How did Darth Vader become the most feared being in the galaxy? How did he get his famous crimson lightsaber? What was he up to after the credits rolled in Revenge of the Sith? The creative team behind Marvel’s new Darth Vader ongoing series sets out to answer these questions and more in Star Wars: Darth Vader #1.
This is the second standalone comic series staring one of cinema’s greatest villains. While Marvel’s first series first series (which I couldn’t recommend more) focused on Vader between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, this new series follows Vader as he transitions from a new student of the Dark Side of the Force to the unstable tyrant of evil we are all love. This story is a part in Star Wars canon not previously explored, and it’s incredibly exciting.
The first issue of Darth Vader is written by Charles Soule with art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith, David Curiel. Following the Sith Lord mere moments after he dons the iconic armor in Episode III, The story begins with the now infamous “NOOOOO” scene from Revenge of the Sith. The creative team manages to give this scene something of an emotional impact as opposed to sighs of embarrassment. The story then continues with an excellent and shocking interaction with The Emperor, and without spoiling anything major, it perfectly captures the motivations of Vader’s new master as well as his unique methods of teaching new apprentices.
From there, we are greeted to an answer to many a Star Wars’ fan’s question, “Why are the Sith’s lightsabers red?” Again, for the sake of spoilers, I will not answer it here. However, it does define the brutality of a Dark Side user in an unexpected and oddly gratifying way. If you have read Star Wars: Ashoka, you are already somewhat familiar with the explanation, but reading the description coming from the Emperor himself brings more weight to the method.
The story ends with a scene showing just how capable Lord Vader is. His lightsaber skills have no equal, however, he shows that he does not need this weapon to dominate his opponents. It made this reviewer feel somewhat sorry for Vader’s latest victims.
The art in Darth Vader #1 works in its favor. Really great comics can be ruined by distractingly subpar art, luckily, there are no worries here. The cover art is very reminiscent of the recent release of Darth Maul’s ongoing series from Marvel with the faded crimson background behind the title character. The team of artists use the colors of the environment to their advantage. Slick silvers and dark grays show the sleekness of Coruscant’s cityscapes, while the dirt browns and rusted yellows invoke a sense of weatheredness to contrast the more desolate planets. A few of the facial sketches can be a little distracting or take away from a otherwise important moment in the story, but other than that, this team showed great promise for issues to come.