An Opaque Reflection of Anakin in Darth Vader 19

by Spencer Irwin

Darth Vader 19

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

I could easily spend hours listing qualities that make Darth Vader one of media’s most terrifying villains, but one of the most prominent is simply how inscrutable he is. His mask and his voice give away almost nothing about his emotions, his goals, or his thought process, rendering him cold and unknowable — and nothing’s scarier than that. Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli have made excellent use of this attribute in their run on Darth Vader, and issue 19 is no exception. Despite offering up a mirror, an echo of Vader’s former life, in the form of exiled Jedi Eeth Koth, the Sith Lord remains as fascinatingly opaque as ever. Continue reading

Star Wars 52: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Michael: In The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader has a score to settle with Luke Skywalker — solely for the reason that he is the rebel who blew up the Death Star. But Luke was only able to take that final shot because Han Solo intervened and blasted Vader’s Tie-Fighter out of the way. It is the dogfight of A New Hope. In Star Wars 52 we get the rematch we never knew we wanted: Han vs. Vader. Continue reading

Star Wars 50: Discussion

By Patrick Ehlers and Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Patrick: With the conclusion of the “Mutiny on Mon Cala” story arc, things are looking up for our heroes. And why wouldn’t they? One of the features of Marvel’s interquel Star Wars series is that we know an awful lot about both the past and future of these characters. There’s a dramatic irony baked into the entire concept of this series. Any time Luke, Han, and Leia are in mortal danger, we can override our fears for their safety by simply remembering that they all live to fight another day. But that’s only half of it, right? We also know that the Rebels are on the run by The Empire Strikes Back. Writer Kieron Gillen and artists Salvador Larroca and Giuseppe Camuncoli use the oversized issue 50 to pivot from inevitable safety to inevitable danger. Continue reading

Doctor Aphra 21 Highlights The User and The Used

by Michael DeLaney

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

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I have been constantly struggling with my feelings in regards to the titular Doctor Aphra. Under writer Simon Spurrier, Aphra has become a more Deadpoolian character than she might have been before: riding the line between amusing and despicable. Dastardly villain or loveable rogue? Still uncertain. However Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 21 makes one thing clear: Aphra will do anything to survive. Continue reading

A Story Deepened by Shades of Gray in Darth Vader 17

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Throughout their run on Darth Vader Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli have created (and/or reintroduced) a fascinating set of supporting and one-off characters, but for my money, the most intriguing is Jedi Master Ferren Barr. Last month Patrick already seemed suspicious of Barr’s methods, and in Darth Vader 17 the creative team doubles down on the shades of gray surrounding Barr. It’s the questions surrounding him and his methods that make Barr so interesting, especially as a Jedi. Continue reading

Star Wars 49: Discussion

By Patrick Ehlers and Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Patrick: If there’s one part of the Star Wars formula I’ve had the hardest time connecting to on a personal level, it’d have to be the huge battles between spaceships.  Don’t get me wrong: I think the ships look cool, and the Millennium Falcon is so near and dear to my heart that I almost cried during its reveal in The Force Awakens. But there’s something about two factions of cold, gray, lifeless ships zipping through space and shooting blasters at each other that feels remarkably impersonal. With Star Wars 49, writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca set out to stage the mother of all space battles at the birth of the Rebel Armada. By linking the ships to the characters, the creators create a sense of emotional continuity that makes this one of the best space ship battles I’ve ever seen. Continue reading

Leia is The Great White Savior in Star Wars 48

by Michael DeLaney

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Science fiction has always been known for its social commentary. Different races of aliens have been stand-ins for all kinds of different cultures and subcultures in the real world. But as much as a show like Star Trek depicted the importance of diversity and inclusion, Captain Kirk was still cast in the role of “The Great White Savior.” Thought it’s not as overt, the ending of Star Wars 48 leaves me with that same uneasy feeling. Continue reading

The Impact of One Charismatic Figure in Darth Vader 16

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

It’s sort of astonishing the impact a single person can have on the course of history. The whole of Star Wars is based on this — the galaxy is shaped by one dude’s unquenchable rage. But that’s clearly the negative side of the equation, right? In the movies, anger-monsters like Darth Vader and Kylo Ren are bested by charismatic onscreen personalities. Han Solo is charming because Harison Ford is. Leia is a compelling figure because Carrie Fisher is. In Darth Vader 16, writer Charles Soule and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli show where that power of personality can come from. Continue reading

Sacrifice and the Long Fight in Darth Vader 14

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Given how pervasive politics are in our current landscape, it’s no surprise that so much of the media being created nowadays contains political allusions and allegories. Both the allusions and especially the politics themselves can be exhausting at times, but given how dangerous so many political groups are today, getting involved and taking a stand seems absolutely necessary, no matter what the cost. That’s certainly the theme that runs throughout Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli’s Darth Vader 14, a clear allegory for our fraught modern political times that argues that great sacrifices must be made to fight oppression wherever it rears its face. Continue reading

Vader’s Uncertainty Threatens All — Including Himself — in Star Wars: Darth Vader 12

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the issue, proceed at your own risk.

Why is Darth Vader scary? It’s not necessarily because he’s so powerful, or because he’s so evil, although he’s obviously both. It’s because he’s unknowable, robotic, relentless, opaque. His mask betrays no expression, his words and actions only rarely betray emotion, and his motives often seem inscrutable. That kind of ambiguity begets strong reactions from almost everyone who sees Vader, be it outright fear or the kind of resentment festering in the Imperial Officers who place a hit on him in Star Wars: Darth Vader 12, not realizing what he’s done to gain his authority. In many ways, Vader’s unknowability is his greatest strength (only those who truly know Vader — such as Luke or even Jocasta Nu — ever manage to defeat or one-up him), but it also might be his greatest weakness, because as Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli suggest, even Vader doesn’t seem to fully understand himself, and his frustration over that is tearing him apart inside. Continue reading