Darth Vader #8
Darth Vader #8
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado
Darth Vader #8 is a pretty good issue. Most of the artwork is still good quality, and the story starts out strong. The bounty hunters come in for a heist, and it’s all a part of Vader’s plan. However, things go a little astray toward the end. There are bits and pieces that felt out of place. But overall, it’s still a good issue.
First, I want to tackle the artwork. Personally, I had some issues with the imagery in this issue. Some of the artwork is great. There’s shots of Krrsantan in his ship that are just great examples of pencil work with the fine lines of the hairs actually creating the definition of his face. Shots like these were great to look at.
Then there were close-ups drilling the emotion of the story. While words can have an impact, a good panel can really underline the emotion, and the close-ups of Vader and Tagge perfectly exemplify the excellent usage of this technique. You have the cold, emotionless glare of Vader’s black mask versus the amazingly stoic and determine visage of Tagee who’s not willing to back down.
Aside from the pencil work, there’s some superb coloring. Shots of the probots dominated by red, blaring gold infusing the asteroid panel, and just the rich textures of the human faces, all of it stands out as highlights of the issue.
I mean just look at the richness in this character depictions. There’s that fine line work of the pencils again with a great use of colors and lighting to make the characters look lifelike and three dimensional.
And then there’s this.
What happened? What went wrong? When reading the comic, I came across this panel and stopped. Now if it’s a gorgeous panel, that’s not a bad thing, but whenever you stop in a comic because of a bad panel, that’s a terrible thing. It disrupts the flow of the story and can throw you out so far that it takes a while for you to get back into it. The longer it takes, the more of the story that is wasted. In this case, it was a somewhat small panel stretching across more than half the page but being shoved down to a sliver of the bottom. The textures are grainy which throws off the general style of the entire issue. Most of the textures are smooth and rich. Yet this panel has lots of little hash marks. Even worse, the size of the probot seems out of proportion to Bossk, which really throws things off. It makes it hard for your eyes to comprehend what’s going on. Is the droid in front of Bossk or behind him? Is it suppose to be huge? Is the angle of his wrist off? Even now, under close scrutiny, I can’t quite tell what the artist was trying to do. Regardless of intent, the slip up threw me out of the story for a moment. But that panel was not alone.
Panels like the one above also depicted very grainy artwork again. There were several this time, all in the moon cave. I’m not sure why the artist changed up their style, but the effect didn’t work. Instead it was jarring. Take both of the above panels and contrast them with the below panel. You have smooth textures versus grainy textures. Rich coloring versus subdued coloring. It’s an odd contrast.
Yet that style continued to fluctuate. Check out the next panel below. Here the pencils are softer and not quite as defined as those above. There’s a little bit of the grainy look seeping in with Vader’s cape and Tagge’s hand. Then there’s the simple looking Stormtrooper. It goes from looking really nice, to looking a few steps below in quality. While the inconsistencies in the art aren’t a dealbreaker, and overall the issue is still visually pleasing, the oddities did catch my attention and throw me off every now and then. Because of that, I have to deduct a couple points.
Another visual factor that threw me for a loop was Doctor Aphra. For most of the panels, she looks great. But there were two panels that caught me off guard. Below, the top right corner and then the image right below that are the ones that got me. The one below it less so than the top corner image. Most of the issue was going great. Aphra had her distinct look and it was consistent and easily recognizable. Then BAM, out of nowhere her nose disappears. It’s further accentuated with the wide set, small size eyes, but the big factor is the nose. Sometimes a small slip up can have a big effect, and in this case, screwing up the nose made her completely unrecognizable. This one not only threw me out of the story, but forced me to flip around to compare the image to other panels. It was that jarring. It’s a shame consider how well the other panels looked.
Leaving the artwork behind, the story kicked off with the heist and some excitement with the bounty hunters, then transitioned to a static piece on the bridge of Tagge’s command ship. The beginning was a lot more fun than the end. You get action, fun dialog, fun characters, and some excitement. Afterwards, it was all down hill. Part of the issue is that I’m still not on board with Tagge bossing Vader around and with him having to deal with all these peers fighting for attention. The twins, droid controller and Grievous-wanna-be just don’t strike me as strong characters yet. It would be easier to accept them if it was just one of the three, but instead we get the whole gang which feels too superhero in nature, each of the team having their unique superpowers. That, and the Mon Calamari guy is just too much of a Grievous copy to be taken seriously. Not only does he have a Grievous body, but he’s also a general bent on revenge. It’s too close to the mark.
The end brings yet another surprise. Vader gets a new adjutant. This time around, it’s an intelligent inspector. I’m not sure what to think about this character yet. On one hand, he’s too bright. He can detect subtle ionization of dust on Vader and magically pinpoint it to a unique property of the moon Vader was on. That seemed a little too convenient. On the other hand, I don’t like this inspector undermining Vader’s plan. That much at least is a good thing. It shows I’m invested in the story and in Vader. I just don’t know where this is going to go and how it’s going to work out. Hopefully it works out well. In the meantime, I’ll just have to wait and see.
Darth Vader #8 broke it’s stride a bit and threw me for a couple loops. It had some good parts, and it had some bad parts. Overall, I’m still on board and enjoying it, but I do have to rate this issue a little lower than previous few. I give Darth Vader #8 a four out of five metal bikinis.