Retro Review – Vader Chases His Past in Marvel’s Darth Vader #1 (2015)
Welcome back for another Retro Review! It is a major bummer that no new Star Wars comics are currently being released, but I have to say that I am enjoying looking back on some of my favorite Star Wars comics. This week, we are looking into Kieron Gillen’s Darth Vader run. I will be reviewing the first issue of the story which was originally released February 11th, 2015. Gillen did a fantastic job with his time writing about the dark lord we all love so much. The art work is also amazing in this series and was done by Salvador Larroca. If any of you reading this haven’t had the chance to read this run, I highly suggest checking it out!
Before starting, it should be known that this particular story takes place right after “A New Hope” and the destruction of the first Death Star.
We begin on Tattooine. Lord Vader is paying a visit to a familiar crime boss, Jabba the Hutt. Vader enters the palace in his own special way, taking out two Gamorrean guards and intimidating Jabba’s Twi’lek minion Bib Fortuna. Vader enters Jabba’s thrown room and demands all his audience to leave the room. He then asks Jabba for a favor, not for the Empire but for himself. Jabba is amused by this and brings up that Vader has a high price on his head by the Rebellion. Vader is in no mood for games or small talk but Jabba continues on. He makes the mistake of calling Vader a Jedi; that was the final straw. Vader ignites his crimson lightsaber while Jabba’s men open fire. He makes easy work of them all and begins to force choke the Hutt. After this, he has Jabba’s full attention and proceeds to tell him what he needs… ( We find out later in the issue that he requests the best bounty hunters that Jabba has.)
We then flash back to a day earlier in the Imperial palace on Coruscant. Lord Vader is meeting with Sidious to discuss a failed mission that was foiled by the Rebellion. The Emperor is not pleased with Vader at this point, this particular failed mission is right after the destruction of the Death Star. Sidious proceeds to tell Vader that he is to blame for the fall of the planet-destroying weapon. With Grand Moff Tarkin and Admiral Motti killed in the explosion, Vader is the only one left to take all the blame. Sidious then informs him that he will now be answering to General Tagge, who was lucky enough to escape before the Death Star’s final destruction.
Vader is none too pleased by this; he doesn’t take kindly to taking orders from people he considers inferior to himself. Sidious and Vader return from their conversation back to the thrown room where someone is waiting to meet with Sidious. Vader has never seen this person before and asks his master who he is. Sidious says that it is none of his concern. We see here the lies and deception that Sidious, and the Sith, play with their apprentices. Because of this, we see Vader start to withhold his own information from his master. This is the beginning of Vader leading his own path and taking matters into his own hands. Another reason why this series by Gillen is so great!
We then shift back to Tatooine. Sidious has sent Vader there to have dealings with the Hutts. Laying the groundwork for the revival of the Death Star, but Vader has his own motives in mind. We see him meeting with the two bounty hunters that Jabba recruited for him, the great Boba Fett and the fearsome Wookiee, Black Krrsantan. Vader instructs them that they will be going after two people. Boba will be looking for the X-Wing Rebel pilot that is responsible for destroying the Death Star. Black Krrsantan will be tracking the mysterious agent that was meeting with Sidious. Simple enough a job for the pair. The first issue ends with Vader completing his final act of business on Tatooine – exterminating a village of Tusken Raiders!
Review and Rating:
After re-reading this issue, it reminded me of how great this run was! One of the reasons I love comics is that it tells the stories between the films. Vader tracking down Luke and his dealings with Jabba and the Emperor are so fun to read. I also love how he is taking things into his own hands. Love or hate Sidious, we all know the mind games he plays. He is a master manipulator and takes joy in the suffering of others, especially his apprentice. This also shows that Vader has had dealings with Boba Fett before recruiting him in The Empire Strikes Back. This series also includes a fan favorite character, Doctor Aphra. I highly recommend this run to all who haven’t read it yet.