Star Wars: Vader Dark Visions #4 Review

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Story by Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum
Art by Stephen Mooney
Colors by Lee Loughridge
Letters by Joe Caramanga
Cover by Greg Smallwood
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman

The last issue of this mini series seemed to come in for some unmerited criticism for showing that Darth Vader is a terrible villain. Shocking. What that issue, the first two issues and this issue all underscore however is that Darth Vader is a dark, dark villain, a tormented and tortured presence more machine than man. The series so far has underscored another important point, that the dark visions of the title to this series are not just those experienced by Vader. They also represent the dark visions, be they terror, awe or deluded rapture within those with whom he comes into contact. His is a corrosive nature and the series has explored how this permeates those who come into contact with him. Lastly, lest it be missed, these are dark visions for the reader, we are reminded as to just why Vader was always the big bad; a tormented complex villain.

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This issue is the tale of the son of a smuggler, who watched his father executed by emergent Imperial forces on Coruscant during his youth. Now he is grown up, and wishes to make amends for his failure to pull the trigger on Imperial Stormtroopers before they gunned down his father. Joining the Rebel Alliance, the question mark hangs over whether he is capable of flying with Rebel Forces in an attack against Imperial Forces. His youthful braggadocio gets him into the squadron though and he is excellently placed to avenge his childhood loss. Especially when Vader joins the fray. Hallum keeps the answer back as we flit back and forward between Then and Now in the narrative which is neatly constructed.

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The art in this issue from Stephen Mooney is excellent. It has that gritty feel of A New Hope era Star Wars. The X-Wing action is brilliantly rendered, the Rebel Outpost of Jamiri reminiscent of the background base scenes in A New Hope and Rogue One, dirty, grimy and oily. There is a particularly good panel which shows an X Wing screeching into the Rebel Hanger. Elsewhere Vader is regal and ominous, but sparingly deployed within this issue which is all about the shadow of fear he casts, not unlike the second issue of this series.

This is another quality issue which makes this series four for four in my eyes. Lets hope that when the final issue lands that it matches the quality seen to date. These are great standalone issues, but read in a five issue collection they will will be a particularly rewarding as a study on Vader and his chilling reputation across the galaxy.

9/10

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