Star Wars Target Vader is able to keep the focus on Darth Vader for Marvel comics without having him being the anti-hero protagonist…and it works!
After incredible runs by Kieron Gillen and and Charles Soule which featured Darth Vader as an anti-hero protagonist Marvel has been able to keep the limelight on the ubiquitous villain by putting him in the antagonist roles for which he was meant. Vader: Dark Visions and now Target Vader are new Darth Vader focused books that have other protagonists and still heavily feature pop culture’s most recognizable villain.
Star Wars Target Vader No. 2 follows Beilert Valance and group of both recognizable and new bounty hunters on a hunt to kill Darth Vader. Beilert and crew are contracted my a mysterious organization called the Hidden Hand. In the first issue we find out that Darth Vader is also hunting the mysterious clandestine group.
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Beilert Valance being a character pulled from the Legends canon is one of the major draws to this new series. Disney has made no secret that popular Legends characters like Thrawn were free game to be used and retconned for the new canon. Beilert started as a cyborg droid hating bounty hunter and later became an ally to Luke Skywalker and loosened up on his droid hatred.
In the new canon he is a clever bounty hunter that prefers to work alone but has been forced into a team with familiar bounty hunters Dengar and Urrr’k along with new canon creations Chio Fain and Honnah. After two issues, Beilert Valance’s loner attitude has contrasted well with the other bounty hunters and has given those minor characters in the films, like Dengar, more personality.
Robbie Thompson’s writing is great and feels fresh in a Star Wars comics world that has to focus on the big characters too often. Artist Stefano Landini helps the books with solid artwork and compliments Thompson’s writing style better on Target Vader than Leonard Kirk’s more cartoony style did on Han Solo: Imperial Cadet. Robbie Thompson thrives with the more serious tone of Target Vader compared to his Han Solo work.
There are many great artists on the variant covers for the first two issues. Both Carmen Camero and Marco Checchetto have beautiful art and design on issue one. Issue two has a variant by John Mcrea and Mike Spicer that is a great action shot of Darth Vader and Beilert Valance. But the best covers are the standard A covers by Nic Klein, who has a wonderful style that aligns perfectly with the dusty outer rim tone the comic book has, these are can’t miss artwork and the best news is they are readily available and not overpriced ratio variants.
Star Wars Target Vader is the kind of book you need in your fandom life if you’re looking to really expand beyond the typical stories of R2D2 stealing plans on a ship but also don’t want to go too far from the characters you love. It’s got bounty hunter action and Darth Vader being evil.
Check out below for the rest of the review with spoilers.