Review: Darth Vader (2017) #9

Jocasta Nu is officially a bad ass.

Perhaps she’s not a match for the Grand Inquisitor in a lightsaber duel but she knows how to hold her own. While the Jedi Order seems fine with letting their Knights have their own areas of specialty, they definitely make sure that everyone knows how to fight. In this case, that’s a very good thing. This particular story arc in the Darth Vader comic is doing wonders not just for Jocasta Nu’s characterization but also the Grand Inquisitor’s. He doesn’t seem to be entirely at ease with taking orders from Vader yet… especially when they’re contrary to what he wants to do.

But Jocasta… Listen, this arc should be required reading for anyone who wants to reduce her down to a snarky sentence about her scene in Attack of the Clones. Jocasta didn’t have to return to the Jedi Temple and neither did she have to dedicate herself to trying to ensure the knowledge of the Order endures. It’s incredibly brave of her to return. At the same time, the arc shows her weakness: she can’t stand to see the books and knowledge that she cares so deeply about read and mistreated by someone with no right to them.

Camuncoli’s art continues to be delightful. I will admit to giggling a fair bit at the first page in which Vader stands in the back of a speeder while two others drive it with his cape billowing in the wind. Could he possibly be any more dramatic? (The answer is likely yes: this is the man who was once Anakin Skywalker, after all.)

Are you reading this book yet? You should be.

Darth Vader #9: Charles Soule/Writer, Giuseppe Camuncoli/Pencils, Daniele Orlandini/Inks, David Curiel/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Review: Darth Vader (2017) #8

Let’s start off where we really need to: the cover. This comic has been knocking it out of the park with covers but Giuseppe Camuncoli and Francesco Mattina have really outdone themselves this time. Just sell this as prints and I’m fairly sure I’ll buy twenty and give them to all of my Vader friends.

Darth Vader #8 continues the stories of Darth Vader in the early days of his Jedi hunting and Jocasta Nu as she attempts to retrieve something important from the Jedi archives. Vader is already adapting to being in Typical Vader form by choking officers. Meanwhile, the Grand Inquisitor isn’t treating the books of the Jedi Library with proper respect which is really irking the former Librarian who’s supposed to be on a clandestine mission. (What could possibly go wrong here?)

The real show stopper in the issue is a two-page spread inside Vader’s mind as he meditates. The art shifts in style just enough to show what it’s like in there. What makes this special though is the revelation that Vader doesn’t quite think that his lost limbs are a part of him and that he doesn’t feel them through the Force like he does the rest of his body. It’s an incredibly impactful page.

Jocasta Nu’s plot line is no snooze either. She’s on a mission that she thinks is definitely worth the risk. This comic has done more to characterize her and make her feel like a real person than her other appearances thus far. It’s hard not to appreciate someone who is willing to do whatever she has to in order to insure the continuation of the Jedi order.

The only thing that has me scratching my head is how quickly the Empire adapted the traditional Imperial uniforms. I wouldn’t have expected to see ISB tunics so quickly.

Bottom line? Darth Vader #8 is worth the price of admission for this gorgeous cover and a fantastic two-page spread alone but stay for Jocasta Nu being fantastic.

Darth Vader #8: Charles Soule/Writer, Giuseppe Camuncoli/Pencils, Daniele Orlandini/Inks, David Curiel/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Review: Darth Vader (2017) #7

Okay. Now we’re talking.

Most of the time, I tend to enjoy the first issue in a new story arc but it often doesn’t quite catch me until the inevitable cliffhanger at the end. Darth Vader #7 had me from page one. In a thus far fantastic run, this would have been my favorite issue so far if it hadn’t been for #5.

We start with Vader and his newly acquired Inquisitors who are in for some very unsympathetic training to say the least. It’s also entirely possible that, in his own twisted way, Vader thinks it’s only fair that these lesser dark siders have to pay at least some of the price that he did too. Actually, he sounds rather like Anakin at times when discussing this. It’s not long before Vader learns who his next Jedi target is: Jocasta Nu.

Let’s be real here: Jocasta isn’t the most respected Jedi either in or out of the universe. (Although sidebar: respect and appreciate your librarians, everyone!) To most fans, she’s just that line in Attack of the Clones about the planet not existing. Even Palpatine is simultaneously dismissive of her while also recognizing that she poses a threat. Knowledge my friends, is power. Honestly, she makes Yoda look like a lazy bum with everything she’s accomplished so far after the Jedi Purge. I desperately want to know the story of how she escaped and I can’t wait to see how she handles things in the next issue. She’s a delight thus far.

