So far this series has proven to be most interesting; I’ve always wanted to know more about Vader in the years he was at his most fearsome. Between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back there is a profound change in his disposition, as he moves from being the Emperor’s fist to having his own agenda in the search for a certain Skywalker. With the Marvel comics canon I wanted to see if they could bring anything interesting to the character.
With issue six the story is in full swing, Vader having gathered his own allies as he sets out on his own agenda. But with the blame for the Death Star’s destruction laid firmly on his shoulders he finds himself tested by those vying for his master’s attention. It’s the way of the Sith to challenge your master, and Vader knows he isn’t what the Emperor originally wanted. They’re relationship is a twisted one, and writer Kieron Gillen proves he has a thorough understanding of it.
The stiff art provides the odd cool image but leaves the fights stilted. Flashbacks unwisely draw a level of scrutiny due to them recreating moments from the films. On the plus side the designs of the foes Vader faces builds on ideas we’ve seen elsewhere in the Star Wars universe, and despite his static expression Vader always conveys his feelings clearly.
For such a stoic character Vader turns out to be well worth following. The story hasn’t fallen into the trap of making him sympathetic. That’s for another time. For now Vader is being Vader, and that’s very cool.