Comic Review: Return to Vader’s Castle #1

Published: IDW Publishing
Writer: Cavan Scott
Penciler: Francesco Francavilla (Pages 1-2 & 19-20), Megan Levens (Pages 3-18)
Colourist: Francesco Francavilla (Pages 1-2 & 19-20), Charlie Kirchoff (Pages 3-18)
Letterer: AndWorld Design
Cover Artist: Francesco Francavilla

The synopsis;

The Horned Devil!

This exciting weekly series explores the hidden corners of the Star Wars Galaxy and features a wretched hive of scum and villainy including Darth Maul, Grand Moff Tarkin, Asajj Ventress, Jabba the Hutt-all under the shadow of Darth Vader!

Fans will be excited to discover these creepy stories by fan-favourite writer Cavan Scott, with art by the greatest talent from across the galaxy, including Nicoletta Baldari, Nick Brokenshire, Francesco Francavilla, Kelley Jones, Megan Levens, and Charles Paul Wilson III! Covers by Eisner-winning artist Francesco Francavilla! Collect them all!

The review;

It comes to something when you have to play the “I’m the Editor” card and fight off the rest of the literature team with a gaderffii stick to review a new series. The furore around Star Wars Adventures: Return to Vader’s Castle has been buzzing around since it was announced and it’s upon us now. Last October we were treated to 5 issues of Cavan Scott genius accompanied by brilliant artwork. What are we going to get this time around?

In Return to Vader’s Castle #1, Cavan Scott brings us a story of Darth Maul, and the demonic looking Sith is portrayed on the ‘A’ cover by Francesco Francavilla. Like the covers for the last series, he is against the silhouette of Vader in the background and Maul is ominously looming large over his intended prey. In total there are 4 more variants, including 2 Retailer Incentives and a Convention Exclusive. The ‘B’ cover is by the fantastic Megan Levens who is ably assisted on colours by Charlie Kirchoff. The first RI cover is a black and white version of the ‘A’ cover and the second is a brilliant montage of the characters that we will see this series by Derek Charm. This cover is my favourite, but I do love them all! The Convention Exclusive is Charm’s cover in black and white.

Vanee, Vader’s major-domo, decides to recite a story of Maul to an unseen subject within the depths of Vader’s Castle. He tells a story of 4 new recruits to the crew of SALVAGE-1, under the command of Captain Spikewheel, who is a droid. He abandons them on the surface of the junk world of Lotho Minor and says they must survive 24 hours to win a permanent place on his crew. As we all know, this isn’t going to end well, especially when you know Scott has been relistening to Stephen King novels in the build up to writing this series!

From that point on, I’m not going to reveal any of the plot line, but I definitely have plenty to think about.

We have the same format this time around, but on this occasion Derek Charm has stood down to let Francesco Francavilla take the present-day part of the story. This is a great choice. Francavilla has done a lot of work on Star Wars Adventures previously and I have always admired his work. Vanee to me is so well drawn and comes across as crazy as he looks.

This can also be said for Maul too. Maul was quite incoherent when he was first reintroduced during The Clone Wars series and this is the same version of him here. Levens and Kirchoff have combined to bring us some amazing illustrations in the story that Vanee tells.

The storyline ends with a great twist. A simple story told in such a manner that I revere. The way Scott can make this fun and menacing at the same time is very clever writing and has made this a fantastic start to the series.

Yes, we’ve heard it all before. These are aimed at the younger generation, but there’s something about Star Wars Adventures that makes it so endearing even to the older generation of Star Wars comic readers. Is it the stories, is it the artwork? For me, it’s both of those and that they are less serious than their Marvel counterpart. This makes them a lighter read, but they always contribute solid stories to the new canon timeline.

I’m really excited for the issue 2 next week. Will we find out what Vanee has in store for his captive and what tale will he tell about the one and only Grand Moff Tarkin.


Star Wars Adventures: Return to Vader’s Castle #1 is published by IDW Publishing. This issue is available via Forbidden Planet in the UK and from all good comic bookstores and retails at $3.99.