Four Letter Nerd

Tag - Kieron Gillen

4LN Comic Review: Darth Vader #25

Series: Darth Vader
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Page Count: 46
Price: $5.99

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Summary from Comixology: “It has all built up to this! Vader’s trials against Cylo’s creations! His machinations against the Emperor! His covert missions with Doctor Aphra and her murderous droids! All comes to fruition in an ending you can’t miss!” (Not from Comixology but should be stated immediately, that cover is f*cking awesome.)

Darth Vader has been my favorite of all the Star Wars books since it’s release in February of last year. Darth Vader #25 is the perfect end to one of the best books being published. This book is a lot like Breaking Bad, I’m saddened that it had to come to an end, but I’m glad it didn’t drag out and become a chore to keep up with (*cough* Son’s Of Anarchy *cough*). Kieron Gillen understood the character of Darth Vader so well that he makes it completely unbelievable that Hayden Christensen could become the Sith Lord.

This issue was full of perfect conclusions for a 25 issue long story. My fellow 4LN writer Stephen Andrew and I agree that Vader Down had one of the most BRUTAL comic book lines in a long time, but I now believe that the most brutal line of Darth Vader was said in this final issue. There are two moments in this book that left my jaw literally hanging open because I just couldn’t believe how ruthless Darth Vader truly is. I want to go into detail, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers that will take away from the experience of reading this issue.

From beginning to end, Salvador Larroca’s art has been absolutely prepossessing and captures the grandness of space and Star Wars. From epic outer space light saber battles to intimate character designs, Larroca has thoroughly brought Darth Vader back to life in comics. When it comes to writing a villain, Kieron Gillen is truly one of the best writers for that bracket of characters. Gillen does a fantastic job of writing part of a story that we all know (I.E. Vader can’t die yet because we aren’t at Return Of The Jedi yet), but still leaving suspense and wonder with what will happen with all characters involved. Looking back on this book now that it’s over, I couldn’t think of a better creative team for it. Gillen and Larroca truly worked elegantly together.

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From issue one to twenty-five, Darth Vader has been one hell of a roller-coaster and full of surprises. I am really disappointed to see my preferred Star Wars book come to an end, but I’m also excited for whatever becomes the next on-going Star Wars book (crossing my fingers for Boba Fett or Kylo Ren).

(Writer’s Note: This review was written before the announcement that Doctor Aphra would be landing her own SW ongoing title)

Thanks for 25 distinguished issues of Darth Vader Salvador Larroca & Kieron Gillen. If you haven’t been reading Darth Vader, now is not the best jumping on point, since this is the epic conclusion; but, you will not be disappointed if you hunt down the previous issues (or trades) because they will be entirely worth the price. In my honest unabashedly biased opinion, this is one of the best final issues from Marvel. Ever.

Also, the book is $5.99 which really blows, but it is more pages than a typical issue, and part of that is an epic mini issue in the back about Darth Vader slaughtering Tusken Raiders while killing time on Tattooine waiting for a couple bounty hunters. Made it worth the extra couple dollars.

Music Pairing:
John Williams, like all Star Wars book reviews.

4LN Comic Review – Darth Vader #20

Series: Darth Vader
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca, with Edgar Delgado on Colors
Publisher: Marvel

Summary from Comixology – “New Story Arc! “END OF GAMES” begins this issue! Inspector Thanoth returns with some startling information. Vader may have passed his master’s tests…but will his own schemes prove his undoing? PLUS: A bonus tale of Triple-Zero and Beetee!”

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Marvel’s STAR WARS titles have, for the most part, been phenomenal, with STAR WARS and DARTH VADER being the best of the bunch.  Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca continue the streak with issue #20, which kicks off the “End of Games” story-line.

When I initially started reading this issue, I wasn’t planning on writing a review of it, but I just loved it.  There were so many reasons fans of STAR WARS might be interested in this issue, even if they haven’t been reading this series regularly.  First and foremost, we get to see the Super Star Destroyer “The Executor” under construction at the Kuat Drive Yards, which is Darth Vader’s capital ship as seen in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.  I’m not going to lie, I nerded out for a while staring at that panel.  I mean, Larroca’s artwork on that two-page spread was worth the price of admission alone.

