All For the Wookiee: Seven of the Star-Warsiest Moments In ‘Darth Vader’ #1
Welcome back to All For the Wookiee, where we take a look at the recent Star Wars universe offerings from Marvel and pick the most Star Wars-ish moments to share with you, dear reader. Today we're ready to take on the Dark Lord of the Sith himself in the first issue of Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larocca's new ongoing series, Darth Vader.
As usual, spoilers follow. You have been warned.
MOMENT I: PARALLELS
If this opening scene feels familiar, it's because it's a tweaking of the opening to Return of the Jedi. We see the doors to Jabba the Hutt's Tatooine palace slowly open, but rather than the overly calm Jedi we see in Jedi, we get his dad, the cyborg space-fascist Darth Vader, as he strides into Jabba's main hall and demands an audience with the corpulent crime lord.
There's a bit later in the scene where Vader --- offended that Jabba referred to him as a Jedi when he is clearly a Sith, like I mean seriously, man, dude is strutting around a desert planet in all black everything like the galaxy's greatest goth, for crying out loud --- points out that only Jedi use mind tricks to get their way. Sith prefer to use force.
It's a good introduction to the character, putting him in an identical situation and showing how he goes about getting what he wants, in contrast to how Luke will eventually approach it. Of the two of them, only one really succeeds, and the other one gets fed to a monster and then to a big carnivorous hole in the ground, so I'll leave it up to you to figure out which approach is more effective.
All in all, pretty good Star Wars. I give it 3/5 Rebellion symbols.
MOMENT II: LITTLE GREEN MEN & BLUE MEN & YELLOW MEN &…
If you are a normal person, you probably glanced at this page and were like, "Cool. Salvador Larroca drew some aliens." And that is fine. I, however, am not a normal person, so I immediately started trying to piece together who's who and what's what in this double-page spread.
So here's my best attempt at identifying everybody in this picture: first we have the Twi'lek dancer peeking around the corner. Larroca probably based her on the dancer we see in Jedi, though as there's a four-year in-universe gap between A New Hope and Return of the Jedi, and since Jabba seems to go through dancers and hangers-on at a pretty accelerated clip, it's unlikely it's the same dancer.
Next to her in the little round piano thingy is band leader Max Rebo. Next to Max is the bounty hunter 4-LOM (whose action figure designated hum as Zuckuss, if I remember correctly), followed by what I think is supposed to be Dengar, but Dengar is way cooler than the jabroni in that pic so we're just gonna call him Chad. He looks like a Chad.
Next to him is a guy who looks like the Techno Union guy from Attack of the Clones. (They were the guys in the droid factory who were making plans with Count Dooku.) Next to the Techno Dude is a Gamorrean guardsman, who is next to what appears to be IG-88, an assassin droid and bounty hunter. I mean, it could be another droid, but given how closely Larroca is hewing to the Trilogy as photo reference, it's probably not. (IG-88 has a short story in the very non-canonical Tales of the Bounty Hunters anthology that is seriously the most amazing, bananas thing. Here's the wiki on it. It's the only thing Kevin J. Anderson has written that I will ever endorse.)
Next to IG-88, with the squid face, is a Quarren dude that they made an action figure of. They give him a name and backstory in the Tales From Jabba's Palace anthology, but that stuff doesn't count as canon any more. Then we have (I kid you not) a member of Max Rebo's band named Droopy McCool; followed by a Jawa; a really tiny Whiphid; Sy Snootles way in the background there (another member of the Rebo band); and a butt-mouthed Aqualish. Oh, and Boba Fett, the Wolverine of the Star Wars universe, is there on the right. He's the one who looks dumb and stupid.
In the foreground we have Jabba's pet Kowakian monkey lizard, Salacious Crumb; a Rodian dancer (same race as Greedo in A New Hope); and off to the right, his majordomo, the Twi'lek Bib Fortuna. I always remember his name because if you wear a Bib you will be Fortuna enough not to spill on your shirt. Above him is what appears to be a Trandoshan, maybe the bounty hunter Bossk, but you can't really see enough to say for sure.
If I'm being honest here, I'd have liked Larroca to have come up with a couple of new or different species or characters to throw in the background here. As it stands, it's pretty much the same crew who will be there in Return of the Jedi, plus an extra bounty hunter or two. Not bad Star Wars, per se; but nothing that'll knock your socks off. 2 out of 5 symbols.
