One of the appeals of Darth Vader is the idea that he is not a lost cause. He may be pure evil, but deep down there is a good person in there even if it’s a sliver. It’s one of the elements that has been explored in the recent Marvel comics which is particularly interesting when explored in the story before A New Hope. It appears to be at the center of the latest story arc entitled “Fortress Vader,” which begins today.
So what’s it about?
Read our exclusive preview.
Why does this matter?
Charles Soule has been killing it on Star Wars comics in general and Vader is no exception. Aided by the detailed art of Giuseppe Camuncoli (who draws the layouts and Daniele Orlandini the finishes) the book has felt big time from the very start.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with the wonderful event of childbirth. How sweet. Cut to Darth Vader scowling in the doorway and all hell breaks loose. This is a chase issue with a healthy dose of lightsaber action and an interesting focus on Vader’s Inquisitor troops. They aid in the capture of the baby born from a Jedi, which also sparks a certain level of intrigue as to why our favorite Star Wars villain would want a baby at all. Soule allows one of his Inquisitors to get a moment to shine and this pays off with the cliffhanger. The issue has a lot of action and it’s quite efficient in developing the characters. You’ll feel for the Jedi who fights for his family’s life and begin to understand the Inquisitor who is given a bit more focus.
Lightsaber fight scene fans should buckle up because this issue has one of the best in the series so far. Often action scenes run on too long in comics but it’s quite exciting due to the art keeping your attention and constantly shifting to key us into the characters reactions or their violent replies. To heighten the tension of this fight sequence, Camuncoli and Orlandini use a nine-panel double page layout showing the lightsaber duel and the chase for the baby at the same time. Really, the tension and pacing of the action is done masterfully throughout the issue.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The issue ends in a weird place, forcing you to guess what could happen next. It’s a cliffhanger focused on Darth Vader’s reaction to something, but given his status with his Inquisitors, you’d think he wouldn’t react in a violent way. I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers, but a bit more clarity on where this could go would be helpful. As it stands it really could be a red herring ending that means nothing.
Is it good?
A good issue that masterfully cuts between lightsaber duels and an evil act of the Empire. This is a book that explores the deeper feelings of Darth Vader in the best of ways. It’s subtle, but always intriguing, reminding us he may be a villain, but there is purity still there even if it’s but a sliver.