This last Wednesday Marvel’s Darth Vader came to a triumphant close as Kieron Gillen finished with one heck of an issue that brought everything to a satisfying conclusion. Like many fans, I had a bit of a binge with the trade paperbacks and read issue #1 to #25 in the span of three days. One thing was incredibly clear.
This comic had purpose.
Each issue had a clear direction and as I read you could see a vivid start, middle and end (and a lot in-between)! There was a systematic story the whole way through with only one conclusion possible; Darth Vader on top with a trail of destruction behind him. To be honest I wouldn’t of had it any other way!
The story started brilliantly, weaving in and out of Jason Aaron’s Star Wars with the first volume ending with that scene with the broken glass, as Vader discovered he had a son. We had meetings with Jabba, bounty hunters and an awesome display of his power in Vader Down. These examples, in my opinion, gave the book its finest asset, this story meant something in terms of Star Wars canon.
Too many times I’ve read a comic and after finishing it thought, “As fun as that was, it just didn't add anything,” - not so with the Vader comic. By the end we had a new loved character (more on her later) and we knew how Vader got to be at the right hand side of The Emperor again. For me, it’ll change the way I look upon Vader in Episode V. He knows he has a son, he knows more than Palpatine thinks he does and he schemes, just like he does throughout this book. The Darth Vader book won't just pass by into nothingness but it leaves an absolute marker and a true representation as to why the Rebles are so terrified of our loved Sith Lord in The Empire Strikes Back.
Sadly, this achievement isn’t wide spread across all of canon - the current story in the leading title is a little “meh” and it lacks the motivation of Vader whilst Chewbacca lacked all kinds of depth. Vader’s weakest volume was the Shu-Torun War, but it was also the shortest and set up the final battle with Cylo as well as ending some of Vader’s enemies.
It wasn’t just about Vader though, Gillen was able to bring in a great supporting cast, Inspector Thanoth was by far the most intelligent Imperial to grace the galaxy far far away and his reason for helping Vader was well thought out - he became a martyr for his beliefs and knew what kind of end would meet him.
Then of course…you have Aphra and her two droids. Aphra’s influence throughout the book grew and grew and it came as no surprise that her fan base escalated. She was fun, quirky and just bad. The way that she got to know Vader so well was key, she understood his evil intentions and even used them to survive in the end. I can’t wait to see what Gillen delivers come December and her very own comic.
Most of all, you can see Gillen enjoyed his work. He is known for writing villains and was supported by some great artists throughout the series - I for one am delighted he is to stay in Star Wars and long may that relationship continue.
Till next time,