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Marvel Star Wars Comic Review: Darth Vader No. 20

Spoilers for Marvel’s current Darth Vader title are ahead…

Darth Vader

Divided loyalties are a no-no in the Dark Lord’s Inquisitorious; except, perhaps, if you are Darth Vader himself.

Like much of the series, the latest outing of Charles Soule and Company — “Fortress Vader: Part II” — continues to rival the best chapters in any of the new novels and often outdistances all but the best entries in the current canon regarding pure excitement.

Picking up where we left off in No. 19, the depth of Sith depravity again shows itself to be a bottomless pit, rather than a definitive destination. With master versus minions, the Inquisitors’ constant confusion contrasts the confidence with which padawans (and often clone troops) interacted with the Jedi, as Dark Side disciples flee death.

Literally cutting a path of deception, death, and destruction throughout Coruscant, Vader, determined to “discipline” his flirtatious apprentices, decimates the Corpus Inquisitorius and leaves actual corpses in his wake.

The Rule of Two being, well, the Rule of Two, none of this bothers the Emperor too much, of course. The darkest Lord of the Sith revels in the death, fear, and destruction wrought by Vader, except when it drops on the head of a diplomat important to the Emperor’s plans.

Nevertheless, in deference to a successful recent mission, Palpatine “rewards” a familiar Nubian Yacht to his apprentice, whose hangar also holds other memorable Prequel-era machinery.

However, and owing to Vader’s rage and unpredictability (not to mention the body-count in the Galactic Capitol City) Sheev looks to move the Inquisitor program elsewhere.

Something tells me the remaining black-clad Brothers and Sisters will be looking to pick up some breathable fashions before moving off-world.

This outing is a real-good issue of Darth Vader. Soule’s is Soule, the art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Daniele Orlandini, Dono Sanchez-Almara and Erick Arciniega is compelling (except for one panel which became the “butt” of a couple of Twitter jokes); not so with the cover, which left me a little underwhelmed as too derivative of issue No. 1.

That oversight and a slight lack of exposition (yes you read that correctly) between Vader and Palpatine dropped this one to 4/5 stars, but definitely in the realm of a must-read. Check out a very spoilery preview here.

Darth Vader

The next issue arrives in your local shop on September 12.

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John Bishop

A graduate of Boston and Northeastern universities, John Bishop became the beat reporter for BostonBruins.com prior to the B’s 2006-07 hockey season. While with the Bruins, “Bish” traveled North America and Europe to cover the Black & Gold’s every move via laptop, blog, and smart phone. The co-author of two books, Bygone Boston and Full 60 to History: The Inside Story of the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, John covered the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010 and the B’s 2011 championship run and banner raising before taking a faculty/communications position at a prep school outside Boston in 2013. He lives with his wife Andrea and sons Jack, Scott, and Luke in central Massachusetts.
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