Published: September 25, 2019
Rating: Rated T
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Penciler: Stefano Landini
Cover Artist: Nic Klein
THE DOUBLE CROSS! VALANCE and his crew of bounty hunters have DARTH VADER on the ropes, surrounding him with enemy ships. Vader is the greatest pilot in the galaxy, though, and he’s about to go head to head with the Imperial Navy’s former best pilot… Beilert Valance! But if Valance can survive this aerial duel, will he survive betrayal on land, as a member of the Rebellion lies hidden within his ranks!
So far, Target Vader has been building a slow momentum. It has introduced us to the characters, to the team and (briefly) to their opponent. It has been a steady pace that has been a very enjoyable read…
…Until this issue! There was one thing that kept uttering through my subconscious as I was reading this, “faster, more intense.” For me, that sums up this entire issue. In a blink of an eye the issue is over, because from start to finish, it is almost entirely action. It never seems to let up. It was not what I was expecting at all, thinking Thompson might wait to nearer the end of the run, but no! And I have to say, it works beautifully.
Now it is fine for a writer to increase the pace, to add a lot of action in, but it’s the artist that has to guide us through this tale. Landini does an amazing job of moving us through all these scenes seamlessly. The action is easy to follow, and the action shots done incredibly well. The parts that really got me, all featured Vader. Vader has been drawn with love, from the big one-page spreads, to the smaller panels, he looks incredible in all of them. And I’m sure it was by no accident that when standing in the turret, he looks like he could be in the turret of the Falcon. OK, I completely geeked out at that part!
Vader has been utilised so well by Thompson in the previous issues, yet it’s here that he needs to feature more. It was inevitable that he would need to appear more in the story. Thompson still does a fantastic job of making the most of his character. He is never seen for too long, but the shots all seem to harken back to A New Hope. Him flying his TIE fighter, to the same lines he used in the film; it’s a wonderful nostalgic trip for any fan. You can feel yourself holding your breath as you’re waiting to see what Vader will do next.
If this wasn’t enough, we also get flashbacks to Valance’s life, which tie in beautifully with Thompson’s early work in Imperial Cadet. It’s good to see the connection, and we see Landini really paying attention to the work of Kirk’s art from Cadet as he utilises the TIE helmet effect that was used so beautifully in the comic series.
What can I say? This is fast paced, action deserving of the Star Wars name. It has less depth than previous issues, and rightfully so. This is the jump to hyperdrive this comic was ready for, leaving us, as the reader, out of breath and wanting more. The work of both Thompson and Landini together us wonderful to see, both working beautifully together to tell this part of the story. The nostalgic feeling from this issue will please any Original Trilogy fan! I’m not quite sure what Vader is going to do next, nor Valance, but I can’t wait for issue four to be released…
Target Vader is a six-part series available from Marvel. This issue is available via the Marvel App and all good comic bookstores. This issue retails at $3.99.