Darth Vader #4

Darth Vader #4

Writer: Charles Soule
Penciller: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inker: Cam Smith
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Giuseppe Camuncoli and Francesco Mattina

Darth Vader #4 redeems Lord Vader as he recovers from his wounds and seeks out his new lightsaber. No Jedi will stand in his way. Nor will anything else, for that matter. This little adventure shows just how far he’s willing to go to achieve his ambitions. Fair warning, I’m going to go into a lot of spoilers for this one.

The issue opens with a pretty cool panel of Darth Vader lying destroyed on a pile of rocks with the Jedi’s mountain in the distance. And destroyed is very close to the mark for Vader’s condition. He’s missing one leg from the knee down. One of his arms is exposed from the elbow down. One of his eyes is out of commission. Even moving causes his droid body to hiss and smoke. But Vader isn’t out of options. Anakin may be figuratively dead, but he still remembers how to fix droids, and seeing how he is now mostly a droid, repairing himself just requires some spare parts. Thankfully the Jedi master’s sparring droid also fell off the mountain. Rather resourcefully, Vader cannibalizes the droid to repair himself. I can’t recall ever seeing Vader do that before. Props to Charles Soule on that one. Well played.

Elsewhere, Jedi Master Kirak Infil’a is getting his old Jedi starfighter fixed so he can go after Darth Sidious. This brief interlude introduces a little family of aliens who are happy to help the Jedi master. Alas, Vader catches up to Infil’a and challenges him to a duel on top of the dam. The Jedi continues to best Vader in lightsaber combat, but Vader finally figures out the Jedi’s weakness – compassion. He distracts the Jedi by throwing some people off the dam, then by trying to break the dam and thus destroy the city below with a massive wall of water. This proves to be the Jedi’s undoing. Vader takes his lightsaber, Force chokes the Jedi, snaps his neck, and tosses him off the dam. Mission accomplished.

So the question is…what did this story accomplish? On one hand, we see that Vader isn’t at full strength in his new cyborg body. His skills with a lightsaber are greatly diminished. However, the more he relies on the Force, the better he seems to do. Using the Force, he was able to repair himself, a rather complicated task to do hands free. He was also able to destroy a dam with the Force, and kill a Jedi master with the Force. All remarkable displays of his power. It’ll be interesting to see where the story goes from here.

That said, I still think the story is suffering from the lack of internal dialog from Vader. We don’t know what he’s thinking, and that hamstrings the scope of what this comic can accomplish. Everything is left up to the reader to infer or guess at. While it is possible to pull that off in a comic, it requires a very talent artist and some very carefully crafted panels to showcase Vader and to imply to the reader that he’s thinking something in particular. Back in the day, Randy Stradley and Doug Wheatley were able to pull that off with Vader by doing panels that forced the reader to become introspective and ponder about what Vader was thinking. Unfortunately, the creative team in this Darth Vader series isn’t exactly pulling that off.

The artwork is cartoony and stylish but it’s not too bad. I really liked the opening page and the rest of the comic was easy to follow along with. The art isn’t epic, but it looks good. There’s nice coloring and lighting, the layouts are well put together and the action scenes play out well.

Overall, I liked this issue. It could be better, but as is, I give it a solid four out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

 

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