Story: Dennis Hopeless Hallum
Art: Paolo Villanelli
Colors: Arif Prianto
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
What They Say:
WHO IS DARTH VADER? He has been many things: a SITH warrior, a commander, a destroyer. DARTH VADER is to many throughout the GALACTIC EMPIRE a symbol of fear and mysterious, otherworldly power. But there are some who have seen the DARK LORD in a different light. There are some corners of the galaxy so dark and desperate that even Vader can be a knight in shining armor.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
We’ve had a couple of really strong Darth Vader ongoing series and it still feels weird to not have a full ongoing out there now. Thankfully, this five-issue miniseries helps to provide more stories of everyone’s favorite Dark Lord of the Sith to expand on what we know of him, though it’s not without its own controversy in its creation. The book looks to be doing standalone tales for each of them as we get different visions of what Vader is to others and the opening installment has Paolo Villanelli handling the art duties, which is great as he’s put together an absolutely gorgeous book here that Arif Prianto has taken to another level with the color work. It’s wonderfully realized here with its detail, the layouts, and just the use of space in how Villanelli gets Vader to move that it’s pretty thrilling.
This tale puts us in a place where Vader is facing off in a battle with the Rebellion in the space over a world called Cinap. It’s a briefly shown battle, beautifully put together, where his ship is winged just enough that he has to take it down to the surface to enact some repairs, leaving the battle for his subordinates to finish and quickly. What we get, however, is the tale told through a young man who I believe is unnamed throughout it and spends almost all the dialogue through narration. This is a world that hasn’t quite died but is in slumber. There’s little left of the civilization that exists here and its inhabitants live underground, only coming up once in a while for supplies and some slumber in order to feel a part of the world. So, when the battle above becomes something much more personal because of Vader’s ship coming crashing down into it, it definitely shakes things up.
But this is mostly realized through a battle that Vader ends up fighting once he regains his footing. As it turns out, some large creature had crashed here itself some time ago which the locals have named Ender. It’s a giant beast that’s ferocious and ravenous, destroying all that it can get to. Vader’s arrival has woken it early and that sends the locals into a panic. Through the eyes of the young man who can’t look away from Vader and the kind of “black knight” that he represents, however, it becomes a battle with a hero against a monster. Again, it’s minimal on actual dialogue and plot when you get down to it, but Villanelli makes it absolutely thrilling to watch as Vader goes up against the creature, has gains, setbacks, and a solid struggle along the way. It showcases all his power and ferociousness in a way that you really want, making it clear just what he’s capable of.
If this sticks to being a series of five standalone stories then we’ll have a decent time with it. There are plenty of avenues to explore and Hopeless sets us off on a strong on here that lets the power of the title character shine through well. There are a lot of facets to explore and flashbacks can enhance them so that we get different aspects of the man behind the mask, but also as we see here how those view the mask and the creature itself. Paolo Villanelli really steals the show here with how the book looks with Prianto’s color work and it’s just striking from the first panel to the last. It’s a real treasure of artwork that a lot of artists can learn by in setting perspective, design, and just bringing to life the power of the character’s physicality in a great way. I hope we see Villanelli on a lot more Star Wars books in the future.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: March 6th, 2019