Saturday, 13 June 2015

Darth Vader #6 - Marvel Comics

DARTH VADER No. 6, August 2015
There’s an unsettling aura of creative disconnection which permeates Issue Six of “Darth Vader”, and dishearteningly it doesn’t just confine itself to Kieron Gillen’s ‘blasphemous belief’ that the Galactic Emperor would surround himself with a “team of technically enhanced warriors.” For the pacing of this twenty-page conclusion to the British writer’s six-part story-arc is quite noticeably drawn out for the magazine’s latter half. Almost as if artist Salvador Larroca suddenly ran out of script to illustrate despite still having a number of empty sheets yet to fill.

This situation is entirely plausible considering the utter ludicrousness of this periodical’s opening scene, which sees the Dark Lord of the Sith ‘fending off’ the pathetic individual attacks of technology specialist Cylo’s “lightsaber-wielding cyborgs.” Despite the fighting, which is annoyingly narrated by the humanoid doctor like some poorly thought out second-hand car salesperson’s pitch, the Valencia-born cartographer really struggles to imbue the action with any sense of danger or excitement and instead confines each confrontation to a handful of suffocatingly tight panels.

Such a ‘cramped’ artistic technique even extends to when Palpatine demands “a real demonstration” and all the combatants must fight “to the death”. For the Spaniard boils all the supposedly frenzied drama of the ‘ensuing melee’ down to a single seven-framed page which simply focuses upon Vader’s lack-lustre contest.

As a result Larroca then finds himself with an intimidating ten pages with which to depict Anakin Skywalker’s discovery from a completely incompetent bounty hunter Boba Fett that he has a son… cue plenty of disappointingly drawn flashback scenes from the 2005 motion picture “Revenge Of The Sith”.   

It also seems rather nonsensical that any of Gillen’s fanciful, yet in many ways unimaginative, creations would ever be capable of replacing the former Jedi Knight as the Emperor’s right hand, especially when the likes of the Trandoshan trainee simply attacks with his bare claws. The bipedal reptilian may have undergone “cyberanimate modification” in order to no longer feel something “as petty as pain”. But that is scant protection when a lightsaber slices you in half. Something which makes Vader’s apparent defeat at the ‘hands’ of the creature even less acceptable.

However the biggest flaw with the British author’s storyline has to be the way in which he depicts the relationship between Palpatine and his Sith apprentice, as Gillen seems to have completely forgotten that by the time of the Death Star’s destruction these two characters would have existed alongside one another for over twenty years. Instead the Emperor’s rapport with Vader would seem to more closely resemble that of him still addressing an adolescent Anakin, even incredulously rebuking his protégé for ‘disappointing him on Mustafar’.
Writer: Kieron Gillen, Artist: Salvador Larroca, and Colorist: Edgar Delgado

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