Vader – Dark Visions No. 1 review: Darth Vader, glorious savior?


The script gets flipped in Vader: Dark Visions.

Unless you intentionally avoided watching them to prove some point, you’ve seen Star Wars, and you know that Darth Vader is the merciless bad guy that everyone fears and is always brutally effective at doing whatever villainous stuff he does. There must be a hundred stories out there where Vader is the enemy, but this might be the first tale where Darth Vader is the hero. And that is quite a unique concept. Writer Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum, artist Paolo Villanelli, colorist Arif Prianto and letterer Joe Caramagna have crafted a seriously distinctive tale in Vader: Dark Visions, with a cover by Greg Smallwood, wherein the big baddie is seen as the hero, and that alone makes this worth the read.

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If you fight the monster you’re the hero, right?

The whole issue is about Vader landing on an unimportant planet and fighting a giant beast that terrorizes the locals, and it’s told from the perspective of a young alien who thinks Vader is some kind of heroic knight. The planet, Cianap, was once a bustling society, but was destroyed by the Ender. Now, the remaining inhabitants survive underground. The locals think the battles between the Rebellion and the Empire are the acts of “space gods,” and they believe the Ender is more dangerous than those faraway space gods. Fortunately for them, Vader’s TIE fighter gets damaged, and he lands on the planet for repairs, unwittingly landing on the slumbering Ender, which appears roughly twenty times bigger than a rancor; we’re talking kaiju-sized, here. The monster is angered, and Vader proceeds to rupture one of its eyes with his lightsaber, making it much more angry. It manages to swat Vader, and the local that’s bearing witness thinks that the sky warrior is done for, having seen whole armies fall to the Ender before.

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The force is more powerful than gargantuan beasts in Vader: Dark Visions

The local isn’t aware of the force, however, and Vader calls his fallen lightsaber back to his hand, gets on a horse-analog creature, and charges the Ender, saving the local in the nick of time from a smooshing. Vader cuts a finger off the Ender, leaps up to its head, and slices its throat.  Now the monster that has terrorized the planet Cianap has been killed, and the people can thrive again, all thanks to Darth Vader. A Star Destroyer tractor beams Vader and his TIE fighter into orbit, and the local tells the story of the battle around a fire that night, with the locals partying on the corpse of the Ender.

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It can be assumed that Darth Vader didn’t see himself as the hero of this story; he was simply solving a problem that was stopping him from doing repairs, in his mind. The fact that the creative team decided to frame that incident from the point of view of a terrorized local shows a real talent for alternative perspectives, which is always refreshing in an industry that sort of recycles the same plots over and over. The art is gripping and the story is one-of-a-kind, and the next four issues of the anthology series promise to be just as entertaining. 9/10, highly recommended. Let us know what you thought in the comments section below.