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Most of the issue is centered on a one-sided conversation between Darth Vader and Emperor Sheev Palpatine.  Sheev details how he rose to power and purged the galaxy of weakness, destroyed the Jedi, and how he forced a traitor to overplay their hand in order for Vader to cut him down.  Despite having very little action (other than the short story in the back, which I will get into later) Gillen, and the rest of the creative team, are so good they make a conversation about political subterfuge entertaining.

I was also really impressed with Larroca’s ability to depict the Emperor’s most popular, facial expressions.  The way his piercing eyes stood in contrast to his simple, black robes was unnerving, and there were several expressions that were pulled right out of the films.  Oh, and if you are a fan of Triple Zero and Beetee, this issue includes a solo story featuring the two murderbots as well.  It’s always fun to see Triple Zero and Beetee since they are the antithesis of of Threepio and Artoo.

This issue was one of the best issues in Marvel’s modern STAR WARS titles.  Despite having almost no action, and practically running solely on dialog, I loved every second of it.  Gillen and Larroca make a great team, and they get it.  They aren’t heavy handed with their references, but add just enough to keep STAR WARS devotees excited.  Make sure you pick this issue up.  It’s not imperative that you read issues 1-19 to understand what’s going on, and it just might make a believer out of you.

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4LN Comic Review: Darth Vader #13

Series: Darth Vader
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado

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Overview from Comixology: “The first crossover of Star Wars’ new Marvel age continues here! Vader vs. all the Rebels…it’s not a fair fight!”

This is part two of the 6 part crossover event, Vader Down, and my God is it off to a great start. If you haven’t read Vader Down #1, you are really missing out. To fully appreciate this issue, it’s mandatory that you read Vader Down #1. I mean, why read a crossover event and skip the first issue? This issue is a blast, and one of the fastest reads that I have ran across in a long time. The issue starts with Vader just slaughtering Rebel scum, and I can’t think of a better way to start a comic. From beginning to end, this issue is full of action and suspense, and I can’t stress how quick of a read it was. And that’s not a bad thing, so much was happening that the issue flew by like the Millennium Falcon doing the Kessel Run (I know that was cringy. I couldn’t help it.)

I personally think that Darth Vader is the best Star Wars book being published right now, and this has nothing to do with the fact that I have a Darth Vader tattoo, it’s just the most badass of the Star Wars books. I mean, who doesn’t like reading and watching Vader do secret mission and hunt down the terrorist known as the Rebel Alliance? I think Kieron Gillen does a fantastic job at capturing the feel of Vader, and I honestly can’t think of a writer who could do as well as he has on this book. Not only does he capture the feel of Vader, but he also brings Solo and Leia to the page in a great way.

When it comes to the fight scenes, and action in this issue, Salvador Larroca does a great job making you feel like you are actually in the middle of the firefight, and the use of reds and oranges makes the tone much darker and more warlike. It’s awesome seeing Darth Vader in hand to hand combat with an entire battalion of rebel soldiers. And, just like in Vader Down #1, Darth is just full of amazing quotes, and one liners from Vader. I am also extremely curious to see if anything comes from the Jedi temple that Luke found on the planet of Vrogas Vos. I hope in one issue of the crossover, either Luke or Vader will explore the ruins.

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If you are a fan of Star Wars, and can’t seem to get a big enough fix before The Force Awakens comes out, then you need to do yourself a favor pick up Vader Down #1, and Darth Vader #13. You’ll get some badass Darth Vader, awesome Star Wars action, and you’ll get to experience what maybe the best crossover event of the year. Come back next week for our review of Star Wars #13, which will be the third part of Vader Down. And, let us know what you think of this issue in the comments below.

Music Pairing:
John Williams Imperial Death March, duh.

 

4LN Saturday Morning Review: Darth Vader #1

Series: Darth Vader
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado

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Summary from Comixology: “Ever since Darth Vader made his first on-screen appearance, he became one of the most popular villains to ever haunt an audience’s dreams! Now, follow Vader straight from the ending of “Star Wars: A New Hope”, (and the pages of the new Star Wars comic book), into his own series, showing the Empire’s war with the Rebel Alliance from the other side! Writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larocca bring us a peek behind the mask of evil!”

