Star Wars: Darth Vader #4 Review


Star Wars: Darth Vader #4
Written by Keiron Gillen
Art by Salvador Larroca
Colors by Edgar Delgado
Published by Marvel Comics

After four issues, Darth Vader continues to be right at the top of my must read list each and every week it comes out. There is just something about this series that, more than its companion title Star Wars, is just so over the top fun to read that it has me counting down the days until a new issue hits the stands.

Is it the artwork? No, but that would be a perfectly reasonable explanation. Salvador Larroca is turning in some of the best work of his career. More than any other artist before, he has captured the essence of what makes Vader such a popular character in pop culture. He somehow manages to convey the emotions of Anakin Skywalker through a mask that never changes, without the benefit of eyes or facial expressions of any kind. Do you have any idea how difficult that is for even the best artists? I can really see Darth Vader eventually becoming the book that elevates Larroca from being considered a “great” artist to the upper echelon of the field. Yes, he is that good.

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  • Or is it the story? No, but that has been top notch too. Keiron Gillen is taking his little corner of the Star Wars universe and making it fully his own. Watching as Vader assembles his own private army, which in issue #4 includes him returning to Geonosis to acquire a rumored surviving droid factory, is fascinating stuff. Given that the series takes place shortly after A New Hope, it seems to be adding an entirely new layer to the events of The Empire Strike Back, and it’s going to be immeasurable fun to watch as it develops.

    Instead, I think it may be the characters that have made me such a huge fan of this series. Gillen has done such an amazing job making Vader more than he ever was in the films, giving him nuance and depth that he never had before. He has combined the fierce Dark Lord of the Sith with the fragile, flawed Anakin Skywalker from the prequel trilogy and given the reader something new yet familiar.

    Then there are is new supporting cast Gillen is adding to the Star Wars mythos, such as Doctor Aphra, the rouge archaeologist who is helping Vader create his droid army. I’ve already fallen head over heels for her as Aphra helps to keep what could turn into a very somber book a more lighthearted affair. Watching as she jokes at Vader’s expense reminds me of the best parts of the Han Solo/Princess Leia relationship from the films.

    But if I had to pick one thing that has made me such a huge fan of Darth Vader, it has to be the sheer awesomeness of the two droids Gillen has created for the series, Triple Zero and BT-1.

    Imagine twisted, dark versions of C-3P0 and R2-D2 and you begin to get an inkling what these two droids are all about. Triple Zero sounds and moves just like Threepio, but all he talks about is death, torture and pain. Then there is BT-1, who has weapons where R2 has gadgets and is a bit on the homicidal side. The addition of these two made the wait for new issues of Darth Vader almost unbearable.

    The Bottom Line: Four issues in and Darth Vader somehow continues to get better with each month. Gillen and Larroca are taking their game to another level in this series and are creating a book that is more than worthy to carry the name Star Wars.

    Plus, how can you not love a comic that has a pair of murderous droids and the science-fiction version of Indiana Jones? Good, good stuff.

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