Published: December 11, 2019
Rating: Rated T
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Penciler: Stefano Landini, Roberto Di Salvo, Georges Duarte
Colourists: Neeraj Menon, Rachelle Rosenberg
Cover Artist: Nic Klein
SHOWDOWN! Valance has escaped the clutches of the Empire, and finally has a lead on who’s REALLY behind the mysterious crime syndicate, the Hidden Hand. In the process, he’s uncovered a mystery about his own past. Darth Vader… AND members of the Rebellion, desperate for one last arms deal with The Hidden Hand. Will Valance be able to finish the job and kill Vader? Will Vader crush the Rebellion once and for all? Or will The Hidden Hand continue to walk between the raindrops and escape them all? Check out the thrilling finale to find out!
The final issue! Last week slowed things downed, in preparation for the finale. With Landini at least partially back this issue, will he and Thompson be able to deliver a great ending to the series?
I mention that Landini is back, although he is joined by Di Salvo and Duarte this issue. You can see the switch in styles in the comic, usually demarcated by a shift in time. But wow! The artwork, as it has so often this series, shines through. From the word go, there is a real sense of a classic Marvel feel from the eighties, with how the panels are drawn, to how they have been coloured. I’ve said before that I have little knowledge on the original series, but I still feel nostalgic seeing the scenes this way. Further on in the issue, and it’s Vader that really made me gasp. His first appearance is beautiful. The faded lines rising up to form more solid, fleshed out images is nigh on perfect and you really get a sense of the terror that the dark lord causes. The artists do a great job the whole way through, and there is a lot for them to do. Thompson gives us an issue of action, which means it’s left to the artists to really guide us through, and guide they do. Everything is clear and easy to follow, even when switching between several action scenes in quick succession.
I talk about Vader’s amazing entrance and it is he who steals the show again for me. Thompson has utilised Vader so well this series. He is never in the issue too much, but enough that his presence is felt. This is the Rogue One Vader, who doesn’t take fools gladly, and kills anyone who gets in his way. We only see him for one scene, but it is such a powerful scene. With the artwork as well, we’ve seen some of the very best of Vader in months!
We finally get to see who the Hidden Hand are, although to be honest, did it matter? I don’t feel it was such a big reveal to find their leader and not one that really bothered me. I don’t say this as a negative, as for me, the Hidden Hand were the catalyst to the story, not the story itself. The way they’ve been utilised to give us a story with Valance and Vader seems right to me, as it’s these two characters I wanted to see more of. No one is going to remember them in years to come, and no one needs to.
The ending felt like a true James Bond style ending, with Thompson sorting out the last thread with Dengar. It felt right and very in keeping with the rest of the series. Dengar was very true to the character that we see in The Clone Wars and I’m glad he gets what’s coming to him!
Imperial Cadet came and went far too quick, showing us just how great a writer Thompson could be. When I heard news he would be back for Target: Vader I was looking forward to seeing what else he could do, I have not been disappointed. This series has shown us great writing and great artwork, that have worked wonderfully together to create a series that any fan should enjoy. Although Thompson has a story to tell, he also allows the artists plenty of room to ‘tell’ their parts with lots of action and beautiful shots. For me, this is Star Wars. Added to the fact that Thompson has utilised Vader so well, just creates an even more perfect tale. Thompson used but never overused, and the shots that he set up for the artists, well their work speaks for themselves. I can’t believe we have to say goodbye to Thompson again quite so quickly, but hopefully he will return with another tale set in a galaxy far, far away…
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.