Darth Vader Vol 01: Dark Heart of The Sith Review by Greg Pak

I’ll be, a Darth Vader comic book that taps deep into the prequel movies without mucking things up. This comic book Greg Pak has succeeded where I would’ve been skeptical he might, and has done so with flying colours. Speaking of colours, two colour schemes dominate the past and present. Neeraj Menon uses a subdued colour palette for the present, with plenty of grey and overwhelming black, as well as cold, natural beige for skin tone. All these are bathed in red whenever the Dark Lord of the Sith’s lightsaber is drawn.

The past is seen through the red filter of Vader’s rage, which does an excellent job defining the time period; Pak keeps to straight adaptations of the movie events, which is acceptable but I see it as a bit of a missed opportunity. It might’ve been an interesting narrative device, to have Vader’s remembrances twisted, skewered towards his present beliefs, his rage and–yes–even self-pity.

This is the first of Disney’s Vader comic books to take place between Episodes V and VI; it’s Vader’s investigation into the death of Anakin Skywalker’s wife, Padme Amidala. During it, he comes face to face with a woman whose face is a striking reminder of Padme’s: one of her former handmaidens.

Armed with the failure of apprehending his son, Vader looks to understand how Luke slipped his reaches in the first place. Haunted by the memories that led to the loss of Padme, Vader is more introspective and passive than he usually appears. He’s not too chatty, our old Darth, which is why Pak decided to add an Imperial droid analyst, who makes oh-so-much idle chit-chat. I wonder how he’ll end up…

This one offers resolution for some Prequel-era Naboo-based characters, which I thoroughly enjoyed; it puts to rest a whole minor faction whose absence I’d always been curious about in the Rebellion era. What’s more, it sets up a second volume I’m very excited for, with an appearance by everyone’s badass cowl-wearing grandpa, the big Pee, Emperor Palpatine himself.

Phenomenal work by Raffaele Ienco, too, on what is some of the finest art in a Darth Vader title yet–and that’s saying something–you’ll agree, if you’ve read either Soule’s or Gillen’s run. I’m mightily impressed by Pak, to tell you true, and I can hardly wait until June for the second volume. I suppose I’ll dry my tears on the pages of Alyssa Wong’s first volume of Doctor Aphra, come January!

Before then, you might as well get this one–you won’t regret it!

Thanks for reading! Be sure to tune in for more, and follow me on socials and on YouTube! I’ll soon start making videos about not just games but books and graphic novels, too!

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