Marvel Comics has done a good job capturing Star Wars stories in the pre Empire Strikes Back era, but recently also in the prequel era of the films. Out today are two new one-shot stories both by Greg Pak focusing on two very different eras. In the Tarkin special Pak and artist Marc Laming probe the Grand Moff Tarkin character in three very specific times.
So what’s it about?
Read the preview.
Why does this matter?
Tarkin is a character well worth his salt in more stories. Charles Soule even wrote a fantastic one detailing the rocky relationship Vader and Tarkin have and when you consider Tarkin is higher ranked and technically more powerful (command-wise than Vader) you come to realize the man is a lot more special than you might think. Thanks to Rogue One we’ve gotten more from the character, but here we get to explore him more fully with his own adventure.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue does a good job fleshing out Tarkin and making him an edgier and tougher man than we might think. The films show a man who is ruthless and who puts the job before all else, but this comic begins to show why. In a key opening scene Pak and Laming (with colors by Jordan Boyd and Neeraj Menon) reveal Tarkin as a boy. His father is ruthless and seems to not care for his son’s well being. It’s a moment that lives with Tarkin into his adulthood and it is called back to more than once in the narrative. From there this issue explores the character and how he manages the Death Star. I won’t spoil what we get out of the issue but know it takes place post Rogue One when the Death Star is still in a testing phase. It doesn’t blow planets out of the star system with ease just yet.
That creates tension between Tarkin and his crew. Pak explores how Tarkin would prefer to lead, but also how he does. It’s interesting to see how the gentlemanly nature of the man comes through even though his base desire is to fight and tear insubordinate soldiers to shreds.
The art is quite, good capturing a scene very well from multiple angles and focusing on faces to get us into characters’ heads. Tarkin is an almost emotionless man, but you see the incredible rage inside him at key points very well. There’s an absolutely bonkers fight scene all Star Wars fans need to check out simply to see Tarkin in a whole new light. It’s badass and rendered well.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
As far as Star Wars one-shot comics go this is fantastic. It still doesn’t add a whole lot to the bigger picture, but ultimately these stories are giving us a slice of life look at characters. Thankfully this one adds to the character rather than many of the one-shots which moreso offer more time with them but nothing new.
Is it good?
A great Star Wars story revealing details about Tarkin, offering key moments in the timeline, and revealing much about the character. A must read Star Wars story.