We’ve never seen Darth Vader’s back to the ropes like he is in Marvel’s new Vader series, which creates quite a complex situation for a character usually in control. That’s compelling but how is the comic: is it good?
Darth Vader #3 (Marvel Comics)
Oddly sexualized pose there eh?
If you’re just joining us Darth Vader is on a mission to locate Luke Skywalker, but also to determine who the Emperor’s new main man is and eventually get back into the Emperor’s good graces. To do so Vader has gone semi-rogue in that the Emperor has no idea what he’s up to. Weird that he’d train Vader up to the point of being super powered yet the minute he messes up (okay letting the Death Star blow up was kind of a big deal) he casts him out. At least for the time being. Vader has Boba Fett and a Wookiee bounty hunter working for him and this latest issue fleshes out Vader’s plan with a character we’ve never seen before.
Kerion Gillen writes a well paced albeit semi-productive issue here. The book opens with Aphra, a raider of lost weaponry, as we witness her attempting to steal a microchip. In order to do she has to get around a laser grid and all. What is this Mission Impossible?! Luckily for her Darth Vader shows up to save her from imprisonment. This section takes up about half of the issue, which is quite a bit of real estate to be showing a new character in one action sequence. That makes this issue feel decompressed and it’s not getting any help from a slowly paced sequence between Vader and Aphra in the second half of the book.
That said, we do get more details on Darth Vader’s plan, at least why and what he needs from Aphra. There’s some oddly quiet starring moments from Darth Vader as he has nothing to say or is thinking back to things he did in the past. The panels are shots of Vader in his mask thinking. Because you can’t see his eyes or face it’s almost comical mostly because it’s hard to tell what he’s feeling. At one point for instance, Aphra makes a semi romantic comment towards Darth Vader and his stone cold reaction is odd to place. Is he feeling awkward too or just annoyed? Hard to tell.
There’s also the introduction of an evil version of C-3PO that’s comically brilliant. This is a nice addition and should add some humor that’s equally funny to the robot we all know and love, but of an opposite color. How can I forget Aphra who by all appearances is a pretty interesting character. In a way she’s as despicable as Han Solo with a little less heroism and about the same selfishness. She has some interesting bits of dialogue that flesh her out a bit and make you wonder about who she really is, but ultimately the issue doesn’t delve too deeply.
The art by Salvador Larroca is impressive as ever in the detail department. Characters look lifelike and his Vader is quite well done. Due to the pacing, and the nature of Larroca’s art, there is a lot of emptiness in his panels. The story doesn’t go very far and nor does the art. There are three pages of absolutely no dialogue and another three that have barely any. The pace of the script is dictating this of course, but the sparse art isn’t helping fill these pages with a ton of content. Instead it feels like the art is using a slower pace on purpose, but it cheapens the value of the overall read.
Is It Good?
A decent issue that slowly progresses the plot and introduces an interesting new character, but it’s so darn sparse you’ll be done reading in a few minutes and think about it thereafter for even less.