In the wake of The Rebel Alliance’s destruction of The Death Star, Sith Lord Darth Vader has lost much face with his Master, Darth Sidious a.k.a. The Emperor Palpatine. Forced to serve under the command of Grand General Tagge as an act of penance, Lord Vader has recruited his own team of specialists to work for him in secret. Their first mission is to identify and capture the Force-sensitive pilot responsible for destroying The Death Star. While the Rebel proves amazingly resourceful in avoiding pursuit, the bounty hunter Boba Fett is able to deliver the pilot’s name— Skywalker.

Forced to contend with the petty politics of The Empire as well as a group of science-enhanced super-soldiers who seek to replace Vader as The Emperor’s right-hand, Vader must play a careful game as he considers this new information. Could it be possible that the child he thought dead somehow survived the death of his wife and that his Master has been lying to him for nearly twenty years?!

Saddled with a new aide-de-camp who is undoubtedly a spy for Grand General Tagge, Vader is unable to pursue the matter directly after being sent to investigate the destruction of a cargo ship carrying a small fortune in Imperial credits. Unfortunately, it quickly becomes apparent that the heist is the work of Vader’s underlings, who were meant to be investigating the rebel called “Skywalker.” Can Vader successfully throw his handler off their trail? And will his underlings survive his wrath if he does so?

Kieron Gillen’s scripts for this series continue to be, to quote Lord Vader himself, “most impressive.” The plotting here rivals the original Star Wars films in thrills, with a fair bit of intrigue throw into the bargain. Gillen also has a great ear for dialogue and one can hear James Earl Jones’ voice reading Vader’s lines and Triple Zero and BT-1 continue to be the greatest comedic characters added into the Star Wars universe in some time.

The artwork matches the scripts in complexity and grace. The amount of detail artist Salvadora Larroca fits into every page of this graphic novel is truly astonishing, while still showing an unusually accurate level of photo-realism. Colorist Edgar Delgado does an equally fantastic job of establishing the mood of each scene through subtle palette shifts, with grey/blue shades being used to imply sudden shivers running up spines and aggressive reds tinting the scenes of violence.

This volume is rated T for audiences 12 and up and I consider that a fair rating. There’s nothing in this volume that would be inappropriate for any audience capable of handling the original trilogy of Star Wars movies. There is no sexual content of any kind or nudity. There is a considerable amount of action-based violence—soldiers being shot with lasers and the like—but nothing horrifically illustrated.

Star Wars: Darth Vader vol. 2: Shadows And Secrets 2
by Kieron Gillen
Art by Salvador Larroca Edgar
ISBN: 9780785192565
Marvel Comics, 2016
Publisher Age Rating: T (12+)

  • Matt

    | He/Him Librarian

    Reviewer

    A librarian with over 10 years experience in public and academic settings, Matthew Morrison has been blogging about comic books for nearly as long as they’ve had a word for it.  Over the past two decades, he has written regular columns, commentary, parodies and reviews for such websites and blogs as Fanzing, 411 Mania, Screen Rant and Comics Nexus.  He has served as an Expert in Residence for a seminar on Graphic Novels and Comics for Youth and Adults at the University of North Texas and has given several lectures on the history of comics, manga and cosplay culture at libraries and comic conventions around the country. In addition to his work for No Flying No Tights, he is the Contributing Editor of Kabooooom.com and maintains a personal blog at MyGeekyGeekyWays.com.

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