Darth Vader Annual #1

Darth Vader Annual #1

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciller: Leinil Yu
Inker: Gerry Alanguilan
Colorist: Jason Keith
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Leinil Yu

What happens when you fail to meet the Empire’s quota? Well, you might get a visit from Vader. What happens when your subjects start leaning toward rebellion? You get a present! Darth Vader Annual #1 is a nice little one shot story with a few surprises and deliciously dark moments. For Vader fans, this one is worth checking out.

Darth Vader comes bearing gifts!

This story takes place on the volcano world of Shu-torun, somewhere in the Mid Rim. It’s a place rich in minerals and a key ingredient in the Empire’s war machine. When the locals start failing to meet their quotas, it warrants a visit from Darth Vader. As the story unfolds, the plot thickens, and treachery and rebellion spring their ugly heads. Thankfully Vader has his two trusty murder droids along to help him, good old BeeTee and Triple-Zero. Between the three of them, they pacify the rebels and bring Shu-torun to heel. All in a good day’s work for the Dark Lord of the Sith.

Kieron Gillen brings in some laughs with the two evil droids with their typical dark side humor. Whether it’s torturing droids or wiping everyone out and blaming it on mass heart attacks, there’s some good dark comedy. On the other hand, he introduced an interesting scenario by placing Vader in a ball. Threatened with a dance, Vader takes things to another level. It’s very sinister, but it keeps in character and it adds to the story. This is very much a power play between the nobles and the Empire. They want the Empire to bend to their wishes, but as the Empire’s agent, it’s up to Vader to make the nobles bend to them. That’s basically the gist of the story as Vader deals with the nobles and the royalty on the planet. It makes for a nice, self-contained story.

The artwork is a bit different and reminded me a lot of Colin Wilson’s line work. There’s not as much detail, but it hits here and there for some good panels, and overall it all works pretty good. It’s a different flavor, and it might not work for everyone, but I liked it. The coloring is a bit muted, but it still works, though there is a lot of red.

Here’s a good example of the linework. It’s a rough, raw style.

One visual aspect I really liked in this issue is the before and after of the throne room. The issue opens with this beautiful shot of a gleaming throne room with a picturesque glimpse of the volcanic plains outside.

After the chaos of quelling the rebellion, the place is a mess. The hellish volcano landscape is now mirrored inside the once pristine court of the king.

Yet my favorite panel is the parting shot. Heavy is the crown. Vader leaves the new ruler of the planet in the ruins of their glory. Gone is their pride and their ambition. The iron fist of the Empire shows that it has no mercy for those who oppose it. Yet it always manages to find a way to manipulate its subjects into continued service. An evil cycle with Vader keeping the gears oiled. While the story itself is pretty straightforward, there’s some nice subtext and themes to it if you take the time to look a little deeper.

I give Darth Vader Annual #1 a five out of five metal bikinis. I liked the story and the artwork. It’s exactly what a one-shot should be.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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