MOMENT III: VADER GETS HIS TORTURE ON
Darth Vader's favorite thing is killing Jedi. His second favorite thing is custard. But his third favorite thing? His third favorite thing is torturing people. Whether it's his daughter Leia on the Death Star, or Han Solo on Cloud City, there's not much that brings a smile to his old, wrinkled, pasty face more than the screams of the innocent. Looks like he was able to bust out the torture table for Overseer Aggadeen (remember him from Star Wars #1?) and little flying PainBall droid, so good for him. The operation's being overseen by an EV-series droid, who you may recognize from Jabba's Palace in Return of the Jedi.
So good for him, getting to torture a dude who just yesterday was having his testicles threatened by an astromech droid's electro-prod. That's some good Star Wars.
MOMENT IV: VADER'S NEW BOSS
We find out that not only did General Cassio Tagge (Casio Tagge was my synthpunk band in high school) manage to miss the destruction of the Death Star entirely, but he's now Vader's new boss. I like this idea, and not just because Tagge has the best haircut in the Star Wars saga, but also because it adds some nice tension to Vader's story. Tagge will give Vader a nice foil to prickle against.
As into this idea as I am, I can't help but wish Vader's new boss was going to be the guy that Vader chokes in this scene, Admiral Motti, mainly because he sounds exactly like Dwight Schrute from The Office:
Anyway, I like this idea. Good job.
MOMENT V: PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE SITH MIND GAMES
So a quick word about Sith hierarchy. The first rule of Sith-hood is the Rule of Two, meaning that at any given time, there's only ever two Sith: a Master and his Apprentice. The only way to become the Master is to kill your old Master. So when Vader is trying to get Luke to help him kill his Sith Boss in Empire and Jedi, he's wanting to set himself up as the Master and Luke as his Apprentice. Just a dad wanting to get his son into the family business, only this family business blows up whole planets and wipes out ancient religions based on some hippy-dippy Force nonsense.
The easiest way for me to describe it is, well, have you seen Return of the Pink Panther? Where Closeau and his man-servant Cato have a standing agreement that Cato is to surprise-attack him randomly in order to keep his reflexes up? It's sort of like that, only with murders. Add into the equation the fact that the Emperor groomed Anakin for years to take out his then-apprentice Count Dooku and assume his place as his new apprentice, and you can understand how it might make Vader a little jumpy when he sees some cyborg rando hanging out, having secret chat sessions with his Sith Dad. So this moment, where the Emperor is just messing with Vader's head because he's a sadistic S.O.B., is pretty great.
The rest of the Sith rules, if you're curious:
- On Mondays: Wear colored shoes.
- On Tuesdays: Wear shirts with slogans.
- On Wednesdays: Wear black.
- On Fridays: Wear jeans or track pants.
- Never wear strappy boots with a mini-cape.
- Don't wear hoop earrings. They are Sidious' thing.
- Always match your shoes to your cape color, unless they're boots.
- Never wear a tank top two days in a row.
- Only wear your hair in a ponytail once a week.
Good Star Wars right here. 5/5 and 100 Points for Gryffindor.
MOMENT VI: A VERY SPECIAL GUEST STAR
I mentioned earlier that Bob Fett is the Wolverine of the Star Wars Universe and I stand by that remark. Both are characters who started off as stoic badasses who got less interesting the more we found out about them. Both of them have died and come back to life under some pretty eye-rollingly hand-wavy circumstances. Both are over-used and past their prime. What I'm saying is that Boba Fett is a fine "favorite bounty hunter" if you are a dumb baby who likes dumb things, I guess. Whatever. He's here. We all knew this was coming.
His scarred up Wookiee buddy, Black Krrsantan, looks pretty cool, though, rocking some legit Kashyyk body armor. Also, I guess this means we'll be seeing Boba Fett in Star Wars, which is cool, if only because then we can check that off the list and devote more time to much cooler bounty hunters like Zuckuss and Dengar.
Pretty good Star Wars, I guess.
MOMENT VII: I LOVE THE SMELL OF TUSKENS IN THE MORNING
Vader's fourth favorite thing is the to kill Tusken Raiders. The indigenous people of Tatooine, they drew his wrath when they kidnapped and abused his mother, the Blessed Virgin Shmi Skywalker. You might remember Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker delivering the lines, "They're like animals, and I slaughtered them like animals. I hate them!" after that scene, and being kind of embarrassed for him.
So yeah, as terrible as it is that he took time out from his business trip to slaughter a Tusken village or two, I do like that this is Vader's version of visiting your hometown and making sure to hit up that one taco place before you leave. Because seriously, what else is there to do on this dumb dust planet anyway?
Good Star Wars, Kieron and Salvador. Hit the showers.
UP NEXT: Darth Vader #2, apparently; out February 25, according to Marvel.com. Until then, Make Mine Star Wars.