Dennis ‘Hopeless’ Hallum has been showing us that Star Wars stories can be a little bit different with Vader: Dark Visions. In the second issue, you might be surprised by how little Darth Vader shows up and yet he’s felt throughout the issue. Chilling stuff.
So what’s it about?
Read the preview.
Why does this matter?
This is an anthology style comic in that each issue is a different story and unrelated from the last. In the last issue, we got to see Darth Vader conquer a kaiju, which is no small feat. The power of Darth Vader runs deep and in this next chapter, Hallum shows us a different kind of power Darth Vader can exhibit.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue is drawn by Brian Level with colors by Jordan Boyd and letters by Joe Caramagna. What immediately stands out is the layout design, which takes framing to a new level. The frames come together nicely, drawing your eye down or up to intense energy or a pinched feeling on a character. It’s a clever way to make each page a work of art, too. Like in one page, the frames build towards a Star Destroyer in their outside outline. I highly recommend you hold the comic a little further than usual and take in what Level has done here. The art inside the panels is great too. It’s intense, with spaceship dog fights, aliens, and intense emotion shining through.
The story here is very well crafted and I say this because of how little Vader is in the book, but he’s always felt. In a quick flashback, Hallum shows us the true terror the character can bring to a high ranking officer in the Empire. That fear and PTSD he exhibits on others is long-lasting and never forgotten. The bigger message of the story is about the fear Vader brings to others and it is strongly felt. One could argue managing by fear may not always be the best method based on this story, but it sure has an effect on others.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
My only gripe is how the main character gets comically angry at times. The way he’s depicted is straight out of an over-the-top anime. Mix this with the task at hand and it’s a tad ridiculous how his determination only rises even though he’s a high ranking official. The Empire seriously needs to get a better recruiting department!
Is it good?
A highly effective second issue that serves as a lesson in how to tell a great story without requiring a complicated back story, canon, or overly thought out plots. It’s high octane Star Wars entertainment — can Darth Vader fans really ask for more?