In Review: Darth Vader #7

Exemplary story with wonderful visuals. Recommended reading.

The cover: Here’s a shocker — there’s only one cover to this issue! Darth Vader is encircled by the Inquisitorius, their unique lightsabers creating a crimson field he cannot pass. However, Vader holds his saber ready in two hands, signifying that he’s willing to try. Readers know that these fallen Jedi have no chance against him. This is an okay cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli & Francesco Mattina. The coloring is too dark, even with all these lightsabers lit. Having this action set on an orange, red, and yellow background and the characters in dark characters muddles clearly seeing who is who. Brightening up the figures would have helped considerably. Overall grade: C+

The story: This is a sensational idea for a story and it’s carried out excellently by Charles Soule. The first part of “The Dying Light” opens on Coruscant where Darth Vader is standing over Sixth Brother, who’s holding where his arm used to be. The Sith says, “It’s only an arm. Get up and fight.” When the Inquisitor looks at this severed limb nearby, Vader deactivates his saber and walks away, where the Grand Inquisitor stands watching. He protests Vader’s actions, asking what Fifth Brother is supposed to learn from this action. “Loss,” the Sith replies. “He will never forget it.” Entering another room, the pair see that Vader has been teaching the other Inquisitors in a similar manner. As the two continue to walk, the Grand Inquisitor reminds Vader that he and the others were chosen personally by the Emperor, but these comments do not dissuade Vader’s distaste for the group. On Page 5, Vader tells the man what their purpose is to be, but instead learns that the Grand Inquisitor was privy to information that he’s only recently been given by Palpatine. This surprises him, but he refocuses on their task on a character from the films that has survived Order 66 and must be killed. This character was shown in the last page of the previous issue, but I won’t spoil it for those who didn’t read that issue. Suffice to say, this is a great character to get some fleshing out and that’s one of the major perks of this issue. Soule does a spectacular job with this individual, doing what she believes to be the most important thing she can do now that the Jedi are dead. What’s revealed on 12 and 13 is outstanding. I could have spent the remainder of this issue at this location, but Soule has this character go elsewhere. What happens on this character’s journey is excellent and where she ends up on the final page has me on fire to see what happens next. Paralleling this is where the Grand Inquisitor is left by Vader. Soule has completely hooked me for more. Overall grade: A+

The art: This book looks terrific. The first page is a great opener, showing Vader standing proudly, looking down upon the crouched Sixth Brother who’s holding his still smoking upper arm. The tight close-up of Vader at the bottom of the page makes the Sith ferocious and it increases the vileness of his dialogue. The third page shows all of the Inquisitors who’ve been instructed by Vader and it’s not a pretty sight. I like how there’s a second level to the room that’s monitored by the Emperor’s Imperial Guard. When Vader learns that the Grand Inquisitor was aware of something he wasn’t, a reader could swear that his immovable eyes grow larger. Page six has a gorgeous splash of the Imperials’ prey and she looks incredible. The setting is in complete opposition to the what’s been shown on the previous five pages. What the character is doing is cool and the depth that’s created in the setting is awesome. 10 shows a setting that will be familiar to fans of the films and the reaction on the Grand Inquisitor’s face to being in this space is wonderful; it gives his character a facet that was never shown in the Rebels series. The characters that the individual is stopped by on 18 look great and how they are dealt with, shown through a killer panel at the bottom of the page, is fantastic. Penciller Giuseppe Camuncoli and inker Daniele Orlandini have created an outstanding looking book. Overall grade: A+

The colors: I was also impressed by colors on this book by David Curiel. When most comics use dark colors to create an ominous tone, Curiel brightly shows the villains, with their evil unimpaired by darkness, making them much more frightening. Vader and the Grand Inquisitor stand out on every panel they are in, even though they have dark colors. It’s neat to see that the grays and blacks of the Imperial settings don’t have the pair blend in with the background. The luminous objects that their prey is working on have a magical air about them due to the coloring, and putting this character in a red jacket makes the character the reader’s focus in every panel that she appears. The characters that block this individual’s path on Page 18 also have some red coloring and they, too, look great. Curiel is doing an excellent job on this book. Overall grade: A+

The letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna is responsible for the book’s scene settings, dialogue, a snippet of a recording, a droid’s one utterance, and one sound. There’s no need for many sounds in this issue, due to this setting the stage for next issue’s confrontation. The dialogue looks as it does in previous Star Wars comics, so it continues to disappoint with it’s wispy design. Overall grade: B+

The final line: A great issue, save the lettering. The story reveals Vader’s working with the Inquisitorius, while showing a surviving Jedi threatens Palpatine’s reign. Exemplary story with wonderful visuals. Recommended reading. Overall grade: A

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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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