Review – Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison #5 of 5

Script: Haden Blackman
Art: Agustin Alessio
Letters: Michael Heisler
Cover Art: Dave Wilkins
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

The stage is set and the retaliation is at hand, while Gentis prepares for his final move in this overthrow we see the Sith master plan come together and all hell breaks loose. Tohm, Trachta and Vader are hell-bent on stopping this event with their new recruits  and no betrayer will make it through their vengeance for what has been done. The race is on to grip the future of the Empire and the Death Star in this battle and everyone is getting involved in the slugfest.

For those hoping for a tense moment, you get a ton of them and it’s a rough ride as Vader tries to get his army to the front line before it all falls apart. Gentis is on his toes trying to rush this along, Tarkin becomes bait in a larger game and a transport full of unruly prisoners is ready to burst. The length of the issue is no different from before but yet it still feels like a blip in time because of the pacing, everything is on the verge of failure unless perfect timing is obtained. With the Emperor still returning to health as well it’s just a sketchy situation with no room for error.

Vader does what he’s become known for, acting as a pure force of power in the battlefield, slaying anything that gets in his path and taking no prisoners at all. His power extends well beyond the battlefield into his training and daily interactions though, just because you fight with the man it doesn’t mean you’re exempt from his wrath. So no, Vader doesn’t use the force on a jug of milk but he does make it known that no one will upstage him either and with that swoop we go off into oblivion waiting for the next Sith tale to come our way.

Blackman and Alessio do a great job bringing this story to life with highly active panels and story timing, we got in late with the series coverage but it’s so worth the read. The art is crisp and detailed and showcases all of the combatants and future fodder in vivid attention to gesture, emotion and their situations. Let’s hope the duo gets together again in future projects.

Release date: September 19, 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

Story:★★★★½ 
Art:★★★★★ 
Dialog:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

Review – Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison #4 of 5

Script: Haden Blackman
Art: Agustin Alessio
Letters: Michael Heisler
Cover Art: Dave Wilkins
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

We haven’t covered the Ghost Prison on Bamfas yet, but it is in contention for being one of the better Star Wars releases of the year, taking a traditional approach in art, story and focusing on Vader puts it in our top considerations for the year. We join up in issue 4 with Vader on the Prism in the midst of all out chaos. Rioters battling away not only for a chance to live but for their pursuit of power, it is a demonstration of complete violence and Vader stands at the top of the pile, putting down anyone who dares oppose him.

While Gentis prepares himself to take his spot as head of the Empire we see that Vader, Trachta and Tohm are getting ready to move after their arena challenge reaches completion and the winners board up. New faces come into the story and while that seems like a given after a mass recruitment it’s only a strong 2 that really make impressions not only on Vader and the crew but on the reader as well. Not only does the payback for the attack on the Emperor seem to be well on the way but it could prove to be a mass obliteration of those in Vader’s path.

Personally I enjoy that most of this has been a character exploration just as much as it has been about action and the unknown. Haden Blackman paints unique narratives that give a sense of danger and struggle, and also these same narratives show how unwavering Vader is at all times as an absolute power. His view on recruitment and personal slaying of anyone who dares step into his arena are signs of how intense he really is especially with the Emperor in recovery.

Agustin Alessio compliments the issue with illustrative work that shines through, while some issues in the series go for a painting impression, we don’t see that. Each panel is incredibly detailed and bold in line usage, expressions run wild and gestures help tell the story that words cannot. Seeing survivors torn apart and barely holding together trying to plea for mercy, it gets in-depth for emotion to say the least and the duo manage to drive the story while feeding off each others creative energy.

Issue 5 is just around the corner, those who haven’t caught this series should really give it a shot, I can say it’s well worth the investment if you want some classic Star Wars drama and Vader showing his cold iron fist.

Release Date: August 28, 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview (coming soon)

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★★ 
Dialog:★★★½☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