I wasn’t too happy with the last issue of Darth Vader, but I’m always willing to stick around to see if things turn around. Do they in this issue, and is it good?
Darth Vader #9 (Marvel Comics)
This issue opens with the newly appointed detective Thanoth working for the Emperor to figure out what is going on with the Empire’s recent losses. The reader knows that it’s due to Darth Vader’s meddling, but he’s doing it to gain favor with the Emperor. This new character creates an interesting foil for Darth Vader as he’s not only hobbled and old, but without any powers to speak of. Instead he’s exceptionally smart which makes him all the more dangerous to Vader.
He’s a big guy.
Kieron Gillen writes a decent issue here, although I could do with less Darth Vader skulking around and more Darth Vader being a major badass. The introduction of Thanoth is compelling though, and Gillen does a good job weaving in subtle questions from Thanoth—and subtle moments of thought—to make the reader question if he’s onto Darth Vader or not. I suspect he is, but is Darth Vader smart enough to avoid being captured? He’s not considered a master tactician by any means and Gillen’s writing of Thanoth makes one wonder if Darth Vader has ever been more at risk than he is now. I’m not exactly sure what Vader is up to and it’ll be interesting to see how this little cat and mouse game plays out.
He even has a cane.
The issue does read quite slowly and seems to be setting up the pieces for a major turn of events later. Aphra appears for a few pages near the end of the issue and her sheer positivity can only mean bad things are coming. Her robot companions (the ones who love to torture people) continue to be a great source of humor in the comic.
I can’t say I’m enjoying Salvador Larroca’s art. Spaceships look great and Darth Vader himself looks fantastic, but all of these talking head scenes feel stuffy and stiff. Characters often look awkward and almost cut into scenes. Backgrounds meld into shots of characters in the foreground and the placement of characters seems odd too. It’s almost as if we’re looking through a lens where everything is equally in focus, which tends to give everything a blended look.
I love these robots.
Is It Good?
The plot thickens in this latest issue, and if you’re interested in character development of Darth Vader’s latest threat, read it. It still feels like a transition issue though, with nothing too exciting to jump out and scream, “buy me!”