Published: May 29th, 2019
Writer: Dennis ‘Hopeless’ Hallum
Penciler: Stephen Mooney
Cover Artist: Greg Smallwood
NEVER MESS WITH THE BEST!
We all know DARTH VADER as THE EMPEROR’S iron fist, but as any rebel can tell you, he’s also a terror in a TIE Fighter. What does it feel like in that X-WING cockpit when you’re nose-to-nose with the EMPIRE’S deadliest pilot? Will you even live to tell the tale, hotshot?
I love both the direct edition and variant covers for this issue. The art from Greg Smallwood is menacing with the X-Wing in Vader’s palm, but the Federici variant is a complete contrast. An absolutely brilliant illustration of Vader and his TIE Advanced.
Hallum has done it again! He’s taken another Star Wars story and put a horror twist on it. What I like about this on is it is a classic ‘scrum rat’ makes good and joins the rebellion type story. But, that’s where the twist starts.
As a child, he witnessed his father being executed by stormtroopers, but he was armed and had a vantage point which, if he had shot, would have saved him. He couldn’t do it and then spends his life on the hoof.
Forward some years to him joining the Rebellion. After a successful mission to track the Imperial convoy, they are setting up the attack. A rookie pilot, he insists on being part of the strike squad. He recites the story of his father’s death and insists he will not freeze this time. He persuades them and is now in the squad. Unknown to the Rebels, Vader has arrived at the base they are about to attack and he joins it’s defence forces. Our Rebel has a shot on Vader during the battle, but cannot take it, just like when trying to save his father. As you can guess, this leads to the whole squad being killed and in turn the rebel base being obliterated by Vader and his forces.
He couldn’t take the shot! But why? Was it down to him knowing it was Vader? Was it due to Vader using the force to influence his decision making? Or, was it he was so haunted by his choice years before, that he was too fearful to kill someone? A very clever piece of writing from Hallum as after having read this 3 or 4 times over, I still can’t make up my mind which is the case.
Not only has this series been exploring slightly obscure and different types of storylines, but there has been some experiment with the artwork styles too. Each issue so far has been significantly different and not the ‘usual’ styles associated with Star Wars comics. I really like this as it seems fresh every issue.
I must admit to being disappointed that the next issue is the last one. These psychological thriller type stories are beginning to grow on me. After being critical of there being another Vader series so soon after Charles Soule written story, this has given me something different to what I was expecting.
With the psychedelic looking cover solicited for the next issue, who knows where Hallum is taking Vader next time around.
This issue was released on 29th May 2019 and is available via the Marvel App and all good comic book stores. This issue retails at $3.99.