I’ve been on a graphic novel kick, as of late. Currently in my discount books queue is the series Maus and the memoir My Friend Dahmer. Their critical acclaim and genuine “heft” make me excited to jump in. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a good comic, but I never spend that much time looking at single issue comics…
I’m not sure if anyone else has this problem, but often I’ll look at the sticker tag of a single issue of a comic or the first volume of a series and be partially put off by the thought of spending so much money on something I can sit down and read in 15 minutes. Plus, reading a comic is essentially the same as watching one episode of a TV show. Catharsis is limited in those 15 minutes.
However, in a half-off bookstore in Berkeley (literally called Half Price Books) I stumbled upon Marvel’s Star Wars: Darth Vader series, volume one. Practically a steal, a brand new edition for only $7.
Okay, okay, I know I should be grabbing the Princess Leia series–women power/ Carrie Fisher/ and all that. BUT Anakin Skywalker, in my millennial-minded perspective, is truly the one character of the series that changes the most and has the most tragic, redemptive arcs in the space opera epic.
In One Sentence: Darth Vader is sad, but don’t tell him or he will kill you.
Review: This was AMAZING. Obviously, Star Wars works really well in comic book form where it can primarily focus on the visuals and hyper-details of different species and characters. My one “But….” is only that it’s so hard to distill this story into one volume, and reading “Vader” was much like watching a really good pilot episode. The story is to establish relationships and stakes–the real catharsis will come much later. The part that was surprising was how much humor was well balanced with the darkness. Darth Vader has always been a naturally humorless character on screen. It was fun seeing how characters played off of Darth Vader’s stiffness, and on the other hand how Darth Vader could hold his own with the sass. At the same time, it was never trite or heavy handed with making moments funny instead of important (see: every Marvel movie after The Avengers). I also loved that it wove in the films’ narratives and visuals as part of the canon, but just as with The Clone Wars series–it offers another dimension the films are unable to express to the complexity that is the character of Anakin Skywalker. Who, to me, has always had some of his creator’s image once Lucas made the creative decision on who Vader really was behind the mask.
This Book Would End a Lot Sooner If: Darth Vader had made different choices in Revenge of the Sith. Then again, a lot of things would’ve ended sooner in that case.
Here’s to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening at Disneyland in 2019!