 

Overview:
This has been the Star Wars book that I have been most looking forward too. I enjoyed Star Wars a lot, but personally I have always been more attracted to The Dark Side. In Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic I always ended up becoming a sith and in any other Star Wars game, I always fell to the dark side (That may even explain why I have a Darth Vader tattoo). I mean, lets be honest, the villains are always so much cooler, and this book just continues to prove that. I’m a big fan of Keiron Gillen, he’s actually writing two of my favorite ongoing series, Angela: Asgard’s Assassin and The Wicked + The Divine and I think this book is now in my top 5 reading spots.

Highs:
This is a great story about what Vader gets into after the destruction of the first Death Star. His appearance at Jaba the Hutts palace is one of my favorite scenes in recent comics. I absolutely loved seeing Darth Vader release his rage on Jaba for confusing him as a Jedi, and the issue captures the vibe of the palace almost like Return of The Jedi did, which I think in of itself is a major accomplishment. It was also very interesting seeing/reading Darth Vader’s interactions with his master Darth Sidious. Sidious is upset with Vader at the moment for letting the rebels escape a hidden base attack on a moon of Yavin, so the tension between master and apprentice is highly noted. The art is also a great addition to this book with being able to capture the feel of the original trilogy, but yet still give it a new feel.

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It looks like watching Return of The Jedi for the first time.

 

Lows:
I personally did not care for the $4.99 price, but with it being a #1 of such a major character I can see why Marvel would charge this. But, I hope to see the book to the same as Star Wars and drop to $3.99 for the next issue, which comes out February 25th. Besides the price my only serious other concern was Darth Vader’s speech bubbles. I really wish for this character they used some other from of bubble besides the standard white speech tone. I think if they used a more rugged bubble like in Swamp Thing books or the Iron Man series it would convey a different tone for the character. I found myself going back in forth between standard Vader voice and my normal mental voice when reading his dialogue.

*This section will contain possible spoilers*

I found it a little bothersome that Boba Fett is working alongside a Wookie in this series. He is one of my favorite characters in Star Wars, so it bothered me seeing this team up. I know that nothing from previous stories are cannon any longer, but my version of Boba is not fond of Wookies and hunts them for game. He even wears the fur of a wookie on his suit as a prize. So seeing him in the issue working along side one, makes me think they are going to try to give Boba Fett a strong Han Solo vibe in the new continuity.

The Final Say:
If you love Star Wars and Darth Vader, then you really need to read this issue and jump on this series. Darth Vader is as dark and looming as he is in the original films and Gillen does a great job capturing the feel of Vader. The art work is also absolutely beautiful. So much detail in each panel, it’s almost like you are watching this on film. From all the wrinkles and slime in Jaba the Hutt to the void that is space. Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado are a prefect artistic team for this book. Head to your local comic store and be sure to pick this book up. Overall this book is a solid 4 out of 5 and you need to get your hands on this. I just hope we won’t have to read Star Wars, Darth Vader, and Princess Leia in order to obtain the entire story…

 

4LN Comic Review – Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1

Series – Angela: Asgard’s Assassin
Written by – Kieron Gillen & Marguerite Bennett
Art by – Phil Jimenez & Stephanie Hans
Publisher – Marvel Comics

Summary from Comixology: “Cast out of her home and wanting nothing to do with Asgard, Angela must now strike out on her own! But what does Angela have that both Asgard and Heven want? And why are they so eager to get it?”

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Overview –
Angela is an interesting character. Not just for her nature either. Her creative possession was much embattled. The story goes that she was created by Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane appearing in Spawn #9 way back in 1993. Eventually Gaiman and McFarlane went to court over ownership rights, which Gaiman won, and now she belongs to Marvel(?). I think I have that right… anyway, I personally have been following Angela’s Marvel career for the whole year and a half that it’s been in existence. She first appeared in Age of Ultron #10 before jumping in with the Guardians of the Galaxy and then taking on her, newly discovered, brothers Thor & Loki in an Original Sin event miniseries. And what I’ve learned about her, is that she… is BAD. ASS.

