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- The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: October 28 – November 3, 2015
- The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: October 21 – 27, 2015
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 7 comics last week: Batman: Europa #1, Action Comics #46, Star Trek/Green Lantern #5, Titans Hunt #2, Vader Down #1, Star Wars #12 and Batman and Robin Eternal #7.
The best comic I read last week was Vader Down #1.
In prior installments of The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week, I’ve written of the almost uniformly great work Marvel Comics is doing with the Star Wars titles they are publishing leading up to The Force Awakens. Vader Down, the first cross-over event book of this publishing initiative, continues this trend.
Written by star Star Wars scribe Jason Aaron (who really loves and had a feel for this material) and beautifully illustrated by Mike Deodato, Vader Down is the culmination of parallel story lines that have been percolating in the main Star Wars title and its companion book Darth Vader. These books are set immediately post-A New Hope, so readers are treated to a Luke Skywalker struggling to learn about the Force, a Han Solo struggling to get away from the Rebellion and a Darth Vader who has just suffered a massive defeat with the destruction of the Death Star.
As one can discern from the title, things are not going particularly well for a certain Dark Lord of the Sith as he searches for the Force-sensitive young man who destroyed the aforementioned Death Star. He has finally tracked the boy to a planet called Vrogas Vas (Aaron has a knack for George Lucas-y sounding names) and encounters and demolishes three squadrons of X-Wing fighters on his way to the planet’s surface. He does not escape unscathed, however, as he collides with an X-Wing that he too late realizes is piloted by the very young man he’s been tracking. Both Vader and Luke crash land on the planet and, when Han Solo hears that Luke (along with R2-D2, of course) is stranded, he, Leia, Chewbacca and C-3PO come a-running.
And this is where the fun really begins.
Aaron is a very smart writer and lets the characters with which readers are familiar and about whom readers want to read carry the action. I do like his creation of Doctor Aphra, a mercenary genius who has thrown in with Vader, but she is pushed aside here for a sharp focus on the original trilogy characters. Good choice.
Vader Down #1 is a great debut issue. The series will run from now until after The Force Awakens is released and, because of the film, it will likely pick up more readers as it unfolds. That’s a good thing. Judging by this first issue, it deserves them.