Review: Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows

It’s another Vader graphic novel as the collected edition of Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows hits shelves today.  Tim Siedell on script and Gabriel Guzman on art take us on another galactic adventure with the newly named Dark Lord of the Sith… or do they?

Darth Vader’s rampage across the galaxy after the fall of the Republic continues as he seeks out the remaining Jedi and rebels to destroy them.  It’s through the eyes of a deserter clone trooper returned to the fold that we some of this as he comes to serve as one of Vader’s most trusted stormtroopers.

This limited series left me with very mixed feelings.  On the one hand, I found it to be more enjoyable than the previous installment in the ‘Darth Vader and the—‘ series.  On the other, I just couldn’t get on board with a lot of the plot progression.  We’ll start with the good things first though because there are things to like here.  Tim Siedell did a good job with the storytelling method of mostly using narration via Hock (the aforementioned clone/stormtrooper).  It works better than it probably has any right to over the course of a five issue limited series although I suspect this works better in a collected edition than in the single issues.  Gabriel Guzman’s artwork is also a strong point for the book.  It’s a style that I can only describe as being halfway between the typical Star Wars comic style and that of the artists on the current Legacy book and I absolutely mean that as a compliment.

My problems with the book mostly extend from various plot points.  For starters, I had a hard time getting past this line: “I had only known of one other clone who gave himself a name.”  It’s possible that Siedell meant this literally but I took it more broadly especially since no other clones are named during the book.  This is just… incorrect.  Clone troopers have been given names for just about… always.  Heck, we even have Commander Cody in the Revenge of the Sith film.  Having the one-other-clone just be a clone who went crazy would’ve been more effective and just make more sense overall.  Another plot point I had trouble with is how Hock’s “reenlistment” in the army was just brushed over.  It seems that that should have taken up a few pages and yet the story went from him being a deserter on a backwater planet to being a member of the Empire’s army within mere panels.  It just doesn’t seem plausible to me and neither does the strange relationship that Hock has with Vader.  It just seems… a little too familiar and close.  There was something about it that didn’t sit right with me as a reader.

Regardless, the comic is still a decently interesting read.  It definitely left me musing on various aspects of it for a few hours afterwards but I can definitely say that I didn’t love it.  If you’re looking for a book that really focuses on Vader, this might fall into the skip pile for you.  If you’re looking for a different take on how others might have viewed Vader during the early days of the Empire, this is probably a good read for you.  As always though, if you’re interested enough in a comic book to consider buying it and giving it a read, I will encourage you to give it a try.

Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows gets a 3/5 from Tosche Station with a shaky and annotated recommendation.

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