Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 1 – Comic Book Review

When Disney bought both Marvel and Lucasfilm, it was only a matter of time before Star Wars comics started to hit shelves under the Marvel banner.  The only question was, would these new comics be good and would they be good enough to help heal the loss of all pre-Disney buyout Star Wars cannon? After finishing my first foray into the new cannon comics, I absolutely think they are. 

“Darth Vader” follows the titular character as he deals with the fallout from the destruction of the first Death Star.  To put it simply, the Emporer is pissed and pissed at Vader specifically.  And that is where this book shines.  The way the relationship between Master and Apprentice in “Darth Vader Vol.1” is presented is absolutely astounding and the best thing Star Wars related I’ve read in a while.

Throughout this volume, the Emporer berates Vader, constantly belittles him, and forces Vader to continually prove himself as a worthy apprentice.  The Emporer even makes a jab at Vader when he sends him to Tattoine on a mission, making Vader relive past hurts at the sick pleasure of the Emporer.   

In the movies, we never get any real take on the relationship between Palpatine and Anakin after Anakin has turned.  Most of what we see is Palpatine’s manipulation of a young, head strong boy turning him to the Dark Side and we get very little of Palpatine emotionally manipulating his new apprentice (past him lying about Padme’s death at the end if Episode III). This volume expertly serves to inform the audience about their relationship and gives added context to it when rewatching the movies.

The writer, Kieron Gillen, also does a great job of humanizing Vader and makes us feel for him as he deals with the Emporer and as he remembers things about his past throughout the book. The best villains are always the ones we can sympathize with and feel for even as they do dispicable things.  That’s why Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Kingpin in Netflix’s “Daredevil” Season 1 work so well, we get to see the shreds of humanity left in them and see why they are the way they are and that’s what we get for Vader here.

Sometimes comic book artwork can be a crap shoot, especially when adapting live action characters but that is no where near the case this time, Salvador Larroca’s artwork brings life to the pages here.  I remember Larroca’s art from way back in the “X-Treme X-Men” days and he hasn’t lost a step.  

If you’re a Star Wars fan you should read this comic. If you’re a comic fan, you should read this Star Wars book.  Even if you really don’t fall into either category, this book is accessible to casual Star Wars fans, you don’t have to be knowledgeable of the expanded universe to enjoy it. There are also many other surprises in “Darth Vader Vol. 1” that I haven’t touched on here. Seriously, hit up your local comic book shop and get this book. I can’t recommend it enough!

I will definitely be picking up Vol. 2 shortly and will write a review when I do!

Until next time, Thank You for reading and 

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!