This article containsSPOILERS! If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Spencer: If knowledge is power, than so is wisdom. Both are talked up as some of the greatest traits of the Jedi Order, but so often we think of Jedis as warriors first and foremost, their victories physical ones rather than mental. It’s a mindset Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli are clearly looking to challenge in Star Wars: Darth Vader 10. Jocasta Nu, Jedi librarian, isn’t much of a warrior (at least in comparison to Darth Vader), but she achieves a vital victory over Vader anyway, simply by using her wits and knowledge. Most importantly, she has the wisdom to recognize that achieving such a victory will require sacrifice, and the will to go through with it nonetheless. Continue reading →
This article contains SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the issue, proceed at your own risk.
Authoritarian rule is often the result of resentment toward the professional political class. All it takes is one “outsider” with enough willpower to assume power, and then the common man is freed from the dubious expertise of career politicians. The problem, of course, is that the elimination of political experts leads to brain drain in all other aspects of government, and eventually the loss of all knowledge and expertise. Star Wars Darth Vader 8 shows the tenuous balance between the experts and the tyrants that force their extinction. Continue reading →
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
The “it was all a dream” storytelling device is often looked down upon as a narrative cheat, which depending on the circumstances might be true. However there are merits to it as well, as we see in Star Wars: Darth Vader 5. Sometimes, asking the question of “what could have been” makes the reality of a situation that much more bitter. Continue reading →
This article contains SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Michael: The transition from Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader in the Star Wars prequels was anything but seamless. By the end of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Anakin sure looks and sounds like Darth Vader but it’s clear that he’s still the irrational Hayden Christensen manchild underneath that black armor. With their new Darth Vader series, Charles Soule and Guiseppe Camuncoli hope to give us a more satisfying bridge between Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader than the prequels. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Darth Vader 25, originally released October 12th,2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Taylor: Darth Vader stands alone in pop culture. He is at once terrifying and relatable, a killer and a loving father, a villain and a hero. Perhaps the reason for his enduring popularity is that Vader cannot be defined by one singular trait. Like every human, he changes over time, is sometime good and sometimes evil, and is all too fallible. Ultimately this is what makes him a character that is uniquely memorable. Despite controlling an ancient mystical power, using a sword made of pure energy, and conquering the known universe, what makes him an essential character is the simple fact that he changes. In the final issue of this amazing run, Darth Vader explains once and for all why there is such a big change in the Lord of the Sith between Episode IV and Episode V in wonderful fashion.
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Darth Vader 21, originally released June 8th, 2015.
Taylor: One of the things film geeks have come to appreciate about Episode IV is the way George Lucas incorporated techniques pioneered by Japanese director and genius Akira Kurosawa into his movie. In particular, Lucas draws from Kurosawa’s most famous film, the Seven Samurai, which was eventually remade for American audiences as the Magnificent Seven. That Star Wars would be so closely related to a film about cowboys shouldn’t come as a surprise. In many ways, Luke and Han are heroic space cowboys fighting the their way across the open plains of the universe, battling against those who would oppress their freedom. Darth Vader 21 returns Star Wars to this western and in so doing cleverly inverts my assumptions about the motif in fun and new ways.
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Darth Vader 20, originally released May 11th, 2015.
Taylor: The old adage goes that silence golden. If nothing else, being a middle school teacher has taught me that this is true. Don’t get me wrong: I love it when kids talk and discuss in class, but the only time I’m not with a room full of kids during the day is my 20 minute lunch break. More than even my lunch, what I treasure about the my break is the beautiful silence. No kids yelling, no scuffing shoes, and no one to interrupt me. Point is, silence is golden. In monthlies, it’s clear that authors often feel the need to pack in as much information as possible. Reasons abound for this and the place to discuss that isn’t here. However, I quiet moment in a monthly is such rare thing. Darth Vader 20, on the other hand, has mastered the use of the pregnant pause, to great effect.
Today, Taylor and Michael are describing Darth Vader 17, originally released March 2nd, 2016.
Taylor: Part of Darth Vader’s mystique is that he’s a loner. He’s solitary, unknowable, and ultimately dangerous to those who both know and don’t know him. This penchant for solitude is part of what makes Vader fearsome. There are few people in the universe who can take on entire platoons of soldiers alone and emerge victorious, but Vader is one of them. Pair this with his basic distrust of just about everyone and everything and it’s no wonder the galaxy fears him. He is ultimately unknowable and what people can’t know they necessarily fear. In his black robes, Vader is essentially the embodiment of black hole: he can’t be known, he destroys all that come close to him, and ultimately he is misunderstood. Issue 17 of Darth Vader explores its titular character’s isolation and shows us how that is both the source of his downfall and ultimate redemption. Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Taylor are describing Darth Vader 16, originally released February 10th, 2016.
Michael: I think that Darth Vader is the favorite among the other Star Wars titles (at least at Retcon Punch) because it is chock-full of dramatic moments and nuanced characters. The power struggles and political battles of Darth Vader are somewhat reminiscent to a show like House of Cards. Darth Vader 16 is kind of a lull in the ongoing narrative that focuses on the particulars of the power struggles that Vader encounters.
Today, Spencer and Michael are discussing Obi-Wan and Anakin 2, originally released February 3rd, 2016.
Spencer: There’s nothing new under the sun. I don’t believe that’s a concrete truth — every once in a while somebody still trots out an idea that legitimately surprises me — but for the most part, it holds up, and I’m okay with that. A story doesn’t need to be wholly original to succeed. Sometimes they can rely on our previously established affection for the characters, and other times those familiar tropes can be told with new twists or different contexts or in support of deep themes that make them a joy to read regardless of originality. Sadly, I don’t think I can make that argument for Obi-Wan and Anakin 2. There’s nothing in this issue that gets me invested in its very familiar story. Continue reading →