Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 1 by Kieron Gillen

by on February 17th, 2016
Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 1 by Kieron Gillen Cover Image

Last year, Marvel got the Star Wars comics license back from publisher Dark Horse.  The move made sense since Marvel and Lucasfilm are both owned by Disney (corporate synergy!).  Marvel put some of their best writers and artists on the first three comics–Star Wars, Darth Vader and Princess Leia–and the results were (mostly) fantastic.  My favorite, by far, was the Darth Vader comic written by Kieron Gillen with art by Salvador Larocca.

Darth Vader is one of my favorite characters of all time.  He’s the best bad guy there is.  My love began early when I was drawn to an over-sized Darth Vader action figure at my babysitter’s house.  I vividly remember clutching it when confined to a playpen.  I didn’t watch the movies until years later, but Vader had already made his mark.  Because of this, I was hesitant about the Darth Vader comic.  What if they didn’t do justice to the best bad guy there is?  Thankfully, I didn’t need to be worried.

Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 1 takes place after Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.  Vader is disgraced after failing to stop an unknown Rebel pilot from destroying the Death Star.  The Emperor demotes him and assigns an agent to monitor him.  Vader, in an effort to get back on top, recruits a rogue techno archaeologist named Doctor Aphra.  Aphra specializes in droids, and Vader catches up with her after she has activated Triple-Zero and BT-1, which are basically murderous versions of C-3P0 and R2-D2.  Vader wants to know what the Emperor is planning next, and there are a lot of double-crosses along the way.

One of my biggest issues with Star Wars comics is that the characters don’t sound like themselves.  The writers can never quite get their voices right.  Vader is a man of few words, and when he speaks, you listen.  Gillen nails that, and I can almost hear James Earl Jones booming voice in the dialog.  Also, the artists usually screw up the helmet and make him look derpy.  Salvador Larocca couldn’t do a better job, though.  I highly recommend Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 1 to any Star Wars fan.

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