In Review: Darth Vader #9

Jocasta Nu shows herself to be a fearsome foe for the Sith in this spectacular issue.

The cover: Just one cover for this issue. It’s by Giuseppe Camuncoli & Francesco Mattina and it shows Vader with his lightsaber in a defensive position as he wards off a blow from Jedi Jocasta Nu within the Jedi Temple’s archive. The shadow of Vader is well done against the illuminated volumes of knowledge. The Jedi in the foreground looks good, but Vader is too far from the reader. The coloring on Vader is also fairly dark, though parts of him are being lit by his saber; the reader really has to pull in close to this image to see the title character’s details. Overall grade: B-

The story: This is a spectacular story by Charles Soule. On Coruscant, Vader is making his way to the Jedi Temple. He encounters several stormtroopers who he instructs to be sure no one enters or leaves the temple. As Vader enters, the commander asks if he could have some more information about the threat that’s within. Vader asks if he was involved with Order 66. The trooper answers, “Yes. I was here on Coruscant. Did my part–all the clones did. Shut those Jedi agitators down cold.” Marching up the stairs, the Sith replies, “It seems, commander you missed some.” Within the temple Jocasta Nu has leaped onto a table in the center of the archives and has her saber at the neck of the Grand Inquistor. She’s shocked when he she learns he was a former Jedi and tells him that he will meet a traitor’s end. He smiles and states,” A traitor’s end. Yes. I like that. But perhaps you have not heard, Master Archivist. These days…” He pulls his blades which clashes with hers. “…the Jedi are the traitors.” They battle, with their abilities fairly equal. Just as it seems as though their clash will have a climax, someone arrives and everything changes. The dialogue is killer in this issue. All three characters have some awesome lines, especially Jocasta Nu. For a character that has an unmemorable moment in Attack of the Clones, she’s a powerhouse in this issue; proving that Yoda isn’t the only elder Jedi to have some serious skills. Jocasta’s lines in the second panel on 9 will make fans cheer and despair. There is a major slap against Vader’s plans on Pages 14 and 15. The story could have ended there and I would have been more than satisfied, however Soule has Vader encounter a character who had an earlier appearance and my jaw dropped on 17 — An action happens that is amazing. And then Soule follows this with another amazing moment. This is an incredible story. Overall grade: A+

The art: Making this story look fantastic are the the pencils by Giuseppe Camuncoli and inks by Daniele Orlandini. Vader’s trek to the Jedi Temple on Page 1 is gorgeous and undeniably cool. Vader stands upright in a shuttle that speeds through the city at night; his cape splays behind him wonderfully. The city is sumptuously detailed. Seeing so many troopers on the steps of the temple echoes the horrific purge of Revenge of the Sith. The first image of Jocasta Nu is fantastic: standing on that table with her blade at the Inquistor’s head. It’s a flawless image. The panel that introduces her foe is a tight close-up of the Inquisitor and he is absolutely insane looking with that smile on this face. Their battle is beautifully choreographed, with each flipping, running, and flying about with their sabers. The stances of the characters in the middle panel that spreads across Pages 6 and 7 is killer. There is an incredible, subtle visual on 17 that it startling and beautiful. Vader’s action in the final panel on this page is raw and awesome. Pages 18 and 19 feature competing actions in two different locations. Breaking up the story in this manner makes the tension in both locales strong, with the inclusion of a small insignia in the tenth panel scream worthy. The tight close-up that closes these two pages is incredible: this character can’t show fear because of his static face, but Camuncoli and Orlandini depict this individual as terrified. The final page features a powerful action that is a terrific cliffhanger. And I’d like to add, I can’t wait to see cosplayers include this prop in their arsenal. Overall grade: A+

The colors: From the first page, the reader knows that David Curiel is going to make these visuals complete. The buildings of Coruscant at night are flawless. Take note that he highlights Vader’s vessel in light colors to draw the reader to him. The colors on the troopers’ armors is so cool, making me want to see Curiel color more of them. The archives are in a cool blue from all the illuminated volumes around the characters and make their actions even more godly, as though lit by the heavens. Colors communicate a key part of the story on Page 14. The reds in the first panel on 17 direct the reader’s attention, with the coloring of the sound excellent. Simply beautiful work. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, sounds, and a computer and droid’s speech (the same font) are crafted by VC’s Joe Caramagna. Thank the Maker! Sound effects! They are absolutely necessary in this issue (Page 9, to be sure!) and they enhance the fights tremendously. The computer and droid should have a similar font because they are both artificial lifeforms, so it makes sense they resemble one another. The dialogue and scene settings still need a change, but I’m so impressed with the wonderful sound effects, I can’t grouse much. It’s like Christmas came early! Overall grade: A-   

The final line: Jocasta Nu shows herself to be a fearsome foe for the Sith in this spectacular issue. This is a battle that cannot be missed! Search your feelings–You know this to be true! Every page is filled with perfect dialogue and epic visuals. Recommended. 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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