Page 45 Review by Stephen
"The Darth to the Vader
Flip over the crossfader
I'll serenade you with a bag of space raiders
Or Walkers or Smiths or maybe even quavers."
You Knows I Love You Baby - Goldie Lookin Chain
I have always seriously wanted to believe that the various buttons and LEDs on Darth Vader's chest activated breakbeat samples and some different vocoder options, perhaps a Cornish accent, rather than just being some ridiculously vulnerable life support system. I have my suspicions he would be a bit of a dad dancer, mind you, though you never know, he might well be able to moonwalk across the road, always looking both ways first, of course, obeying the Green Cross Code. If anyone is going to unveil the mysteries of Darth's lighter side, it's going to be Kieron Gillen, I feel.
Some of my favourite sequences in the seventies Star Wars run of comics featured the original man in black throwing his telekinetic weight around and administering virtual Chinese burns to the throats of his cowering lackeys. Even as five-year-olds playing Star Wars in the playground for months afterwards, no one minded being Darth, simply because he was cool. Even my little four-year-old nutjob spotted the cover of this issue at home and commented, "Who's that? He's not a goodie, is he? I like his mask, though."
Having recently had a revelatory conversation with said nutjob regarding the Maleficent film, how it was possible for someone to start off being nice but end up a baddie due to unfortunate things happening to them, I therefore explained that this was the same scenario. "But is he good again in the end, like Maleficent?" was the next question, which I knew full well was coming. When I said that indeed, there was a happy ending and Darth helps save the day, all was well in the nutjob's world.
We can perhaps leave the irredeemable villains of the universe like Ming the Merciless for a little while yet, I think, and thus we moved on to the merits of a lightsabre versus a regular sword... "I bet it's easier to cut someone's head off with a lightsabre than a sword, isn't it daddy?" Truly, I feel the moment of sitting down and watching Star Wars IV together is edging ever nearer...
Anyway, I really enjoyed this first volume: Kieron does an excellent job of showing Darth does have his own mind and isn't just the Emperor's preferred implement of inducing blunt Force trauma. In fact, it's what the Emperor is getting up to behind his back which is intriguing our Lord of Sith, believing as he did that he was the Emperor's most trusted and valuable lieutenant. Given the dressing down and demotion he's just received, being instructed to start taking orders from Baron Tagge (excellent he was one of my favourite characters in the original run), he decides he needs to chalk up something in the win column, and soon. Cue a little friendly lightsabre-twirling, telekinetic throat-tickling chat with Jabba The Hut to engage the services of a certain green-helmeted bounty hunter whom he tasks with tracking down the naughty young master Skywalker. That should set the chest lights flashing, I reckon. Great opener with lovely art from Salvador Larroca, you can practically hear the asthmatic wheezing when Darth is glowering at all and sundry.