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.
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 →
Only a few items of note this week, so let’s get to them!
OMAR JOINS HAN
Michael Kenneth Williams, perhaps best known as Omar on The Wire, has joined the as-yet-untitled Han Solo spinoff film! That’s literally all we know; no character hints whatsoever. Seems like LFL is at least starting to get the “wow, that’s a lot of white folks” memo, though. Faster than Marvel is, at any rate. (Source)
Darth Vader #24 goes by fast. And I mean really fast.
Look, there’s nothing that you can’t see coming in this issue. Or at least the general ideas of it. No wait, I take that back. The last page made me go “Oh snaaaaaaaaaaap” and then made me cranky that I don’t have Issue #25 in my hands right now. If you think I’m going to spoil that ending for you here though… boy oh boy are you looking at the wrong review.
One of the best things about Kieron Gillen’s work on this book has been how he hasn’t shied away from the Prequels. It’s news to no one that the Prequels are controversial and there is a subset of fans who enjoy yelling about how bad they are and how they should be ignored. Delightfully, Gillen does the opposite and godamn it could not be clearer that Darth Vader definitely used to be Anakin Skywalker and still is at his core. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t still be haunted by the memories of Obi-Wan and Padmé. Despite those internal struggles, Darth Vader is still a force to be reckoned with. Cylo may have activated the kill switch in the suit but it is a gesture that is insignificant against the power of the Force.
There’s not much more to say here. Again, it’s a good issue that is a very fast read. Salvador Larroca does some neat stuff with a page full of lightsaber dueling but beside that… everything’s leading up to the final issue. Everything. How can we possibly wait patiently for that last issue when we know SO MUCH IS GOING TO GO DOWN?
Darth Vader #24: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Salvador Larroca/Artist, Edgar Delgado/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
Do you know what I love about this Darth Vader book? Kieron Gillen never fails to surprise me. He doesn’t surprise me with how Vader always survives no matter what anyone throws at him. Obviously that’s a given. No, how Gillen surprises me is with what he throws at Vader and that’s truly the joy of this book. (Okay, it’s the second biggest joy of the book. Obviously Aphra and the Murder Bots are the biggest joy.) What’s that saying? It’s not about the destination but rather the journey? It’s perhaps the most apt way I can think of to describe this current Darth Vader arc. We as readers know that Cylo’s attempts to stop Vader are going to fail no matter how many arrogant idiots he throws at him but the payoff… oh man the payoff.
If the ending of this issue doesn’t get people talking, I don’t know what will.
One of the things I’ll definitely miss about this book is when Gillen figuratively steps back and lets Larroca have at it for an entire page or, even better, a full spread. I could stare at the ships and beautifully colored space background pages for ages. Bonus points if the aforementioned page also includes Vader because daaaaaaang.
Aphra Watch 2016: Got to breath easy for one (1) issue
Do you really need to ask if this book gets a strong recommendation from me?
Darth Vader #23: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Salvador Larroca/Artist, Edgar Delgado/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
Aphra Watch 2016: Still not dead. Also still smarter than you.
Darth Vader #22 picks up right where Issue #21 left off: with Vader facing off against a cyberanimate rancor. Oh and it all happens on a whale-ship. Honestly, that tells you everything you should need to know about this book because Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca make some crazy magic happen. Science is nothing compared to the power of the Force and the force that is Darth Vader.
Cylo, on the other hand, is proving more resourceful and perhaps a little bit smarter than I’d given him credit for. He’s making very strong forward moves in the ‘take down Emperor and Vader’ direction even if we all know it won’t end well. It’s just a matter of how many other people he can take with him.
In a continuing ode to Doctor Aphra… we may not get very much of her in this issue but what we do get reinforces that she’s still alive (despite working for Vader) because of how damn smart she is and how fast she can think on her feet. Whether it pans out remains to be seen but it’s incredibly awesome to see such a capable woman not just wait around to be rescued… she does something about it.
