COMIC REVIEW: Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command

A tale from the early days of the Empire sees Darth Vader sent to rescue a General whose name will be familiar to all Star Wars fans.

Writer: Haden Blackman
Penciller: Rick Leonardi
Inker: Dan Green
Colourist: Wes Dzioba
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Cover: Michael Kutsche

A relatively young Darth Vader is dispatched, along with the very unwelcome Captain Shale, to secure the rescue of an Imperial General who has gone missing in the Ghost Nebula. We’re introduced to the story through one of a number of repeated fantasy sequences in which we see Anakin Skywalker had he not fallen under the influence of Darth Sidious, here he’s happily married to Padme, the leader of the Jedi Council and expecting a son. This scene is then torn away as we see Vader undergoing a painful medical procedure and then being brought to his knees by a mental summons from the Emperor. There’s a nice parallel here, the Emperor’s rough summons of Vader mirroring his need to force Vader to show subservience through kneeling before him. And this Vader isn’t the one we’ve seen decades later in Star Wars (or A New Hope as the kids call it), this attitude obviously rankles and he momentarily faces down the Emperor before capitulating.

Having received his orders Vader leaves on his mission. This scene gave slight consternation as I’m uncomfortable seeing Prequel and Original Trilogy tech on the same page. Here we have V-wings, AT-TE and OT Star Destroyers all together. Given that, according to the preface, this happens the same year that Anakin becomes a Sith this would mean that all the OT tech such as AT-ATs already existed and were widely in use but just not seen in Revenge of the Sith. In fact the whole timeline feels a little off for me. In the superb Clone Wars TV series we’ve seen Anakin come face-to-face with a character who in this book as a mature adult son, and the ages don’t seem to work.

Sorry…I think my inner-geek leaked to the surface there!

The story that ensues is interesting if unremarkable. Due to the relationships established in Clone Wars it does add to the underlying tension between two well-known characters and the use of the fantasy sequences gives an opportunity to view how Anakin wishes the world had been. This early in his Sith apprenticeship his yearning to have taken the other path comes to the fore when he’s in great anguish. Through this mechanism we get to see confirmation that Vader believes that he had a son who he had killed with Padmé.

Vader’s treatment of the main alien race encountered is particularly chilling, calmly dissecting one of the fallen in front of their comrade simply to learn more about how their physiology works.

As is often the case, the rendering of the ships and vehicles is painstaking (good old Google image search) and in truth is a step above the rendering of the characters. Darth Vader in particular seems to challenge Leonardi and his helmet often looks to be the wrong dimensions or shape. I don’t think he’s drawn into attempting to produce accurate likenesses for the known characters and the book benefits from this.

The plot comes full circle and we’re left with a Vader whose attitude towards servitude has changed dramatically, I’m not sure I’d say he was a broken man but he’s lost something.

Rating: 4 stars
Dry Slaps: 1/2 for Vader’s ever-changing helmet
GS Reviewer: Dave W

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One comment

  1. You’re right, you are geeks, but I like it.

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