Star Wars: Darth Vader #4 Review

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Vader will have his revenge.

While this new series has hardly been without its flaws so far, it has succeeded in justifying Marvel’s decision to publish a new Darth Vader comic so soon after wrapping up the previous volume. Aesthetically, tonally and in terms of setting, this Darth Vader comic feels like a whole different animal. The time period is the single most crucial difference between this Darth Vader comic and its predecessor.

Whereas Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca explored a Vader at the height of his power and mastery of the Dark Side, Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli are working with a much weaker and more uncertain Vader. His broken body lacks the raw power it once wielded as Anakin Skywalker, and he’s years away from becoming the precise, imposing warrior who singlehandedly hacks his way through Rebel armies. He’s uniquely vulnerable at this stage in his career, and that’s a fact that creative team continue to seize on in this issue.

Issue #3 showed us just how poorly matched this fledgling and lightsaber-less Sith Lord is against a fully trained Jedi Master. Much like Batman in The Dark Knight Returns, Vader realizes that his only hope against a physically stronger foe is to fight smart and dirty. And that’s what we get in this issue.

Soule and Camuncoli paint a compelling portrait of a man clinging to life through sheer willpower and rage and seeking his vengeance. Better yet, they don’t rely on intrusive narration. We don’t need to know what Vader is thinking as he rips apart a droid to patch his armor and rebuild his broken cybernetic limbs.

We feel the pain and hatred burning within Vader thanks to the powerful body language and dramatic framing.

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Nor do Soule and Camuncoli waste much time before getting to the big rematch between Vader and Kirak Infil’a. That second battle speaks very much to the inhuman evil that now grows beneath Vader’s armor. The idea that Vader would counter his superior foe by using Anfil’a’s nobility and selflessness against him speaks very much to Vader’s twisted character.

The desperation of this battle sets it dramatically apart from the films, but the core of the character is very much the same. Like most of the previous chapters, this issue is surprisingly quicker read. But whereas those earlier issues felt a but empty and hollow, Darth Vader #4 still plays out as a cohesive experience.

It wraps up the first leg of Vader’s quest to become a true Dark Lord of the Sith while showcasing how far he’s already come in such a short time. The Verdict Marvel’s new Darth Vader series seems to be finding its voice after a rough first couple months.

This new chapter takes a brutally streamlined approach to exploring the aftermath of Vader’s first battle with Kirak Infil’a and the destructive rematch that follows.

The violent imagery and dark plot twists speak to the idea of a fledgling Sith Lord claiming his place as the galaxy’s most feared villain.

References

  1. ^ Jesse Schedeen (people.ign.com)

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