Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #2

Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #2 (of 5)

Writer: Tim Siedell
Artist: Gabriel Guzman
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Cover Artist: Felipe Massafera

Tim Siedell continues Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows with a story that has almost no dialog. Like issue #1, #2 is told almost entirely through narration by the Clone Trooper CT-5539. He recounts his survival on the plains of Malsuum, his rise through the clone trooper ranks, and seeing Darth Vader in action. Complemented with some really exquisite artwork by Gabriel Guzman and Michael Atiyeh, Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows is a standout comic.

As a lover of books, I kind of like the use of narration in this series so far. It adds a unique storytelling aspect to issues. While such a technique risks being overused, so far it’s working in this series, at least for me. Clone Trooper CT-5539 is recounting the events of his life. From his survival on Malsuum and vicious womp rats, to his ascension among the clone trooper ranks and his acquisition of Darth Vader’s attention. Strewn into the storyline are some tangible asides. A Cerean Jedi displayed in a cage amongst a cheering populace. Vader slaying a group of Jedi in a chaotic battle. Plus the legend of a Mandalorian anomaly named Kaddak, a clone trooper who took his name from the Mandalorian destroyer god.

The story weaves in intriguing elements while carry through a storyline for CT-5539. By issue #2, we’re given quite a bit of character development for the clone. In this issue he gets a name and a promotion. But like the previous issue, there isn’t a lot of Vader in the story. He’s there, but only briefly. The sparing use of his character helps build him up as something special. It instigates a hunger in the reader to see more of Vader. Meanwhile the story creates an attachment to CT-5539, who we eventually find out is named Hock. He hates Jedi, which is certainly no way to gain empathy with the reading audience, but he’s also likable. When faced with adversity, he overcomes. He sets a goal for himself, and he achieves it. He pushes himself, he works hard, and he gets what he wants. These small things are very easy to empathize with and to admire. I found myself wanting him to succeed. It also raises questions.

So far, we don’t really know where the series is heading. Hock wants revenge against the Jedi and he wants to ally with Vader in order to get his vengeance…but where is that going to take him? We have three more issues to find out. On top of that, will Hock’s journey end as we all expect it to, in death, or will he be one of the rare characters who allies with Vader and doesn’t suffer a sad fate? That’s all left to be seen.

One thing that readers definitely get to see in this issue is some stunning artwork. Gabriel Guzman really ups his game in this series, and with the excelling coloring of Michael Atiyeh, the artwork worth taking notice of. It’s not often that comic art makes me stop and stare at a page in awe, but this one did just that. I couldn’t help but be struck by the gorgeous sunset shot of the clone troopers climbing ropes while a Mandalorian instructor stands in silhouette on a gunship. The artwork on that full page shot is very simple, but the gorgeous coloring makes it stand out. It evokes emotion. The longer you look at it, the more you see. From the careful placement of the characters, to its connections with the narration of the story. It was easily my favorite page in the whole issue.

The rest of the artwork holds up with a great, vibrant style that blends detail with a classic comic book look. It’s like a really well done cartoon. The characters don’t have any abstraction to them, which I like. It keeps them from looking cartoony. Gabriel also sprinkles in a lot of close-up shots that are very detail oriented, thus raising the general quality of the artwork. As a fan of the KOTOR games, I was pleasantly surprised to see some Selkath, which was a really nice touch. However, if you look closely, you’ll notice some of the clone troopers in those scenes are SCUBA troopers. That kind of attention to detail adds a lot of enjoyment to the issue as readers can take their time to drink in each panel.

Great artwork and an intriguing story make Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #2 worth checking out. It’s a different style of storytelling, especially in a comic medium, but it works well with the gorgeous artwork. While Vader doesn’t get a ton of attention, Mandalorian fans are sure to love the direction of the story. As a fan of both, I give it a five out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.
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