When Disney bought the rights to Lucasfilm, comic fans knew that it was just a matter of time before publishing rights would switch from Dark Horse Comics to Marvel. Now the wait is over. The Darth Vader title is the second of the initial three titles that were announced by Marvel, the first being Star Wars and the third being Princess Leia.
Darth Vader has always been one of the most iconic villains in cinema history, but would that transfer over to writer Keiron Gillen’s Darth Vader title? The answer is an overwhelming; Yes! The comic opens up like all the films in the Saga with a cool title shot followed by a page of scroll describing what has taken place thus far. I really hope they keep this tradition up throughout their books and not just for the first issues.
Where Darth Vader #1 excels the most is in the tone that the book establishes. With the beautiful artwork of Salvador Larroca and colors by Edgar Delgado, the figure of Vader has never appeared so ominous. The audience quickly gets to see that this is essentially one very angry man hell bent on revenge, even when approaching supposed “allies”.
When arriving in Jabba’s Palace, Vader encounters many familiar denizens of Tattooine including the presence of 4, possibly 5 of the famous bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back. This is the one thing that really bugged me about the book. It may seem like nit picking but in the classic film the audience is eluded to the fact that these are the six greatest bounty hunters in the known Galaxy. Now that we see the majority of them hanging out in the same room at Jabba’s Palace, it makes their appearance in ESB somewhat diminished. So the six best bounty hunters can now possibly be construed as the 6 closest, which kind of sucks.
The other aspect that I found to be different from the on screen counterpart is the relationship between the Emperor and Vader. I for one, think there was a little more anger about the destruction of the Death Star. Not really sure how I feel about a simple discussion and the “You’re to blame!” approach. Gillen’s writing was solid until the introduction of Boba Fett and a Wookiee assassin. After reading it several times I was still left confused about their purpose. Again this is merely nitpicking though.
Overall Darth Vader #1 was a solid and entertaining read. It even got me wondering whether Obi-Wan brought Luke aboard the Death Star for Vader to realize he had a son. That never really dawned on me during my 400+ views of the film. A comic that can get me thinking differently about the films is a game changer in my books. The end scene even gave us a reference to the prequel trilogy and how Darth Vader never forgot or forgave those responsible for his mother’s death. The writing team even made mention of the incident from Star Wars #1, not making it a mandatory read but it was fun to be included on the reference. The fact that these books seem to intermingle with each other will give the Galaxy an opportunity for massive story arcs, which I for one am very excited for.
In conclusion, Gillen wrote Darth Vader right. Forget the slave boy from Tattooine and concentrate on the bad guy with armor. If the team sticks on the path they created in issue #1 then this book is just going to get that much better.