Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Star Wars The Force Unleashed GN
Dark Horse Books
Blackman, Ching, Dazo, Nichols, Atiyeh & Heisler
Inspired by the video game, this graphic novel explores the hidden apprentice that Darth Vader had at one time. This comic steps itself up only a couple of years prior to the Battle of Yavin. This comic delivers all the aspects of Star Wars that you might expect from the prequel trilogy, but with the tone that the original trilogy had. It has excellent art and makes use of the Republic comic series as well as others from the Expanded Universe. It’s an excellent read.
Vader finds a boy of a Jedi (apparently) and he raises him to follow his orders. Basically he is trying to create a little monster of his own, much like the Emperor created him. Generally, the idea is that Vader will have someone to help him kill the Emperor.
The story isn’t just about the apprentice (Starkiller) and Vader though. This comic has plenty of supporting characters, some you may remember from the movies like Bail Organa or the Emperor. Others fill the role of love interest: Juno, comedy relief/narrator: a droid named Proxy and old Jedi: Shaak Ti. The story uses them all to help advance plot and advance the character of Starkiller.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed TPB
Basically, Vader sends Starkiller, Proxy and Juno (the driver) all around the galaxy to complete tasks of Vader’s vengeance. However, something goes wrong and the Emperor gets involved. Things get fuzzy as to who betrays whom, but Starkiller finds a different objective he is working towards by the end. The comic uses multiple layers of deception. This is particularly true in Vader’s case. Since we know that he ultimately turns on the Emperor we are sort of led to believe he is trying to achieve that with this Starkiller person. However, Vader likes to play both sides as he seems to be filling the Emperor in on his shenanigans all along. There is a ton more to this deceit than I am letting on here.
There are other items that work really well here. One of which is the homage paid to the original trilogy. One of the main characters from the films is in this comic and has a relevant role. Also, the use of things like Cloud City, carbonite and even something as small as the sensor Han uses on Hoth to find Luke all helps tie this comic firmly in the original trilogy’s wheelhouse.
However, the comic doesn’t rely heavily on the space battles and the constant fighting of the regular man that the original trilogy provides. Instead it stays in line with the prequels using the whole master and apprentice stuff tied to the betrayal and secret Sith. It works because it isn’t trying to force a character into an established end state. The end state for this guy is we expect him to fail and most likely die, but if he doesn’t and becomes a hermit that would be okay too.
The artwork is outstanding. I found this to be in keeping with all the Clone Wars comics that have come out in the last five years or so. It looks great even when it has to match faces to movie actors. Vader looks incredible.
All around I loved this comic. Sure, there are some questions that remain unanswered, but this comic was very entertaining delivers a solid read no matter which part of the Star Wars mythos you enjoy. I recommend this to any fan of Darth Vader especially. He is a menace throughout this entire comic. It was a pleasure.
5 out of 5 geek goggles