I read two volumes of the Darth Vader comic this week. Overall I like them.
The main ‘issue’ is they’re written with Vader-as-protagonist so:
- You kind of know how things are going to end if you’ve seen these obscure, niche movies from the 70s and 80s called “Star Wars” you may have heard of.
- I’m not sure how I currently feel about following an antihero who is, as described here, pretty evil.
Anyway, those aside: It’s set just after Episode 3, specifically just after the ‘Big Noooooooooo’ scene. The Emperor is truly warped here: He spends a lot of time psychologically messing with Vader to build up the idea that it’s his rage that led to Amidala’s death, for example. The rage being something the Emperor has encouraged previously, of course.
It kind of sets up why Vader int he original movies starts out as this very controlled, precise force.
An amusing aspect is that Vader is unknown in this era. People see a kinda scary guy in shiny black armor, but there’s tons of weird aliens and such around, so he doesn’t stand out that much. He actively has to work to build his rep in this.
The two volumes I’ve read start with Vader acquiring a new lightsaber. This makes it canon that red evil blades are the result of the crystals being tortured by evil force users until they ‘bleed’ and turn red.
The story then turns to Vader as Jedi Hunter. There’s some inquisitors who I believe have shown up in other media. There’s a strong plot that if Vader was unavailable, the head inquisitor would jump in to his role without hesitation.
Remember the Jedi Librarian from the Prequels? She gets some screen-time here, and actually does some cool stuff. Vader is hunting her, and one ‘berserk button’ of his is apparently anyone who remembers his old identity. He’s totally building a new life (if you can call it that) as the spooky violent Emperor’s right hand man.
Art is usually good. There’s some exceptions: One image I disliked is a flash-forward to Luke sometime between episodes 6 and 7 finding a cache of Jedi lore, and he looks really off… But it’s a single page, so no big deal.
Overall it’s well done. I do like that this kind of explains how the Jedi went from known to mysterious in a couple decades. There’s good secondary scenes of artifacts being recovered or, in one scene, a ton of lightsabers being publically incinerated by some random guy who is spreading the story that the Jedi went nuts and that’s why they all had to be killed.