Vader is a Glutton for Punishment in Darth Vader 20

by Michael DeLaney

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

The relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala is easily one of the worst parts of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, but it is my favorite part of a Darth Vader comic book. When you remove Hayden Christensen (and George Lucas) from the picture, the emotional weight of the former Skywalker is fairly significant. Such is the case in Charles Soule and Giuseppe Canuncoli’s Darth Vader 20. Continue reading

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 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

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

Finding Strength in Others in The Amazing Spider-Man 800

by Spencer Irwin

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

Spider-Man has one of the most iconic, expansive, and enduring supporting casts in all of superhero comics, and that’s a fact Dan Slott has used to his advantage throughout his long tenure on The Amazing Spider-Man. He especially leans on his supporting cast in issue 800, the penultimate issue of his run and the grand finale of “Go Down Swinging.” It’s an issue all about the power of the people in Peter Parker’s life, be it the power he gives them, or the power they give him. 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

Star Wars: Darth Vader 15: 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: Avengers: Infinity War is coming to theaters this weekend and the world eagerly awaits to see some epic cosmic superhero smackdown. I will see it — and I hope to enjoy it — but there will always be something that the comic book source material will always have that movies don’t: believing the unbelievable. Comic books don’t have a special effects budget — a scene of Iron Man fighting the Hulk costs the same as a scene of Iron Man and the Hulk sitting down for dinner. The action and display of power of the story is of the same medium as its characters, there is no gray area in between. Given that, Darth Vader 15 continues to explore the range of scope of Vader’s powers in a way that no movie has — or likely could. 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

Characters Revise Their Own Histories in Darth Vader 13

by Michael DeLaney

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

When Star Wars comics relaunched under Marvel in 2015, Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca’s Darth Vader was far and away the best title. Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli have continued that tradition with their latest incarnation of the book. Darth Vader 13 is the latest example of how the comics can flesh out characters and concepts in a way that the movies never really did. 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