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Highs –
Angela is a character of little emotion but great comprehension and wit. Gillen & Bennett absolutely nail these elements of her personality, and then some. She’s cold, sincere, sarcastic, and has the skill to back up everything she appears to be. (I am in love with her and I don’t care who knows it! But please don’t tell Harley. I’m not sure how to break it to her yet and I’m not ready to eat through a tube for the rest of my natural life.)

I feel like this series will very much fill the void that is left after Thor: God of Thunder. What I mean by that is this: the new Thor series seems to be more fun and adventurous than the dark, gritty feel that GoT had. Also, a lot of people seem to be concerned about the direction of Wonder Woman (from what I’ve read online) with the new creative team that just took over, and I think some of those concerned people might find solace in this title. Angela is strong, independent, and can swing a sword with the ferocity of a massive army. If she isn’t the embodiment of female empowerment, I’m not sure who is.

The artwork is fantastic in this issue as well. Jimenez & Hans succeed in creating colorful scenery that is both clean and detailed. I can’t say there’s anything simplistic about their approach, but there’s also nothing excessive about it either. They don’t do too much and they don’t do too little. They’ve hit the comic-book-art-sweetspot.

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Lows –
I’ve thought long and hard about this. It pains me to do it but I have to maintain my journalistic integrity for you loyal readers of 4LN. The most significant “low point” in Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1 is… it’s too damn short! I wanted more story because I am an insatiable comic-lush and I demand my addiction be enabled! (Side note – I possess no “journalistic integrity”. I can be bought, and at a very low price.)

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The Final Say –
Angela is awesome. When I finished this issue I immediately wanted more. I’m awarding Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1 5 out of 5 stars. I will DEFINITELY be adding this to my pullbox list at my comic shop and I recommend you all do the same.

Oh, also, if you’re the kind of person who likes to listen to music while you read comics, when you read this you should partner it with listening to Arch Enemy’s newest album “War Eternal” because that band is brutal and the album and comic compliment one another really well.

Saturday Morning Review: The Wicked + The Divine #4

Book: The Wicked + The Divine
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Jamie McKelvie
Inker: Matthew Wilsom

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Summary from Comixology: The mystery is solved. But does pop-god Lucifer like the answer? The answer is a word that rhymes with “Go”, “Blow” and “Pro”. If you think the answer rhymes with “Cow” I applaud you for your unconventional nature. It’s good to experiment. We’re experimenting with being Awesome for four issues in a row. JOIN US

 

Overview:
I really love this book. It’s becoming one of my favorite books, and it’s always the first one I read when it’s in my pull. The characters are extremely interesting (and attractive), the plot keeps you guessing/wondering what’s going on, and this months god, Baal Hadad reminded me a lot of Kanye West, and anyone who knows me, knows I love Kanye West. So maybe that’s why I loved this issue? It was also very interesting seeing all the gods in one room, except we were missing Lucifer, she was off doing her own thing…

 

The Good:
This is a very interesting take on a murder mystery comic, every ninety years these gods come back to earth and inhabit a mortals body for a few years, but this time, a judge has been murdered and Lucifer is to be blamed for it. “In our godly murder mystery, who’s responsible? The Devil of course,” was one of my absolute favorite lines in this comic, and the fact that it came from Lucifer herself made it even more badass. It was really interesting seeing all the gods in one room together as Laura confronted them about finding the killer, and let me say, I’m 4 issues in and have no clue who it could be.
Gillen and McKelvie make a perfect team and they work really well with each other. The attention to detail that McKelvie takes is amazing, Laura’s iPhone is cracked like it would be for your typical 17 year old girl, and costumes/design of the gods is just spectacular. The book is visually, and mentally stunning.

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The Bad:
The book is pretty confusing, so I think that might steer some people away from the series. BUT if you enjoy a good murder mystery, you should be all over this book. Besides that, I really couldn’t find anything else in the book that I didn’t enjoy.

The Final Say:
You need to go out and get issues 1-4 right now. This book is really the next big thing, and you really don’t want to be sleeping on this. Each issue was introduced a new god, and potentially the murderer. If you miss one book, you may miss some major clues, so be sure to add it to your pullbox! This book is another solid 4 out of 4. Be sure to pick this up, and let us know what you think about it in the comments below!