Written by: Charles Soule
Art by: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Official Description from Marvel:
An expensive bounty has been put on Vader’s head! Who would dare try to challenge the Dark Lord’s place in the Empire?
Darth Vader #12 continues to represent why this series sits atop the Star Wars comic book world. At the end of Darth Vader #11 writer Charles Soule left readers and Vader with a cliffhanger and a mystery of the highest order. Having survived at assassination attempt on Cabarria Vader is on a mission back to Coruscant to find out who ordered the hit and if the Emperor himself had anything to do with it. By the end of issue #11, Soule gave us more than enough evidence to believe it might be true. In issue #12 Vader and the Emperor have a lengthy and quite tense scene to discuss the matter. The matter is cleared up quickly, through some lengthy dialogue but, it also gives us an even deeper sense of the relationship between Vader and Emperor Palpatine. And this is only chapter 2 of Soule’s new story arc.
While Soule is magnificent with his dialogue he also knows when to let artist Giuseppe Camuncoli take over the narrative and he shines in doing so. Camuncoli’s work, especially during Vader’s meditation scenes is outstanding and he gives us a glimpse, in vivid detail, of Vader wiping out any lingering existence of Anakin Skywalker. I would be remiss not to point out how Camuncoli’s work is accentuated by Daniele Orlandini’s inks and David Curiel’s colors. The overall artwork is tight and well defined and the colors pop from the page showing not only character traits but also emotional depth.
The bulk of the issue is not about revealing Vader’s actual assassins but to demonstrate the inner workings, attitudes of the Imperial officers’ perceptions of Palpatine’s new apprentice. Consequently, it focuses on Vader and the Emperor’s clarification and clearly demonstrating their power and alliance. Vader is allowed to make it known, in no uncertain terms, that he is now not only Emperor’s right hand but also an extension of his voice and power. Vader must show his power in full view of the Imperial forces since he will always have enemies and always under pressure because of his power.
The balance of Soule’s use of dialogue and Camuncoli’s art only scenes depicting Vader’s rise to power is what makes this book stand head and shoulders above the Marvel line of Star Wars comics. The stories serve their own purpose as stand-alone stories but also adds to the overall Star Wars universe story without needing to do either. It just fits and works out spectacularly. It’s a beautifully depicted story in words and art of Vader’s rise to power and the single best example of telling a story outside of the movies while still serving the overall narrative.
All through my reviews of this Darth Vader series, I have said it over and over. This is quite simply the best book for any fan of the Star Wars universe and especially for fans who want to know more about Vader’s rise.