Comic Book Review – Darth Vader #1 (Marvel Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: minor spoilers.

“In your rage you chose… a DIFFERENT path.” Emperor Palpatine

Marvel’s original Darth Vader series was considered one of the great successes of their new take on the franchise. Spotting a new series coming out today I figured I couldn’t pass up on it. I am planning more Indie reviews shortly but the comics I’m reading will take a little more than an evening to digest and review. Vader on the other hand felt like nice, familiar territory I could easily jump right into. This comic was bought to us by:

  • Writer – Charles Soule
  • Pencils – Giuseppe Camuncoli
  • Inks – Cam Smith
  • Colourist – David Curiel
  • Letterer – Joe Caramagna

This series picks up right at the moment Episode III ends. I’m sure we all remember that really cringe inducing ‘NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!’ Well we’re bought right back to that scene, right where Vader realises what he’s done and begins to process what this now means. Fortunately, George Lucas is not writing this and we have the talented Charles Soule, an experienced comic book writer having worked on Daredevil, Inhumans and Poe Dameron for Marvel. We see the development of the early stages of the master/pupil relationship between Darth Vader and the Emperor which looks to form the critical relationship and point of tension within the comic, especially with the Emperor’s ‘go out and get the hell on with it’ attitude. I’m expecting we’ll see more inner turmoil eventually from Vader, but that hasn’t reared its head just yet.

We’re also exposed for more Star Wars lore, with an introduction as to where Sith get their lightsabers and more of an understanding of their relationship to the force. It may have not been deliberate but I also couldn’t help but draw parallels between the portrayal the Empire’s propaganda and certain aspects of the current political climate (I’ll say not more for now before I begin ranting again…).

Art by Camuncoli, Smith, Curiel and Caramagna

As for the art – the most dominant presence on every page is Vader. As it should be. He is perhaps the most iconic villain in movie history and Camuncoli, Smith and Curiel have done him justice. I’m particularly impressed with Curiel’s use of colour, it is impressive what can be done to communicate a lot of expression through a black, movement-less helmet. One page in particular impressed me – Vader is drawn in one panel, towering above minor character below, the spacing of the panels and emphasis given to Vader’s makes his figure even more imposing, with clever use of proportions from Camuncoli and Curiel. I’m familiar with the work of Caramagna as well who puts in a lot for Marvel. His lettering cleverly kept to a minimum on the page to add to the effect. Finally, we’re treated to a little combat, although lightsaber-free Vader’s portrayal is one more of a force of nature than a regular villain.

Still, we may have one of the most iconic villains ever, but how do his hands look? They look good of course, however what stood out for me was the mini comic after the main issue. We’re presented with some comic relief with a scene where Vader is constantly interrupted by incompetent underlings, all drawn in a newspaper comic strip/early Simpsons style. Each of the character’s is only wielding four fingers in this and Vader does come off as kind of adorable when he’s grumpily pointing at someone with short, chubby fingers. 9.5/10 for hand drawing skills!

Final Verdict

Yeah, I’m hooked. You should be too. Go and buy this.

Score: 9.5 Black Lightsabers out of 10

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