COMIC REVIEW: Star Wars – Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison

DVandGPA delightfully pulpy title, but is Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison spookily good or horrifically bad?

Ghost Prison is set not long after the events of Revenge of the Sith. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine has declared himself Emperor and has begun grinding the galaxy beneath his boot heel. Into this situation comes our protagonist Tohm, a true believer in the Empire and recently graduated Imperial officer cadet.

The main thrust of the plot is Vader dealing with an insurgency lead by the Headmaster of the imperial academy, who is successful in disabling the Emperor leaving Vader and Tohm to protect him and try to reclaim Coruscant.

This quickly brings us to the titular Ghost Prison where, through the Clone Wars, the Jedi had imprisoned their most lethal opponents. That doesn’t seem that surprising but you soon learn that these prisoners are being held without trial and were placed their without the knowledge of the Galactic Senate.

There are obvious parallels to the US’s use of Guantanamo Bay over the last decade or so but Blackman doesn’t lay it on too thick. In fact the prison provides quite an interesting piece of justification for Vader’s continued allegiance with the Dark Side, seeing evidence that the Emperor’s assertions of Jedi scheming and reinforcing his twisted belief that something had to be done about them. You could argue that Episode III would’ve been stronger if it contained this sort of moment to provide Anakin a more visceral reason to turn.

The prison also provides Vader a source of highly motivated troops for his revenge. There’s an irony in Vader emptying a prison that Anakin filled, which helps underline the difference in the two characters.

I really enjoyed the use of Vader here. Using Tohm as the protagonist and having his narration keeps us out of Vader’s head, keeping him alienated. After all we don’t want to empathise with him, he’s a force of nature and like nature he destroys as much as he creates.

My only real grumble with the plot is the sheer size of the storyline. I appreciate that big events must have happened between the two trilogies but this just feels a little too big to have never been mentioned before.

The book is beautifully painted with likenesses used well and reproductions of ships and tech faithful to their source. It’s a shame then that the lettering for sound effects isn’t at all sympathetic to the art style, it sticks out like a sore thumb.

Overall this is a really solid read which looks great and has great characterisation. Better than most EU comics I’ve read recently.

Writer: Haden Blackman
Artist: Agustin Alessio
Lettering: Michael Heissler

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Dave W

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