I find it kind of funny that these days the Marvel Comics titles that I’m most excited about are the Star Wars books. I mean, I grew up in the 1980s. Of course I love Star Wars. But to be honest, I’ve never been that much of a Star Wars comics fan. But that’s been changing.
Darth Vader #1 was a fine first issue. Not to mention, that this is apparently the first Darth Vader ongoing series. Writer Kieron Gillen puts the Sith lord into a situation where he actually appears to be sympathetic.
The series is set after the events of A New Hope, and Vader’s relationship with the Emperor is strained. After all, the Death Star did just get destroyed. Anyway, after a brow-beating from the Emperor, Vader is off to Tatooine for a meeting with Jabba the Hutt.
These scenes were so well done, with Jabba trying to lure Vader over the infamous trap door. The two have some Empire related business to attend to, but the real importance of the meeting is that Vader needs some bounty hunters (Bobba Fett and an evil Wookie named Black Krrsantan) to:
- Find out who the mysterious young Jedi (Luke Skywalker) is.
- To learn more about the shady new figure that the Emperor has let into his inner circle.
And while on Tatooine, Vader gets to get some anger out by slaying a Tuskan Raider outpost.
As for the art, Salvador Larocca just nails everything. It has the same visual feel as the movies.
I’ll admit; I probably should have been reading Kieron Gillen’s Journey Into Mystery to have a better understanding of what was going on. This volume collects the series’ final arc, which was a cross over with The Mighty Thor. It’s up to Kid Loki and Thor to save everyone, and tie up the loose ends of Gillen’s run on Journey and Matt Fraction’s on The Mighty Thor.
Unfortunately, I picked this up completely cold. There is a lot of stuff going on that required tons and tons of Googleing to figure out. What happened–or at least what I think happened–was that Kid Loki has been feuding with the spirit of his older self all this time. And as a result, he’s somehow freed the fire demon Surtur. So it is up to him and his older brother Thor to save the universe.
There’s a lot of deception, trickery and flat-out lying between all the characters, as well as allusions to some of the previous plot lines in Journey Into Mystery. All of this really confused me to the point that I still don’t have a clue as to what exactly happened. So I’m going to ask you my reader pals what happened.
What I do feel comfortable talking about was how much I liked Alan Davis’ art on the Thor parts of this. He’s such a great–and underutilized–artist.
But getting back to this, I’m going to say that it’s pretty forgettable unless you have been following the Journey series. If you were a faithful reader of that series, I will give it a hearty recommendation. And if you knew what happened in this, please let me know!
I read the second collected volume of the new Uncanny X-Men and it didn’t really do anything for me. It felt like it was just another X-Men adventure. Cyclops’ team is off to Tabula Rasa, some super evolved civilization from the future that has popped up in Montana, and in turn have to save its inhabitants from certain disaster.
It was like something we’ve seen on Star Trek: The Next Generation a million times over. But writer Kieron Gillen did a few things of note in these issues. He plants some seeds for the Avengers/X-Men feud/crossover, mostly showing the tense relationship that Cyclops and Captain America have as leaders of their respective groups.
Magneto and Psylocke don’t agree about anything philosophically, but there is an underlying respect. Magneto is the only one in this group that knows that Psylocke has been going out on more, um, violent and extreme missions as part of Wolverine’s secret X-Force. There’s also a bit of a weird connection between Namor and Hope Summers, and there is a lot of flirting going on. Things get awkward after poor Namor alludes to having sex with a crayfish-like alien queen and Hope seems both disgusted and jealous as a result. Super weird. I really don’t know what they were getting at and it was just uncomfortable all around.
So how would I rate this? I’ll give this a thumbs in the middle; it’s recommended only for completists or super fans of Gillen.