Vader: Star Wars Darth Vader Vol. 1
by Kieron Gillen (author) and Salvador Larocca (illustrator)
2015, 160 pages, 6.8 x 10.2 x 0.2 inches (softcover)
The graphic novel Vader is the first installment of the series, Star Wars Darth Vader. Published by Marvel, this book collects into one volume the first six issues of Darth Vader. It begins with Vader’s perspective on events of A New Hope. They reflect his need for vengeance because he is in a world of trouble after a really disastrous day at the office. The death star has been destroyed meaning the rule of law is in danger. Sith Lord Darth Vader has failed his master, the emperor, with all that entails for his own personal safety as well as the fact he must seek retribution.
To do that, first he journeys to meet with Jabba the Hutt. Darth Vader wants to work a deal with Jabba and will use force to get it one way or another. Having been a survivor of one of the worst military disasters in the history of the empire and having laid a trap that backfired, Darth Vader has a lot to be responsible for according to the Emperor. Darth Vader wants to find those who escaped on the Millennium Falcon, especially one person in particular, and to destroy any and all who helped them in the past or now.
He is doing all of that while being placed in a subordinate role having been demoted by the Emperor for his failure. Much of what happened prior to this book is referenced here by taking out Luke and inserting Vader into the scenes as everything is told from his perspective. As such prequels and flashbacks make up a significant part of the book. Those journeys into the past serve to enhance the storyline as it moves forward in time as well as refreshing the memory of the reader. It is a nice touch and works very well.
Filled with colorful panels, detailed artwork, and multiple storylines, the pages fly by as Darth Vader’s quest for vengeance unfolds. Writer Kieron Gillen, through panels created by Salvador Larroca, tells a wide-ranging tale that answers some questions while creating many more presumably to be answered in the rest of the series. Colorist Edgar Delgado brings the images to life with vivid colors as well as subtle shading accenting both shadows and the dark forces at work. The artwork is quite impressive and really brings the images to life. If Vader is representative of the following installments of the Star Wars: Darth Vader series, this collection of graphic novels will be a visual and storytelling treat.
– Kevin Tipple