Darth Vader vs. Grand Moff Tarkin, who ya got?
Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin do not like each other. That is a truth plain to see whenever they are on screen together. Star Wars: Rogue One continues that trend and it’s evident in the comic books too. In this latest one-shot story writer Charles Soule proposes Darth Vader vs. Tarkin!
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
It is time for GRAND MOFF TARKIN to repay a long-standing debt to DARTH VADER… …and settling what is owed will require every last bit of his cunning, and will cost more than he ever imagined. Rated T
Why does this matter?
We all know Darth Vader is a killing machine, but how well do we know Tarkin as a tactician and expert strategist? Get a taste in this issue.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue is very good at keeping you guessing. By opening with Tarkin in camp and thinking about the mission at hand Soule gives the reader the impression Darth Vader is no longer in the good graces of the Empire. He’s being hunted by Tarkin and we don’t know why. As the story progresses you see Darth Vader take out every one of Tarkin’s perfectly chosen men and the battle between these two is exceptional. Why are they fighting and why would Palpatine allow this? Tarkin clearly hates Vader, but this seems extreme. All good questions answered in time.
As Tarkin puts it the most essential weapon is a plan and we see that revealed quite clearly. I’ve loved how Soule reveals how smart Tarkin is over the Darth Vader stories since it gives the character much more weight than just a simpleton who barks out orders. He’s in his position, and above Darth Vader in Star Wars: A New Hope because he’s so damn smart. The variety of ways he plans and plots against Darth Vader in this issue are proof of that.
Giuseppe Camuncoli draws this issue as he has the previous chapters and continues to do a great job. His work has a unique style that’s detailed but not photorealistic. It allows aliens to be believable and the characters to seem somewhat otherworldly. Vader is drawn exceptionally well and I always marvel at how well Camuncoli draws expressions through the mask even if that is impossible if recorded on film. Two sequences test Darth Vader so as to see how he’d combat tactics designed for a Sith and they are blocked well so they are clear and entertaining.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The ending pushes these characters to a point that is rather unbelievable. I don’t want to spoil it, but Darth Vader lives through something that makes him almost god-like. In a way this story reveals how strong he is, but he loses a bit of his humanity in the process. Maybe that’s on purpose since he is like a monster, but this series also strives to reveal the human inside. Can you have both? I’m not sure.
Is it good?
A good one-shot issue any Darth Vader fan can love. It tests Darth Vader in ways that reveal new things about the Force. Tarkin and Darth Vader have a highly entertaining relationship and it’s explored very well in this issue.