Darth Vader #6
Darth Vader #6
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Adi Granov
Oh. My. God. Darth Vader #6 is quite simply awesome. Best Darth Vader comic ever? Maybe not, but with the build up and the payoff, this is the best Vader I’ve seen in a while. Gillen nails it, the art team brings it to life, and this one should definitely be in your buy pile.
Where things left off, Vader was about to do combat with a bunch of weirdos engineered to replace him. Meanwhile Palpatine is in the grandstands watching to see the display. However, the comic holds back and doesn’t give us a bloodbath. There’s a lot of exposition as Cylo talks about who these people are and why they’re so special. We see Vader do some sparring, but no one loses their life, at least not until later. The action scenes give the artists plenty to work with as they draw a berserker Trandoshan, a General Grievous Mon Calamari, telepathic droid swarms and Jedi cyborg twins. Surprisingly, the Emperor plays the encounter off as a demonstration, introducing Vader to his new comrades in the Empire, and laying the hint that they could be his replacements if they prove more useful. There’s a nice sequence of events where Palpatine lectures Vader, drilling the lesson home. It’s accompanied by some nice close-ups of Vader and Palpatine which helps bring out the emotion. Yet Vader’s dialog with Aphra afterwards really drives it home. He’s in no mood for chit chat.
Had the comic ended there, it still would have been a good story, but it would have lacked the knock-your-socks-off effect. Instead, the story continues on, tying in with Star Wars #6. In that comic, Boba Fett had to deliver the bad news that his target got away. But, he did get a name. In this issue, we see that same series of events play out again, but in more detail and with further dialog. On top of that, we see that this followed the events mentioned previously. Vader just got done meeting his replacements. He got chewed out by his master. Heck, one of the cyborg twins stole his kill. He’s pretty pissed off. Then he learns that the pilot who blew up the Death Star was named Skywalker? Well, his anger swells against his master and the wheels start spinning. The glimpses into his character motivation and thought process as the information sinks in is truly wonderful. You can sympathize with him. You can feel his anger as it’s bubbling out of the panels and spider webbing across the cracked transparisteel viewport. As if that wasn’t enough, he calls the Emperor and seals the deal. It lays out the groundwork for what unfolds in The Empire Strikes Back. Thus this comic manages to add depth to Vader while simultaneously tying it all in to the films and enriching the experience.
With the seamless line between the dialog and the artwork, this issue creates a wonderful story that’s loaded with emotional impact. The series has definitely hit its peak. You can’t get much better than this. Thus I give Darth Vader #6 a five out of five metal bikinis.