Another character who’s benefiting from this comic is the Grand Inquisitor. We only got one season with him in Rebels but his backstory and interest in knowledge is fascinating. I can’t help but think this’ll be an point of contention with either Vader or Palpatine further down the line.

Are you reading this Darth Vader comic yet? No? You really should be.

Darth Vader #7: Charles Soule/Writer, Giuseppe Camuncoli/Pencils, Daniele Orlandini/Inks, David Curiel/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Review: Darth Vader (2017) #6

It’s interesting how an issue with a ton of action can also be an issue where not much happens. The series so far has left Vader a little worse for the wear and honestly, he probably needs a few minutes where not much happens. (Too bad he doesn’t get much of one.)

This will be one of the spoiler filled reviews. Just a warning. Continue reading

Review: Darth Vader (2017) #5

Listen… it’s been a while since we’ve had a gif review and I had honestly retired the format but sometimes you get a comic issue where words don’t really do it.

 

Darth Vader #5 was just so good that I had to reread it immediately. That doesn’t happen often at all. Just… go read this issue. Even if (and I NEVER say this) you haven’t read the previous four issues. Please. You can thank me later.

Darth Vader #5: Charles Soule/Writer, Giuseppe Camuncoli/Pencils, Cam Smith/Inks, David Curiel/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Review: Darth Vader (2017) #4

Anakin Skywalker had no chill and it’s very clear that Darth Vader has no chill either. Are any of us surprised? We shouldn’t be. At the same time though, everything about Vader is a tragedy. (Darth Plagueis the Wise has nothing on him.)

The Revenge of the Sith novelization told us what it felt like to be Anakin Skywalker forever. The answer, as Darth Vader #4 reinforces for us, is not great. Actually, being Anakin/Vader is rather awful. This is the second time in days that he’s been almost completely broken. (The First Order has a Kylo tantrum budget. The Empire has a ‘Put Humpty Vader together again budget.) As I said before, this mission is part of the slow murder of Anakin Skywalker but it’s also the birth of someone else. The birth of something else. It’s mildly disturbing to say the least but impossible to look away.

Assorted Thoughts:

  • Are those Tholothians? If so, they may be the first non-black ones we’ve seen and the first male Tholothian
  • It sure is handy that Vader was a genius at mechanical things in his former life
  • Does that make him a mechanical genius now?
  • That was a very bad joke. I’ll stop.

If Soule goes where I think he’s going next issue… it’s going to be a rough one. Emotionally that is. But we knew that was bound to happen in this book, right? Badass with a side of emotional despair. Thanks, Vader.

Darth Vader #4: Charles Soule/Writer, Giuseppe Camuncoli/Pencils, Cam Smith/Inks, David Curiel/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Review: Darth Vader (2017) #3

Darth Vader’s hunt for a Jedi to murder for their lightsaber continues and it’s clear that Master Infil’a won’t go down without a fight… and it might be more than Vader can handle.

In a previous issue’s review, I called this book the slow murder of Anakin Skywalker and that still holds true here. The book is also the (and Vader would hate to hear this) spindly-legged fawn days of a Sith Lord. He’s in a body that’s mostly machine and he doesn’t have total mastery of the dark side yet. Contrast that with Master Infil’a who likely took the Barash Vow years ago and who has mostly spent his time training and… yeah. This isn’t the simplest fight. The Prequel Trilogy mentioned the Trials that a padawan would have to undergo in order to become a Jedi Knight. Regardless of whether Palpatine what Jedi Vader would find or not, these are definitely feeling like the Sith version of the Trials. (Only Vader will remain the Apprentice afterwards.)

For the most part, I like the artwork with its more traditionally comic book style. It’s something we’ve been missing in the Star Wars line up since Pepe Larraz’s work on Kanan. There’s something about Vader’s helmet that looks a little off but it’s a relatively mild complaint.

This new Darth Vader book continues to be intriguing as it asks just how much further can you break down the man who was Anakin Skywalker before there’s nothing left to continue on as Darth Vader. You should definitely pick this week’s issue up along with the previous two if you haven’t yet.

