Comic Name: Star Wars: Darth Vader
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
# of Issues: 6
Release Date: 2015
Reprints Star Wars: Darth Vader #1-6 (April 2015-August 2015). The Death Star has been destroyed by Rebels, and the attack has taken a toll on the Empire. Unable to show weakness, the Emperor has moved ahead with his plans, and Vader is his main agent…or is he? As Vader seeks answers to the mysterious boy being trained by Obi-Wan, he recruits bounty hunters to track the answers down as he tries to determine what the Emperor is planning.
Written by Kieron Gillen and illustrated by Salvador Larroca, Star Wars: Darth Vader Volume 1: Vader is part of Marvel Comics’ relaunch of the Marvel line. The series runs in tandem with the Marvel’s Star Wars (Volume 2) series and crosses over with events in Star Wars Volume 1: Skywalker Strikes. A hardcover version of the series collected Star Wars: Darth Vader #1-12.
For years Star Wars was at Dark Horse and things were rather by the book. While some of Dark Horse’s series were good, others felt like very generic science fiction and simply existing for existing sake. With the sale of LucasArts to Disney and the turning over of Star Wars to Marvel, the Star Wars series was rejuvenated and most saw Star Wars: Darth Vader as the best of the titles.
Darth Vader is a larger than life character and writing him has to be hard just due to the anticipation of fans. The character cannot alter the lackluster prequels which featured Vader as Anakin nor can it forget the imposing force of Vader in the original trilogy. Here, Kieron Gillen goes for a nice blend of the two characters with some insight into Vader’s thought process, but allowing him to still be the bad guy (in general). It is kind of like a comic book version of House of Cards.
The other strange addition to this series is a sidekick for Vader. Vader is a real heavy and this series sees to lighten him up with Aphra and her psychotic droids O-O-O and BT-1. It seems like a weird pairing of the two, but the series did need something to lighten the mood much like C-3PO and R2-D2 did for the Star Wars series (or at least the original trilogy). It remains to be seen if Aphra will be a joy or an irritating liability like having Jubilee hang around Wolverine.
I do enjoy the new relaunch of Star Wars and both Star Wars and Star Wars: Darth Vader are very solid reads. The two series work well together while some of Marvel’s other Star Wars series (like Kanan and Princess Leia) don’t necessarily work as well because they do feel more like the Dark Horse books. Star Wars: Darth Vader 1: Vader is followed by Star Wars: Darth Vader 2: Shadows and Secrets.