I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.
I read 6 comics last week: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #3, Secret Wars Civil War #2, Detective Comics #43, Star Trek #48, Secret Wars Ultimate End #4 and Darth Vader #8.
The best comic I read last week was Darth Vader #8.
For two weeks in a row I am choosing a Star Wars title. The selection this week has less to do with the quality of the book (though it’s very good) and more to do with how the other titles I read weren’t particularly great. Marvel is still stuck in the Secret Wars tie in scenario and the books I read from DC weren’t as good as this.
Darth Vader has been a very good title. Though I’ve not loved everything Kieron Gillen has done in the past, he’s nicely captured something in this book. The additions of three wonderful supporting characters along with appearances by some of the bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back have well assisted in making this a fun read.
The art by Salvador Larroca has, likewise, been very good. His Vader looks a bit awkward at times – that must be a harder costume to draw than it looks – but he’s got the helmet down.
What Gillen has realized about the character is that less is more. Vader doesn’t speak much in this, his own title, but, when he does, those words are full of power and portent. In this issue, Gillen takes that concept a bit further, with Vader absent for much of the proceedings. It’s a risky choice, but it pays off well. When Vader is on panel, he’s not wasting anyone’s time.
This is a great companion book to Star Wars and I am looking forward to the two titles crossing over in a few months.