Comic Review: Return to Vader’s Castle #4

Published: October 23, 2019
Writer: Cavan Scott
Penciler: Francesco Francavilla (Pages 1-2 & 19-20), Nicoletta Baldari (Pages 3-18)
Colourist: Francesco Francavilla (Pages 1-2 & 19-20), Nicoletta Baldari (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;

Here we go again for the penultimate issue in the series.

Yet another fantastic ‘A’ cover from Francesco Francavilla. His art of Jabba fits the shape of Vader’s silhouette so well, but my favourite part is the B’omarr Monk in the foreground. Again the ‘RI’ cover is a black and white version of this, but for me the ‘B’ cover is the one for me. This is one of the best covers on a Star Wars comic released by IDW. Nicoletta Baldari has nailed it for me, and the way Jabba fades away into the symmetrical forms of the Monks is brilliant. Also being set on a white background really makes this cover stand out.

This issue started with a pleasant surprise for me. I very much doubted that Vaneé would step in to help Hudd, but this helps him take a deeper twist to evil than I was expecting. This really reinforces his position as major-domo to Vader and his status in the Imperial hierarchy.

I can’t start to talk about the main story that Hudd recites before talking about the artwork. In my opinion Baldari was an unusual choice for this series, but it works, and works really well! She has an ability to make such complex pictures look simplistic and minimal. That statement could be seen as a disservice to her, so I challenge you then to really take a closer look at her artwork. There is so much more detail in there than you are led to believe from each frame. She has a very unique style and I think we may have to thank Denton Tipton for getting her on board.

Now we get on to the main story. Brains in a jar, what more can you ask for? There aren’t many more things scream horror genre than just that. Only seen as a background figure in the entrance to Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi, the B’omarr Monk’s are a bit of an enigma. Not much is known about them, so bringing how they came to be in their macabre existence to a new audience brilliant.

I love the way Scott can bring this type of story to the reader and especially a younger reader without being over the top gory. It would be easy for this series to slip into full on horror, but the treatment of the story, combined with the artwork, tempers this so well.

The story itself, is based around Jabba’s cousin, Crakka. He brings Jabba a Huna-Netre beast for him to use as a cover for infiltrating the B’omarr Monk brain store. There is a brain in there that could lead to unknown treasures, and we all know where this greed usually leads to with Hutt’s! Needless to say, Crakka’s plan backfires and it all gets very messy from there on in.

This issue started with a surprise and ended on an even bigger one. I won’t say what or who, but someone unexpectedly arrives to take Hudd away from Vader’s Castle. Could it be a rescue mission? Let’s wait and see!

So, the last issue is out next week. Entitled Night of the Lava Zombies; what ghoulish delights does the team have in store for us? I can’t wait!

Availability;

Star Wars Adventures: Return to Vader’s Castle #4 was released on October 23, 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.