Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #3

Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #4

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

The biggest battlefield disaster the Empire had ever known. That’s how Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #3 opens. Page after page, this issue is full of intrigue as clone trooper CT-5539, aka Hock Malsuum, recounts the battle and the events that took place. It also shows a side of Vader that isn’t pushed much: failure. The Dark Lord doesn’t just make one mistake in this issue, he makes three.

Opening the story is a stoic shot of fire and charred Imperial walkers. The narration sets up the plot as we see the end of the disaster about to unfold. Yet the art team doesn’t slack up there. The very next page shows a beautiful shot of the planet with a very nice brush stroke texture. Further enhancing the image is the crisp lighting which forms a blue haze around the surface. Then Vader creeps into the scene with his glossy black helmet. It’s a great series of panels, slowly pulling the reader back as the shot zooms out.

As the comic transitions to the surface of the planet, the panels turn orange, broken by the pure white armor of the clone troopers in their battle formations. Hock takes part in the mission which we know ends in disaster. Panel by panel, the details are revealed. An incompetent commander. Mistakes made by Lord Vader. And a crafty enemy. Hock tries to salvage to the situation, but to no avail. The Imperials are out maneuvered by a man named General Atticus Farstar, who has a slight resemblance to Obi-Wan Kenobi.

One of the strongest points in this issue is the focus of the panels. The setup of each one is like a finely crafted cinematic shot. You see Farstar staring up defiantly at the clone troopers gathered up on a high ridge. A few pages later, a panel shows him in full battle pose, leading his troops with his battered banner flying in the background. Smaller panels denote the action, but it’s the larger sized panels that really drive home the impact and emotion as the story goes along. For instance, on page 12 there’s a dominating panel of Hock coming to a realization of what’s happening. It’s followed by a series of smaller panels, continuing the story and the train of though, but that large top panel dominates the page like a capstone. Further selling the story, each small panel gets a lot of detail, thus keeping the reader engrossed scene after scene.

When the battle comes to a close, the comic prepares to layout its last set of surprises. As an EU fan, I loved the panel showing Tarkin, the Emperor, Armand Isard and one of the Emperor’s Imperial Advisers all in the same scene. But there are much bigger surprises than that. For his loyalty, Vader rewards Hock with a new assignment, one that had me amped to plunge into the next issue.

So far, Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows has done a great job of creating a deeply intriguing story. Each issue brings new surprises and more reasons to get hooked. With the wonderful artwork bringing the story to life, this Star Wars mini-series is one of the best out there right now. I give Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #3 a five out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.
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