In Review: Darth Vader #10

Excellent read with fine visuals that will make fans squeal with each reveal.

The cover: The Sith Lord is barely visible on this cover by Salavador Larroca and Edgar Delgado. He can be found in the stone work on the ground below Doctor Aphra who is front and center in this image and for the majority of this issue. This is a smart choice, highlighting this supporting character, because she has been extremely interesting in her earlier appearances and what she does in this issue is intense. She looks completely at ease as she looks up, just over the reader’s right shoulder. She is not someone who should be given any leeway, and that’s why this is a deceptively disarming cover by the interior artist and colorist. Very nice. I would have liked to have seen a brighter color in the stones to make his visage stand out a little more on the shelves, such as a burnt rose; it would have maintained the same effect and been Sith colors. Overall grade: B+

The story: In the Dragon’s Mansion on Anthan Prime, one of its denizens is being questioned by Vader. This session doesn’t last long. Inspector Thanoth continues to impress Vader with his skills in obtaining some of the Dragon’s hidden information. Once it has been recovered the Inspector believes it won’t be long before they find “the core of crime presently active in this world.” Vader is pleased and readies the Emperor’s Fist. This is all that’s seen of the fallen Jedi until the end of the issue. Writer Kieron Gillen moves to a surprising location where Doctor Aphra and assassin droids BT-1 and 000 have information to extract from someone key to an event from The Revenge of the Sith. The location alone caught my interest, but who they’re after and the information that this individual has left me screaming–Wow! No matter what fans’ feelings are about the prequels, this will have them hollering. Triple-Zero was an absolute monster in these scenes; his dialogue is horrific. I can’t hear Anthony Daniels’ voice any more when this character speaks, showing that Gillen has written a wholly different, original character. The final three pages has the Dark Lord return as Aphra relates what she’s learned. Again, this is really impressive. The final panel is great foreshadowing of doom to come, and I can’t wait to read it. Overall grade: A

The art: Magnificent artwork from Salvador Larroca in this issue. The familiar alien on the first two pages will put quite a dent into one’s jovial memories from Return of the Jedi. Vader is an absolute threat on every page; he just has to stand silently in a panel to create a sense of menace — and I love him like this. When Vader makes his exit in the final panel on Page 4 it’s impossible not to hear John Williams’ music; it looks that classical. Thanoth continues to be an impressive looking original character. He’s only on three pages in this issue, but his drive and skill are more than evident in his appearances. I hope that Larroca gets to draw him for a long time. Aphra also looks good, she always has. However, in this issue she’s using her mind more so than her moves. When she gets the information that she wants, she looks like a monster; she’s been a fairly sympathetic looking character until this point, and now it’s impossible for me to look at her and not think “monster.” The individual she’s seeking resembles Watchmen’s Comedian had he lived to be in his early sixties. It was tough not to think this when this person reaches for a rifle. There’s also something on the wall of this person’s residence that hasn’t been seen since the bonus scenes from Attack of the Clones. It was very cool to see this device and instantly created a link to that film. The final three pages are gloriously tense because of the visuals. When Vader is silent I got worried, and could almost see a glimmer of Anakin within that armor, but it didn’t last long. The final panel elicited a shiver in me. Larroca is manipulating this story handsomely. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Both settings of this book are dim: one is in a cave, essentially, the other a residence at night. There shouldn’t be much to see because of these locations. Edgar Delgado does an outstanding job in lighting the scenes so that readers can see enough of what’s going on, yet still realize that these are dark locations. The Dragon’s Mansion is a dreary place, but notice how in the first panel Delgado colors the frightened alien so that he’s recognizable, yet in the shadows. When Vader first appears he’s backlight with a glow around him, as if he were an angel. When he swings his lightsaber on Page 3 the colors show the blade’s path wonderfully. The colors brighten up when Thanoth appears, though they remain dull to remind readers of this interior’s locale. The location that Aphra is at is colored in the pale of blues and off grays of night, with the characters lit with tans to show that the artificial lights are gone. Really nice. Word must also be given to the way caves are colored on the final three pages; I appreciate how Delgado has matched Larroca’s line work with how they’re colored, making the setting seem almost three dimensional. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, fearful speech, dialogue, sounds, droid speech, a world’s unique text are created by VC’s Joe Caramagna. I’m not pleased with the too thin font for dialogue and that droid speech is simply the dialogue font placed in italics. The font designated for scene settings is beginning to look comically overblown. I’ve not been happy when I saw these choices on the first of Marvel’s new Star Wars comics, and I’ve yet to see any reason why I should change. Overall grade: B-

The final line: Excellent read with fine visuals that will make fans squeal with each reveal. Overall grade: A

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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