Darth Vader Hardcover 1 is a book of introductions. If you think about Darth Vader in the original trilogy he’s more like the step dad you see once a month than a steady known reliable figure. What’s his personality like, what’s he do around the watercooler. What is a day of work like being evil throughout the galaxy?
So this book is an introduction to Darth Vader’s world, it’s an introduction to him and it’s also a great introduction to the expanded universe.
Here’s the thing about how the evil empire of Star Wars does its business. There’s a whole lot of colorful subcontracting. What’s a Sith apprentice if not an inexpensive, eager to please murder multiplier on the field of battle. That’s the question hanging over the book, is Darth Vader good at much else? Center stage are the emperor’s various other pseudo apprentices, generals and hunters. These groups have an even bigger subset of loyal underlings further down the ladder. This is a book of hierarchy, loyalty, asset placement, strategy and of all things the testing of Vader’s ability to socialize while balancing the need to keep up his reputation as capital D Dangerous throughout the empire.
This book is an introduction to Doctor Aphra who you’ll fall in love with. Like all the characters she has a dark streak though as a rogue, hers is maybe the lightest of the bunch. It helps that her constant companions are mad murder bots whose lack of scruples she comes in to restrain. She shares the reader’s knowing horror and amusement at their unfulfilled genocidal plots. Anyone who has played the Knight of the Old Republic games will be pleased with these companions.
Let’s not forget the action and the art. The book takes advantage of the iconography we love, throws in a couple favorite character pairings that we’ve never seen before, Vader and Jabba for example. It wraps all that iconography and its steady march to push out the boundaries of the infinite star wars universe with a healthy dose of action. Action is what’ll keep you turning pages. People who enjoyed the ending of the recent movie Rogue One will recognize what’s offered here with some evolutions due to the unique enemies Vader faces.
As it is an introduction, I suspect volume one will hook you. The second volume which is somehow larger and more polished brings all the threads to a smashing conclusion. That second volume is the book of conclusions and definitive statements. Reading it made me appreciate the more leisurely pace found here.
UPDATE: I made a bad video out of this information: