I have been reading and enjoying Charles Soule’s Darth Vader run from the very beginning. His handle on both The Dark Lord and his nefarious master, The Emperor is uncanny. The most appealing aspect is the time period in which he’s chosen to tell this story. This is Darth Vader early in his practice as a Sith and the conflicts he finds himself entangled in are those that form him into the towering form evil that we first see in Star Wars Episode IV, the first film. In Darth Vader #11, the Sith Lord hunts down a lead that suggests a Jedi sighting has occurred and finds himself being the hunted.
The concept behind this new arc almost seems laughable once you make it a few pages in. A group of people trying to hunt Darth Vader? Really? Who in their right mind would take up a job like that? Well, first of all it’s probably important to note that people don’t know who Vader is. In fact, they don’t even know what a Sith is. Like in previous issues of this run, he’s referred to as a Jedi, which seems asinine to long-time fans familiar with the distinction between the two. Lo and behold, they have no idea what they are getting themselves into.
I must note how prepared they are for this job, however. With a first priority of taking his weapon, followed by the ion grenade, which is essentially a short range. EMP pulse, it seems they knew what they were doing. I found a slight issue with this scene however, because Vader has a suit that sustains him using technology. It would have made sense for the ion grenade to knock out it’s functionality as well, but no such thing happens. It would have been a nice issue for him to have to deal with while fighting the familial bounty hunters and even if they didn’t realize how effective the grenade had been. Still the scene turned out to be entertaining enough, especially with the destruction of his stolen lightsaber.
I enjoyed the addition of the Inquisitor that accompanies him on the mission as well. The ninth sister is an alien of an unknown race with bulky, brutish features, that shatter expectations conditioned by the starkly opposite human feminine features. What I like about her is her apathy despite knowing Darth Vader’s callousness with an intimate understanding. She makes more than one snippy statement to which she doesn’t get immediately force choked for. Somehow, I admire that as some sort of accomplishment.
Camuncoli remains a genius of art on his own right. Truly appreciate the fan details in facial features. He makes a habit of the forward facing half shadowed headshots in a good way that makes way for stalwart delivery of Soule’s dialogue. Furthermore, I really like the details behind each new character’s clothing design he does something unique for each of the bounty hunters, granting them each their own endearing styles. Even the Ninth Sister’s design and armor was a spectacle to behold.
Then topped off with strong inks from Orlandini to make the pencil work pop, it makes for very clean work. Of course, once Curiel’s colors are laid over it we get something to truly behold. I love shots such as the aerial view of the bar and the high way and the layers of shading that went into the colors that bring them to life. It helps lead us neatly into the classic modern high way chase scene we get in classic action movies. Which by the way are also drawn and colored beautifully. This is certainly a top-notch art team.
The little twist at the end of this issue has me excited for the next. Especially since the arc is set up to tell us how Vader deal with different situations in his development into the villain we all know. I’m curious to explore his and the Emporer’s all but sadistic relationship. I am ready for Darth Vader #12.
Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 Broken Lightsabers.
As Written on The Marvel Report.