Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command #1 of 5
Dark Horse Comics
Blackman, Leonardi & Green
Darth Vader gets a mission to rescue an Imperial Admiral from his disappointed and doubting Emperor in a strong debut issue for this mini series. Darth Vader stories seem to be limited in terms of what they can cover. He either hunts down Jedi or he crushes some sort of Rebel stronghold. Usually they end with some sort of lesson from the Emperor. However, this comic book is different because it explores Vader’s rivalry with Grand Moff Tarkin and it also explores Vader’s decision to lop off Mace Windu’s arm from the film Revenge of the Sith. I found the issue to be strong in new and familiar areas of what makes Darth Vader such a great character.
The book opens with the best scene. Anakin and Padme are together, holding hands and discussing the events that led to Anakin bringing Darth Sidious to justice. Anakin speaks about how their unborn son will have to decide on his own path and how Anakin won’t force him into the Jedi order. This dream sequence is occurring as Vader, limbless, is being worked on by some medical droids. The scenes are striking because of the contrast between such strong love and intense pain. The art brings out the emotions and takes the reader through a difficult transformation from dream to reality.
The next scenes are equal to the task as the opening ones as they bring in Grand Moff Tarkin. Tarkin and Vader verbally have at it in front of the Emperor as Tarkin calls out Vader’s inability to complete missions. He mentions a failed mission to protect an AT-AT factory, which was from a previous Star Wars comic book story. While a footnote would have been handy here the implication is not lost. Tarkin is solidifying himself as number two in the pecking order and it seems the Emperor sides with him. The mannerisms of Tarkin in this comic are spot on with the original Star Wars film. Vader receives the mission to search out Tarkin’s lost son, an Admiral.
The remainder of the issue is a fairly familiar story about Darth Vader on a mission. He’s barking out orders and leading the charge with this lightsaber in hand. He interrogates, kills and shows no fear. The second half of the issue is what you would expect from a Darth Vader story except for the cliffhanger ending.
The artwork is all over the place. It ranges from amazing, such as the scenes with Vader hanging in the medical wires being worked on by the droids, to awkward, such as the scene where Vader walks in to see the Emperor with square, block-like shoulders. I enjoyed the Emperor and Tarkin depictions the most in this book as I felt they mirrored the films perfectly while adding some subtle nuisances to them, making them stand out. Overall the issue is good visually and keeps a nice pace going throughout.
If you think you have read every kind of Darth Vader comic then you would be wrong. This issue adds something to actually dig into some of the interactions the character has with other characters. It’s got emotion and depth, plus it’s got a lot of action. Overall this was the start of what looks to be a great mini series.
4 out of 5 Geek Goggles