In Review: Darth Vader #10

If you're craving Sith versus Jedi battles, look no further. Highest possible recommendation.

The covers: A terrific twosome to choose from for this concluding chapter of “The Dying Light.” The Regular cover is by Giuseppe Camuncoli & Francesco Mattina. This features Jocasta Nu in the foreground holding a Jedi holocron close to her chest, while she wields a lightsaber defensively in her left hand. Her cape is splayed out behind her and there is debris all around her, showing that she’s in the middle of a serious fight. In the distance on the left stands Darth Vader, powerfully holding his lightsaber in his left hand. Obviously, things are not going well for the Jedi librarian. Solid cover that brings the reader up to speed with what’s been happening previously in this series without spoiling anything about what’s inside. The Variant cover is another Galactic Icon cover by Rod Reis. This features a bust shot of Finn and he’s gorgeous. This is a good companion piece with the premiere installment in this Variant collection that featured Rey. Reis is now two for two in this series and if future images in this series are going to be as strong, I’m going to have to track them all down. Overall grades: Regular B+ and Galactic Icon Variant A+

The story: The action starts high on the first page as Vader is recovering from a blast to his chest from a specialized Jedi rifle that Jocastu Nu fired at him. Rising from his knees, the Sith says, “Lay down your weapon, Jedi. I do not want you to die.” She fires another blast at him and he’s barely able to leap out of the way. As he runs at her she says, “I know who you are. The vault guardian identified you. Anakin Skywalker.” This is the first time in any Marvel series that Vader has been identified as Anakin, let alone by a surviving Jedi. She fires blast after blast, telling him that she sees now that he has become little more than a tool for the Emperor and how he will never be able to stop the Force. And then something goes horribly wrong for her in the final panel on Page 3. Charles Soule may have written the best Jedi on the run story ever created. The issue has a major complication ending every page. In addition to Nu being pursued by Vader, there’s a large number of Stormtroopers outside the Jedi Temple and an explosion exposes both Force users to the them, so they get involved, with a fantastic twist. The Jedi’s reaction to this twist at the end of Page 9 is killer. A mistake made is given the appropriate Sith response and the Jedi’s final act is wonderful and painful. Just as the reader think the story has reached its conclusion, Soule has a reveal on 16 that’s scream worthy. But wait! — the page after that cranks the story up to eleven! The conversation on 18 drips with irony and awesomeness. The reader gets a breather on 19, but the final page has the best of reveals, teasing that there could be much more to come in this saga, one day. I cannot praise this conclusion and this story enough. Overall grade: A+

The art: Giuseppe Camuncoli provided this issue’s pencils and Daniele Orlandini does the inks. Their visuals are off the chart amazing. The first page has a large panel with Vader rising and Nu holding her ancient Jedi weapon down, as a gorgeous stream of smoke trails from its muzzle. Two extremely tight close ups of each character appear in the bottom right, revealing the intensity of what’s to follow. The energy on the next two pages is terrific as Jocastu continues to blast at the Sith. Pages 4 and 5 have very little dialogue, relying on the artists to communicate what’s occurring, which is a battle using Force abilities that predates a similar scene from The Last Jedi. The stormtroopers in this issue look incredible. Their first appearance is at the top of 6 that shows them witnessing something. They’re soon in action and they look incredible. Page 10 is almost exclusively troopers in some transports and it’s jaw-dropping. The next page shows something staggering happening to a trooper, but that’s merely a preview of what’s shown on 17 — there’s a panel shown in silhouette, but it packs an awesome punch. Should someone think that this old librarian has no grit left in her, wait till you see her fight those stormtroopers. I couldn’t look at the visuals quick enough once I hit 13 and then was slammed by the large panel on 14. Again, there’s very little dialogue, but with the art looking this good, the reader knows exactly what’s occurring and how the characters feel. There’s also a cool three panel sequence where Vader shows off an aspect of his armor not seen before which is wonderful. Whom do I speak to about having Camuncoli and Orlandini on this book forever? Overall grade: A+

The colors: The first two panels of this book show the reader the incredible skills of David Curiel. Vader and Nu are fighting in a dark room and the Sith Lord’s saber is casting a beautiful red glow on to his ebony armor, making him look unquestionably evil. Nu’s rifle blasts are explosions of blue and white on the page. The coloring on the troopers’ armor made me smile every time they appear. The blaster shots from these military men are amazing. The final four panels on 13 have colors that perfectly match the action. The crimsons on 15 make the proceedings even more sinister, and the final panel on 17 heartbreaking. Excellent work. Overall grade: A+

The letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna creates this issue’s scene settings, dialogue, sounds, yells, and Aurebesh. This letterer’s first two contributions aren’t to my liking, but they’ve looked like this in every Star Wars comics, so I can’t ding his grade too much on this issue because everything else he does is outstanding. The sounds, which are often sadly missing from this franchise’s books, are fantastic. They are many and they are visually different for every sound. Stand out sounds include a beeping noise and, my favorite, KRK. The yell on 14 is outstanding. Overall grade: A-

The final line: If you’re craving Sith versus Jedi battles, look no further. This story is incredible. These visuals are jaw-dropping. This is why Star Wars comics are made. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Darth-Vader-2017-10/digital-comic/597960?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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