Darth Vader #1
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
The opening panels of Vader are just about perfect. Cinematic, beautifully drawn. Though this takes place just after A New Hope, it brings us back to Return of the Jedi with several parallels: it’s Jabba’s palace, Darth Vader’s entry is parallel to Luke’s, and there are several other allusions. I like this choice of opening for several reasons. Rather than start in the Imperial Palace with Vader getting dressed down by the Emperor for the Death Star destruction, we get a strong, defiant, and powerful Vader. Starting in with the reprimand would have made Vader seem weak. And the immediate allusions to Return of the Jedi place us in a more familiar world than the Imperial Palace. Coruscant is, visually, more of the prequels. Setting us on Tatooine marks us as in the original trilogy setting.
I do love the Imperial Palace scenes though. They tie this series into the mainline Star Wars comic series. They set the stage for the story arc by subtle introducing Vader’s main antagonist. And in general, seeing the Emperor treat Vader like a puppy who has pooed on the floor is great fun. Vader’s memory flashes back to the battle of Yavin are intriguing. Just as the Emperor is withholding information from Vader, Vader keeps his knowledge of this strong-with-the-force-youth a secret from the Emperor. Sith lords sithing.
Then we get Boba Fett and the introduction of Black Krrsantan. Vader tasks them with finding the rebels beyond the Death Star destruction. That right before the closing, gruesomely distributing line: “…And all my present business is concluded.”
This series, which I’ll be reviewing over the coming weeks issue by issue, is a must for any Star Wars fan. Darth Vader is a villain but he’s so compelling as a character that though you can’t root for him, he is able to be the protagonist of the story arc. It’s a fine line: you can’t make him a hero or a ‘good guy’, but you need him to carry the story. Gillen and Larroca succeeds at telling the story in just the right way to make it work.