Darth Vader #3: Charles Soule/Writer, Giuseppe Camuncoli/Pencils, Cam Smith/Inks, David Curiel/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Review: Darth Vader (2017) #2

If you’re a big fan of all the clones… you may want to find yourself something to hug before reading this issue. Just saying.

In Darth Vader #2, Vader has his mission but is seemingly freer to define the parameters. This post-Revenge of the Sith story is a different take on the previously assumed aftermath of Order 66 where Vader immediately goes out to hunt down what’s left the of Jedi simply to slaughter them. Now he has a far more singular purpose: find a Jedi, kill them, and corrupt their kyber crystal. His plan? Go to a Jedi Outpost and utilize their still existing records to aide him in his search.

There’s something about this that feels far more personal than Vader hunting lots of Jedi. When he locates a target in the archives, it’s not someone he’s ever (or we the readers have ever) met before. It’s going to be a very deliberate mission and part of the slow, continuous murder of Anakin Skywalker. The slips back from Vader to Anakin are here within the issue if you’re paying attention even as his actions say that he’s trying to be everything that Anakin wasn’t.

I’m unsure whether Charles Soule intended for Vader’s little droid assistant to be snarky or not but I was certainly entertained. It’s one of the few things that can successfully speak up to the Sith and continue existing. It’s also interesting that the most we’ve seen Vader talk in the entire book so far has been to this droid. Gives more meaning to more machine now than man…

Unsurprisingly, Darth Vader #2 stays on target as we get closer and closer to Vader finding a Jedi and a kyber crystal for his lightsaber.

Darth Vader #2: Charles Soule/Writer, Giuseppe Camuncoli/Pencils, Cam Smith/Inks, David Curiel/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Review: Darth Vader (2017) #1

When this new Darth Vader book was first announced, I was admittedly dubious especially since it was arriving so (relatively) soon after Kieron Gillen’s fantastic run. However, the more I learned about the book, the more intrigued I was. Darth Vader #1 picks up immediately after the infamous “NOOOOO” in Revenge of the Sith. In other words, we’re going to see more of the transition from Anakin to Vader.

It shouldn’t be surprising given the characters in question but much of the dialogue in the book is given to Palpatine. In fact, Vader only speaks ten times and when he does, it’s for a reason and it’s effective. Just in this issue alone, the evolution of Vader is obvious. He feels far more like Anakin in the first half of the book than the second. It’s enough to make me wonder whether Vader’s tendency to speak infrequently started as a coping mechanism to deal with his new existence. If that’s true… I really shouldn’t be surprised that Charles Soule found a way to make the story of Vader even more tragic. Given that Vader’s now on a quest for a new lightsaber during which he’ll need to corrupt a kyber crystal, I forsee the book only getting darker.

The art duties for this book fall to Giuseppe Camuncoli who brings what feels like a more traditionally comic book feel to the book. It’s a welcome one though. Camuncoli’s pencils add a certain charm to what is otherwise a dark book without detracting from the feel.

And yes! Don’t worry: the issue does have a fun little droid tale in the back. This one stars a mouse droid.

Darth Vader #1 distinguishes itself right off the bat as its own series. The comparisons between this and the previous series are inevitably but to do so really is a disservice to both since they’re entirely different creatures. And this one? Definitely worth your time.

Darth Vader #1: Charles Soule/Writer, Giuseppe Camuncoli/Pencils, Cam Smith/Inks, David Curiel/David, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Celebration 2017: Interview with Charles Soule

He hasn’t gotten any less busy since the last time we chatted but Charles Soule was kind enough to sit down with me after the big Marvel panel at Star Wars Celebration last week. We talked about his relatively recently announced Darth Vader book and his continuing work on Poe Dameron including a very in depth look at today’s issue.

Warning! This interview contains spoilers for Poe Dameron #13 and I mean major spoilers. They are all in the back half of the interview so you can safely read until the first mention of the Poe book. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

via IGN.com

Bria for Tosche Station: So you still haven’t talked them into giving you a Palpatine book then? Just a Vader one?

Charles Soule: Yeah but a Vader book is by definition almost a Palpatine book at the same time. They’re still very, very intertwined. The story that I’m telling in the Vader book has Palpatine as the only point of connection that Vader has left anymore. He’s the only person he can turn to for any sort of advice or guidance. His physicality is completely different and completely changed. He has no anchor point except Palpatine, which Palpatine of course knows and realizes and uses to manipulate Vader further in the great tragedy that is Darth Vader’s life. Continue reading