COMIC OF THE WEEK

THIS WEEK’S FINEST — DARTH VADER #1

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Don’t even ask when I last wrote an article that wasn’t related to Star Wars because I couldn’t tell you. Sometimes I forget that this site isn’t called Nothing But Star Wars. But here’s the thing, Marvel is doing this franchise very, very right.

Back when the three Marvel Star Wars series (Star Wars, Darth Vader, and Princess Leia) were announced, this was the series I was most mixed on. Now, I’ve always liked villains, and I especially like Star Wars villains, but I wasn’t so sure about the creative team. I knew the Jason Aaron/John Cassaday series was a must buy and the Leia book had a strong team with Mark Waid and Terry Dodson, but Kieron Gillen is hit (Wicked + Divine) or miss (X-Men) and I was unfamiliar with Salvador Larroca’s art. However, that cover (by Adi Granov) looked way too cool to pass on. Needless to say, my expectations were low.

 

No matter where my excitement began, I judge on where it is when I finish an issue. I couldn’t have been more pleased with how this book turned out!

Issue one opens with Darth Vader entering Jabba’s Palace on Tatooine. Immediately the reader is bitch slapped with the gloved fist of nostalgia as we see the twin suns setting in the horizon. Taking out two Gammorean guards, Vader orders a sniveling Bib Fortuna (that ugly ass Twi’lek with the sharp teeth from the movies) to get him in to see the big slug himself. Vader may not be the most agile force user, but he knows how to wield his menacing presence. And he is not afraid to tap into the force to squeeze Jabba’s fat neck. (Hey, at least he is wearing more clothing than the next person to choke the Hutt.)

I’ve read that some people find Larroca’s art to be far too stiff (the same can also be said for Cassaday), but I really didn’t find it to be a problem here. In fact, the rigidness of Vader worked really, really well.

However, after building up Darth Vader’s badassery for the first fourteen pages, we cut to Coruscant where he gets ripped a new one by Uncle Palpy. The Dark Lord is none too happy with Vader’s handling of the Death Star. It is revealed that it was the man in black who allowed the Bothans to escape with the blueprints to begin with, and he planned to track the goats back to the Rebel base via the locator device they planted. Seems that work about as well as the botched “Fast and Furious” gun debacle. Darth Vader is now forced to answer to Imperial officers while he attempts to gain back his master’s trust. If Vader didn’t lose his testicles in the magma on Mustafar, Palpatine sure as hell has them sealed in a jar he keeps visible on his Imperial Palace office desk.

Also mentioned is the mayhem on Cymoon I, which was depicted in the first two issues of Aaron and Cassaday’s Star Wars. One of the main problems with the original Star Wars EU was that there were times with the universe did not seem to be a cohesive whole. Some writers would come in, allude to the movies, and not give a damn about the rest of the Legends canon. When the EU was done away with, those in charge of the creative department promised we would see a single universe that reacted to the stories pumped into it. So far, they seem to be holding to their promise. (Note: While Darth Vader alludes to Star Wars, one need not read both piece to enjoy the story.)

The issue ends with Vader hiring two bounty hunters. One has become a cultural icon for the profession while the other is new for this series–meaning he will probably die. The icon, of course, is Boba Fett. Clad in this iconic Mandalorian armor with backpack jets, Fett his sent to track down Luke Skywalker who was last seen taking off in the Millennium Falcon. Vader wants him brought back alive. He knows something is up with the moisture farmer turned Jedi, and he wants to get to the bottom of it. Perhaps we will learn how Vader figures out the connection between them, which leads one of the greatest plot twists of all time. The second bounty hunter, Black Krrsantan, the ebony-furred Wookiee, is tasked with finding out what’s up with Palpatine’s weird part human part Rodian pal. Looks like someone has a case of the jealous jitters.

Don’t worry Vader, your master only has eyes for you, just as I had eyes for this fantastic issue. Here’s to more amazing issues from the galaxy far, far away!