loyal droid army. Indeed the storyline's logic actually seems to get worse as Doctor Aphra matter-of-factly acknowledges that Vader must now execute her as “whatever you’re planning next. You don’t need me anymore.” Such a meek, almost willing, submission to her extinction is utterly unbelievable, especially as the rogue archaeologist has previously been depicted as such a spunky person with an insane zest for life. Certainly the savvy droid technician wouldn’t just turn her back on her would-be-killer and request he put his “lightsaber right through the neck. No warning. Nice and quick.”
Bizarrely even after the Emperor’s apprentice informs Aphra that for now he has no such intention, the seemingly suicidal space-farer warns him that she is “a walking, talking stupid risk” and is willing to die so he can “win” as “this is for a higher cause.” Such an implausibly preposterous attitude to her demise dishearteningly destroys any credibility Gillen had developed with the criminal’s personality and ruins what potentially could have been an interesting if not tense relationship between the seriously dour Sith Lord and his flighty risk-taking servant.
|The variant cover art of "DARTH VADER" No. 4 by Salvador Larroca|