As a part of the aptly named End of Games arc, Darth Vader #22 continues to raise the stakes and will keep readers on the edge of their seat as we march towards the end of this exciting book.
Darth Vader #22: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Salvador Larroca/Artist, Edgar Delgado/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
Want to know how to end a comic book issue? Read Darth Vader #21 because this one definitely got an ‘OH SNAP’ from me. We’re in the final days now of this awesome run by the Vader team and I suspect that very bad things are going to be happening. But first! Dr. Aphra is back!
It’s been fun reading about the adventures of Aphra, Sana, and Leia over in the main Star Wars book but I’m glad to see her returned to the pages of Darth Vader. It’s felt like something was missing the last few issues even though she was never forgotten in the story. Even when she’s clearly feeling less than her best, there’s something about Aphra that just makes her pop off the page. Don’t get me wrong: I’m still very worried about her surviving but it just feels right to have her around again.
On the flip side, we have Vader (I mean, I guess it’s technically his book) who is 100% done and ready to just crush Cylo and move on to better things. In this issue, we get both the ruthless Vader and the one who can outfly almost anyone. The latter is a tricky thing to convey in comics since you’re restricted to unmoving images but Larroca makes it work. If you ask me, Cylo is handling Vader coming after him all too calmly. Even if we didn’t know that Vader and the Emperor survive, those are not two people I would want to tick off on a personal level.
Oh the Larroca/Delgado artwork for the nebula? Drop dead gorgeous. I’d kill to see more pages with it. (And the space whale-shark-abomination thingys. Can’t forget them.)
Darth Vader #21: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Salvador Larroca/Artist, Edgar Delgado/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
Warning: This column involves spoilers for Star Wars: Bloodline
While aptly named, Star Wars: Bloodline could have just as easily been titled Star Wars: Legacy because when it comes to both of those, Leia Organa has more than enough on her shoulders. One she embraces and one she tries to ignore. After all, if your father was Darth Vader, wouldn’t you try and forget that too? Unfortunately, nothing stays buried. As Leia and Ransolm team up to get to the bottom of the ever-deepening mystery of Rinnrivin’s cartel, Leia is forced to confront the legacies of her fathers whether she wants to or not. Continue reading →
The Emperor will see you now… if you’re Darth Vader. Everyone else must leave. Darth Vader #20 by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca brings plot threads from the last 20 issues all together in a satisfying conclusion without putting a pretty little bow on everything. After all, Dr. Aphra’s still missing in action and Vader wants her found… one way or the other. I continue to be very concerned about her.
The highlight of this issue isn’t actually part of the main story but rather a short back up story by Kieron Gillen with art by Mike Norton titled “The Misadventures of Triple-Zero and BeeTee.” It is ridiculously fun and twisted in a way that only a story about the murderbots could be. Is there anything more gleeful than watching Triple Zero and BeeTee get to do what they do best? Dare I say it… I think I may have enjoyed it more than the main story and I never turn down a chance to listen to Palpatine monologue about how his manipulative plan has worked exactly as he intended.
Speaking of which, Palpatine’s ability to manipulate this apprentice is disturbing to say the least. At some points, he’s not even manipulating so much as blatantly using him. Palpatine wants to revel in ruling the galaxy and having absolute power and he can only be honest about the particulars with a select few. Playing these sorts of games with Vader are reminders to himself that he is in control. Or at least that’s what he thinks.
I’m curious to see where the book goes from here. At the very least, I suspect that Tagge’s going to be in some trouble. After all, that decidedly not trashy Super Star Destroyer ends up being Vader’s flagship and not his. Is anyone but Vader safe in this book? (No. The answer is no.)
It’s ever so nice when you read the last issue of an arc, flip the book closed, smile to yourself, and say “That was everything I hoped for.” That’s exactly what I did when I finished Darth Vader #19 by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca. When Gillen first introduced Queen Trios (then Princess Trios) in the Darth Vader Annual, this was exactly the sort of story I was hoping we would see. (What can I say: I’m a sucker for the Star Wars royals.) Marvel has absolutely delivered.