Darth Vader #5
Darth Vader #5
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Adi Granov
Darth Vader #5 is an interesting turn of events, but very much a bridge between issues. Vader and Aphra go after the secret base where his replacement is being trained. There they discover something unexpected. However, Vader does not yet get to challenge his replacement. They save the big show down for the next issue which leaves this one a little bit lacking in punch. There’s some surprise, and some action, but not the bang we’ll get in issue #6.
Overall, this is a pretty good issue, but it’s not one that can stand on its own. It starts with some fun dialog between Aphra and Vader, gets into some corridor combat as Vader attacks the base, the slows down into more conversations as Vader talks with his replacements. There’s a surprise in waiting, and then the issue ends before the action is about to explode. The story development certainly has the potential to be something fun and cool, but we’ll have to wait until the next issue to find out. That in itself is a little bit of a bummer.
The art makes some bold moves with the larger panels. There’s a shot near the beginning of the armored whale things that’s pretty cool looking. However there’s no explanation as to what’s going on in that shot. The whales appear to be towing something, but we don’t get to see what. The problem is it’s never made clear where the base is. Did they land on a whale or did they land on whatever the whales are towing? The design of the defenders of the station isn’t bad as they look relatively Star Warsy, though some of the close up shots of the weapons in the stand off panels could have been better as those shots make the weapons look way too modern. Surprisingly the panels around that page depicts the weapons as ones used in the films themselves, so there’s some change scene-to-scene in the weaponry we see. The design of the replacement characters is intriguing and makes for some good large-sized panels. My one gripe with them is that they get a really nice two page spread that fully reveals them in action poses, and then the issue ends with a full page of them springing into action. That last page loses its kick because we’ve already seen the characters. On top of that, the arrangement on that last page feels a little off. The perspectives of the characters makes some of their limbs look badly proportioned. It’s a small thing, but it ended the comic on a somewhat weak note visually. Otherwise the artwork was good, both with the linework and colors. Adi Granov certainly delivered another stellar cover which hints at Vader’s replacements.
I’m not really sure where the story is going, but I’m hopeful it still has some surprises up its sleeve. The next issue is sure to have some action, but it’s also going to need some good story reveals to make this series pay off. One way or another, it’s becoming a battle of killing machines. I give this issue a good three out of five metal bikinis. There’s nothing to dock it for artwise, but the story in this issue is very much a transition point rather than a chapter to stand upon. As part of the greater whole, it’ll probably work well, but as is, it leaves you wanting and a little too eager to move on.