Comic Review: Return to Vader’s Castle #2

Published: October 9, 2019
Writer: Cavan Scott
Penciler: Francesco Francavilla (Pages 1-2 & 19-20), Kelley Jones (Pages 3-18)
Colourist: Francesco Francavilla (Pages 1-2 & 19-20), Michelle Madsen (Pages 3-18)
Letterer: AndWorld Design
Cover Artist: Francesco Francavilla

The synopsis;

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;

After last week’s great start to the Return to Vader’s Castle series, we now have issue 2. While last week told a tale of the attempted capture of a maniacal Darth Maul, this time we are treated to a tale of Grand Moff Tarkin.

For the ‘A’ cover and ‘RI’ cover, we have the same Francesco Francavilla design, but in colour and black & white. This is a really spooky and ominous cover showing Tarkin poised with syringe behind The Creature. The ‘B’ cover by Kelley Jones is even more spooky with electricity arcing from a chained hairy arm as Tarkin watches on.

Last week I didn’t reveal who Vanee had captured, well we all now know it was Captain Hud. The rest of the gang had escaped in the final issue of Tales from Vader’s Castle, but Hud got left behind and this time around he recalls a story while attempting to escape his captor’s clutches.

Tarkin boards the ISD Optima for an impromptu inspection. Not long after boarding, the ship comes under attack and an inbound vessel crashes into its hull. Tarkin asks for a report from Commander Cremp and the visuals he sees tell a chilly truth. The Creature is here for him!

The Creature is a Frankenstein style being put together from many life forms and is hell bent on stopping his creator. It rampages through the ship and Tarkin throws everything he can to stop it. Obviously, that doesn’t mean we see the Grand Moff with a blaster, he just orders his underlings to their doom!

Between in 1957 and 1974, Peter Cushing the actor that portrayed Grand Moff Tarkin in A New Hope, took on the role of Baron Frankenstein on 6 occasions. These films were produced by the Hammer House of Horrors film company from the UK. These have a huge cult following globally and these are no doubt the inspiration for this story from Cavan Scott. Christopher Lee (aka Count Dooku) also played ‘The Creature’ in Curse of Frankenstein, so we are treated to another Star Wars link there.

Like many stories and the one of Frankenstein’s monster, this is a story of redemption. The Creature is trying to make amends for his ‘father’s’ mistakes and is a parallel to Luke and Vader’s story in Return of the Jedi in a way.

One thing that this got me thinking was what else could Tarkin have created? We’ve already seen BT-1 and 0-0-0 of Doctor Aphra fame for a start. So, if he could oversee the creation of droids of this nature, why not a living being?

I love that a so called ‘kids’ comic has gotten me thinking this way. Scott has really pushed a button for my memories of my childhood watching those old classic Hammer Horror movies from behind the sofa.

Not only do we have a great story, but the artwork is just as good. Francavilla and Jones have produced some great illustrations which really capture the fear and in the end the empathy that The Creature instils.

Out of the first series and this one so far, this is my favourite issue. But, let’s see whether that changes as Asajj Ventress is the subject of issue 3.

Availability;

Star Wars Adventures: Return to Vader’s Castle #2 was released on October 9, 2019 and 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.