This week we get the first title to follow the flagship Star Wars book, Darth Vader, by The Wicked and The Divine writer Kieron Gillen and The Invincible Iron Man artist Salvador Larroca. Perhaps the most anticipated book of the week, read on to see why!
The first thing I noticed that made me love this book was at the start with The Crawl. For those not familiar, this is the classic title sequence at the start of each film to catch viewers up with the story thus far. Comics have always used a crawl of sorts but how the SW books use them now is a wonderful nod to the films. This book’s crawl was told from the Empire’s perspective, highlighting the virtues and order of the Empire and the destructive, chaotic nature of the Rebellion.
Perhaps the strongest, most striking feature within the book is the dialogue. You’d figure Vader being the main character he’d have speaking lines, but the atmosphere Kieron gives him elevates it from, “line,” to, “I hear James Earl Jones in my head… what is this sorcery?” I can’t help but feel some glee reading/hearing Vader browbeat, traumatize, threaten, and otherwise coerce every thing in sight; save for the Emperor. The second most powerful scenes were from Vader’s interaction with his master, the only character Kieron delivers more than Vader is the Emperor. Every twisting line of guilt, criticism, and disappointment rings true of what I’d expect from the Emperor; manipulating Vader into being his perfect accomplice and slave.
I’ve loved Larroca’s work for many years, since his famed run of Iron Man with Matt Fraction; always illustrating photo perfect representations of beloved characters. After reading, I watched New Hope to compare some panels with their film counterparts and I can’t help but admire the quality in Larroca’s ability to capture that essence and transmute it to page. Larroca is a wonderful partner for Kieron to bring out that essential goal for a Star Wars book, returning us to the films and bringing out even more flavor.
It’d be a tough job to have me try to hate this book, the only thing that could come close would be the $4.99 price tag, between the artwork and Kieron’s masterful dialogues between Vader and everything else with a hope to live I think I’ll buy 2 copies. In the end, the only things I want out of this book is for it to continue for another 20 issues and for Kieron to write the adventures of Boba Fett and Black Krrsantan.