DARTH VADER #1
After the wildly successful first run of Darth Vader by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca Marvel Comics begins the second volume by going a bit further back in time with DARTH VADER #1. Charles Soule takes over writing duties and sets this tale just after the events of Revenge of the Sith. The comic opens with what is one of the most memorable and most mocked events from the prequel movies. Darth Vader in all his black suited glory screaming “NOOOOOO” when he learns that Padme’s death came at his hand. The ship is quickly righted by Soule with one of the best written exchanges between the Emperor and Vader I have ever seen. He tells Vader than Padme has given him a gift, a gift of pain. Now Vader is a crossroads, embrace that pain and hate to become a powerful Sith lord or die.
Charles Soule single handedly just saved the end of Episode III for me with this issue. The turn of Anakin was sudden in the films but this issue brilliantly gives us a look at exactly how Darth Vader was tutored in the ways of the dark side. The Emperor is truly villainous and uses pain and struggle to harness the power and hatred inside of Anakin like a blacksmith uses a hammer and anvil to sharpen a blade. Everyone loved the scene from Rogue One wherein we finally see Darth Vader as the monster he has long been rumored to be and this issue delivers more of that by showing how far he is pushed by his new master.
Giuseppe Camuncoli breathes new life into Darth Vader via his art. It is a subtle difference but you can really tell that this is a younger Darth Vader than the one depicted in the first volume. He moves with greater determination and violence. He is drawn with more dynamic poses and a fighting style that embraces a greater level of hands on combat as opposed to the stoic older Vader who uses minimal effort to dispatch his foes due to his power in the force. DARTH VADER #1 is a must read, flat out! Great art and a story that needs to be told concerning how a freshly minted Dark Lord of the Sith became the monster we know him to be.