I miss my Darth Vader. And, no, I’m not speaking about Hayden Christensen. I don’t wanna throw any stones; he did the best he could with the material he was given from the Prequel Trilogy, but he was a far cry from the Vader as featured in A NEW HOPE and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Vader necessarily ‘softened’ with the developments of RETURN OF THE JEDI, but, before then, he was the original ‘phantom menace,’ hissing breaths into the face of the terrified princess he interrogated, brandishing his lightsaber at Luke Skywalker as he called him out, and hiring a team of deadly bounty hunters to do his most nefarious deeds. He was a presence to be reckoned with. He was the stuff of Republic nightmares. THAT was a masterful villain I could get behind, and, if DARTH VADER AND THE GHOST PRISON is any indication, we may be in for a welcome return to the Dark Lord of the Sith.
(WARNING: Minor spoilers appear below only for the purposes of detailing the plot.)
The Clone Wars have ended, and the Empire has gone about the business of establishing its might across the various star systems of the galaxy. To do so, it’ll need new recruits – officers, commanders, and captains – to lead the Imperial Stormtroopers out into the stars. GHOST PRISON begins with a graduation of officers, and it goes out with a bang! Needless to say, not everyone wants to embrace the direction Emperor Palpatine plans for his galactic body, and an act of terrorism rocks Coruscant’s capital city. New recruit Laurita Tohm is assigned to a top secret mission under command of a young Grand Moff Tarkin himself, but, before he can get to his service, Tohm will risk life and limb in service to the Empire!
It’s a terrific beginning to what one can only hope with be a welcome return to the Empire established in the original STAR WARS films. The script is penned by Haden Blackman, and the art is provided by Agustin Alessio. Storywise, there isn’t much to review yet – the first issue essentially serves to introduce the main characters (Tohm and Vader) and set the chronological stage (post prequels) – but Alessio’s artwork is fabulous. His renderings of Coruscant are particularly winning, capturing the height and majesty of the city that aptly serves as the capital for an entire galaxy.
STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. If you’re a vintage Vader fan, then you should be pleased! Even though he appears only briefly in this first installment, it’s with the kind of power and reverence long-missing from the cinematic world of STAR WARS. He marches in, takes command of the situation, kicks butts, takes names, etc. Hopefully, Blackman and Alessio will take this story in a welcome direction bridging the prequel world nicely into the Vader we’ve all come to know and love from the original trilogy. It’s definitely off to a great start!
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Dark Horse Comics provided me with a digital copy of DARTH VADER AND THE GHOST PRISON #1 by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
What did you think of this review?