Anyone looking for Star Wars stories that take place in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope should be commanded to read Dark Horse comics. With this series, along with Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin there are some compelling stories taking place that are playing around with Vader’s psychosis after just becoming the Sith Lord. Love or hate the prequels, we must ask ourselves of this tie-in…well…is it good?

Star Wars: Dark Times –  A Spark Remains Part 1 (Dark Horse Comics)

Dark Horse published a summary of this issue that reads thusly:

Reunited with the ragtag crew of the Uhumele, Jedi Dass Jennir is surprised to find them plotting with another Jedi to take down the iron fist of the new Galactic Empire—Darth Vader himself! Having only just found love and a reason to live, Jennir is reluctant to join—but their plan may be too good to pass up.

If this means anything to you then you’re way ahead of me as far as understand what is going on in this comic. I vaguely remember reading about Jennir a year or more ago, but since then I haven’t been reading this storyline. That isn’t to say this comic will require a knowledge of previous events, but let’s just say without knowing a thing you might feel out of the loop while reading this issue.

The whores from a galaxy far far away…

We learn in this issue that Darth Vader stops at nothing to kill Jedi and our hero Jennir wants to do something about that. He has a ragtag group of aliens to work with, but is also in love. As we all know, when a Jedi falls in love bad things happen.

If you don’t hum the Empire music with this image you aren’t a fan.

A lot of this issue spends its time with Jennir’s group, which is why I felt so left out. Writer Randy Stradley does a good job differentiating the characters, but there isn’t much of an introduction to them. It’s inferred that you read the previous issues, which is fair enough to ask of the reader, but anyone going in blind might not get as much enjoyment out of this without reading the previous issues.

Fly like a bird Darth. FLY!

Who are these people?!

Artist Douglas Wheatley does an impeccable job with settings and facial expressions. Everything is in high detail and I was never confused while reading this issue. One particular sequence involves Vader and a troop of stormtroopers getting gasoline dropped on them and a match being flung out. Wheatley captures the explosion and chaos by smash-cutting a mile away from the binoculars of an empire general. This is one example of Wheatley doing a good job in telling the story. Note the smaller frames as the match is light and flung out. This slows the reader down with the anticipation, and then to cut to the binoculars only increases reaction to the anticipation. With the explosion happening so far away the reader can only guess, and use their own imagination, to see what happened.

Click, click, BOOM!


  • Pretty and exciting art
  • The potential storyline being set up a strong one
  • Anyone unfamiliar with the characters may need to steer clear

The story of Jennir and his lover should have important ramifications once Vader reaches him. That is what I’m excited for, but the story is being unveiled for a different reader, one who has grown attached to the cast of characters and has a good sense of what has come before it. That reader isn’t me. I can still appreciate this issue though and it wasn’t a total loss for me. I think anyone going in fresh might have the same trouble I had, but a couple issues in should rectify this as there’s a top notch comic to be read here.

Is It Good?

Almost. Newbies beware, but in a couple issues, sticking with it now, you should enjoy it as much as the dedicated readers.

  • Dec

    Here’s an idea: actually READ the past story arcs of ‘Dark Times’. Don’t just jump on the 7th series and say: “but the story is being unveiled for a different reader, one who has grown attached to the cast of characters and has a good sense of what has come before it. That reader isn’t me.” Well, yeah. It HAS been unveiled for a different reader. A reader who’s read the whole saga of DT’s. If you want to get ‘attached’ to the characters you’ve only just started reading, in ONE comic issue, actually READ the past issues.

    It just pisses me off when people complain that they cant get attached to characters that have been long established -in DT’S case since 2007- when they decide to jump on board when the format of fiction that is well underway and character development is at a point where the reader knows the character well.

    I just hate this “The perfect jumping on point for new fans!” bs.
    Fact: the above is just marketing bull shit.

    Look, I have no problem if you don’t have the inclination or money to buy and read the past story arcs. Or anyone for that matter. Just don’t make an illogical criticism reading what is the seventh series of DT’s saying ‘there isn’t much introduction to the characters’. Well yeah, because they were already introduced in the past story arcs. The story is not being unveiled for a different reader. Its for people that have read it from the beginning.

    I mean its like someone saying “Halo 3, the perfect jumping on point to the Halo universe!”

    Anyway, this is going to be the last DT’s. So I think people that have read it from the beginning will enjoy and appreciate it more.

    • David Brooke

      I don’t agree. Plenty of books are released every month that have continuous stories yet are written so that new readers can enjoy them without reading the previous issues.

      I think there’s some marketing bullshit going on with this very issue too. Why slap a #1 on an issue but make it contingent on reading previous books? I believe the #1 is a marketing ploy to pull in new readers, but then they’ll find themselves confused won’t they?

      It would have been easy to read the previous books, but I decided to review this going in blind as many readers will do the same, so the review takes that slant on purpose. It was a conscience decision to aid the new reader and I think I made that point clear.

      Either way, I appreciate the feedback.

      • Dec

        Yeah, I agree DH putting a #1 on the cover is a bit misleading. And could it could very well be a marketing ploy. Personally I don’t like it when comics do that. But at the end of the day, looking past the clear attempt to draw new readers in, existing readers that have read the particular fiction from the outset are the core demographic.

        I just cant buy, or believe, the notion that DH are exclusively making this new final arc for new readers. They’re making it ACCSESSIBLE for new readers sure. But at the end of it, its a richer story if you’ve read the previous arcs.

        I mean if people did they’re research or were at least aware there were past DT’s story arcs before this current/final one, and saw through the marketing influence by putting a #1 on the cover of what is actually the 28th issue, wouldn’t they want to read at least some of the past issues?
        Why (if your aware) start reading a comic series that’s in its final arc?

        Its like someone jumping into the NJO book series on the second to last book. It makes little sense.
        Anyway, rant over.
        Just wanted to put my opinion out there.

        • David Brooke

          This is the internet, how many people actually do their own research before complaining! lol. I reviewed it with the majority of readers in mind who won’t be aware they should read the previous issues.

          I still liked the issue, a 7 isn’t bad, and I do make the point in the review you should read the previous. By no means am I saying the series as a whole is bad or anything like that. I’m just pointing out, if you are uninformed, you won’t love this ride.

          If the comic was numbered #28 I don’t think I would have even had the idea to review it as someone going in blind now that I think of it.

          Anyhoo, thanks for the comment!

  • darktimesfan

    I agree that slapping #1 on this issue is a pretty bad marketing ploy by DH, but I highly recommend reading all Dark Times issues before reviewing any of the next issues. I am reading that series from the start, and personally I can’t imagine how I would get to like the characters if I jumped in the middle of the series. So much has happened to them in previous issues. Thanks!