DARTH VADER #2
The chronicles of a recently fallen Anakin Skywalker continue this week with the release of DARTH VADER #2 from Marvel Comics. Written by Charles Soule this second volume of the series has moved the time period back to the weeks immediately following the formation of the Empire and the rise of the Dark Lord of the Sith. His task to corrupt the kyber crystal of a living Jedi has brought Vader to a Jedi outpost in the mid-rim. Before he can use the data stored in the computers to track down his prey he must dispatch the clone garrison occupying the station. After an impressive display of power Vader learns that the Jedi he is hunting might prove to be a more formidable opponent than he anticipated.
Anakin was strong in the force but Darth Vader is on an entirely different level and Soule hammers home this disparity by showcasing what a Sith Lord is capable of, even while unarmed. One of the strongest points of this series is the degree to which Vader feeds off hate and pain. Whether it is his own or the suffering he inflicts on others this emotions fuel his rage and give him power greater than any Jedi. Jedi have been shown in all mediums to be great warriors but they have limits, Vader has none. There is one scene in particular in which the clones think they have the jump on Vader while he is distracted with the force only to have their assumptions result in their immediate demise. Soule seems to be really diving into this aspect of the character and as a lifelong Star Wars I am loving it. Darth Vader has always been one of, if not the, most interesting and complex characters in Star Wars and this deeper look into what drives him is a welcome one.
Giuseppe Camuncoli’s pencils are fantastic and he really seems to have a handle on the ‘look’ of Star Wars. The Jedi outpost in this issue is a new addition to the canon and its design aesthetic fits in perfectly with what has come before. I think the best visual touch in this series is the way in which Darth Vader is drawn. He is slimmer and less of a physically imposing presence and it works because he is new to the suit and his dark side powers. It is a small detail but it plays beautifully on the page. This series is flat out great and the best thing going on in Star Wars comics. If you missed the first volume you should definitely check it out, it is easily available at World’s Coolest Comics in both trade paperback and hardcover and while you are there make sure to add DARTH VADER to your pull list.