REVIEW: Darth Vader #1-“A New Dark Lord”

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Darth Vader #1 Review Cover Feature

Writer: Charles Soule
Penciller: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Release Date: June 7, 2017
Price: $4.99

Darth Vader #1 Review Cover

Plot: Anakin Skywalker has just become Darth Vader and discovered that his wife is dead.

Story: Darth Vader #1 is yet another part of the age immune saga that is Star Wars. For over 40 years this anthology has given us sensational stories and there is still no end in sight for what that far away galaxy can come up with. After April 2014 we’ve been graced with a new canon and Star Wars storybook group that works daily to put out content that is in line with one another, so they can successfully tie this expansive universe together. This is just yet another of many stories to come that help make this fandom that much more real.

This new series featuring Darth Vader, written by Charles Soule, slides in right after Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and just after Anakin Skywalker becomes the maleficent Darth Vader. The time period alone is exciting because we’ve never quite gotten this specific interlude in story form before. All we really have in between this gap is the TV series, Star Wars Rebels and saga film, Rogue One. We’ve had books like Lords of the Sith that give us some insight to events that happened before Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, but none that pick up directly after Episode III. In this new series, we are getting the story of the brand-new Darth Vader.

Darth Vader #1 Review Darth Vader vs Darth Sidious 2

It’s interesting to note how well the time frame is considered in this writing. Palpatine has more patience than seems fit for The Emperor, but this reflects on his scheming nature. He had to manipulate Anakin to get him in his clutches but he doesn’t want to squeeze so tight just yet that he slips through his fingers. He must use tactical finesse. I appreciate this time-aware attention to detail. It’s important to the vast lore of Star Wars for the finest of details to be considered. If characterization isn’t correct, we can rest assure that there are thousands of fans just waiting to jump in and prove why it isn’t. That’s what makes the work of Star Wars writers so impressively good.

Because Anakin has just become Darth Vader and his weapon was lost to his last teacher, Obi-Wan Kenobi, he has no weapon. As is the way of the Sith, he learns that he must take his weapon as opposed to simply acquiring it. Darth Vader understands this when the Emperor doesn’t offer him any of the many lightsabers taken from the dead Jedi, being destroyed before them. So, we get to see how Darth Vader gets his lightsaber in this series. I also would like to note that this book talks about how the Sith “bleed” the kyber crystals with the dark side, making them red. This concept was first introduced in the novel Ahsoka, which also refuted the old Legends explanation of the Sith using synthetic crystals. I personally like this explanation better. It adds to the mystical aspect of Star Wars.

Darth Vader #1 Review Darth Vader vs Darth Sidious

Art: The art in this book captures the characters very well. Darth Vader’s opening splash page depicts his powers in grandiose fashion as The Emperor is tossed awry. The lines and folds in The Emperor’s face, and the dark sinkholes around his eyes are well detailed. The colors and shadowing gives us a rich depiction of their view of the Star Wars universe. I absolutely love seeing Star Wars on comic book pages because it captures a fantasy aspect that can’t quite be illustrated the same way on screen. It’s not better or lesser, but unique in its own way.

Verdict: This is an outstanding start to this new series, and I hope to see it flourish. I was worried because the previous series by Kieron Gillen seems like such a hard act to follow. But Charles Soule is a brilliant writer in his own right as well, and with this time frame he has his own story to tell about the Dark Lord of the Sith. I’m looking forward to reading more in the future.

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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