DARTH VADER ANNUAL #2 written by Chuck Wendig, with pencils by Leonard Kirk, inks by Walden Wong and Scott Hanna, colors by Nolan Woodard, and letters by Joe Caramagna releases this week as Wendig gives readers an entertaining insight into Governor Tarkin, Commander Krennic, Darth Vader, and the events leading up to ROGUE ONE. Let’s take a look!
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
DARTH VADER ANNUAL #2 SPOILERS TOO!
Governor Tarkin lands on Scarif for a surprise visit and storms into an unauthorized area to find Darth Vader researching “Project Stardust.” It turns out, the Emperor gave Tarkin the power to tell Vader what to do, and this drastically angers the Sith Lord. Not only was he left out of these new project plans BUT some poor shmuck now gets to tell him what to do. Oh, how times are changing, and Vader is pissed!
Tarkin and the Emperor send Vader to Geonosis to find out who is sabotaging this new “Project Stardust.” After looking into leads, he gets a name: Galen Erso. This should sound familiar from ROGUE ONE. Lord Vader looks into Erso’s research, stumbles onto Kyber Crystals and finds a race of Brood creatures within the planet. Vader unleashes his current anger and destroys them all.
The issue ends with a Brood alien confronting Lyra Erso, Galen’s wife, and telling her that Galen is creating a planet killing weapon for the Empire. Surprised by this, she runs off to confront her husband, and they go into hiding, which leads readers right into ROGUE ONE.
DARTH VADER ANNUAL #2 was Wendig’s take on the prequel to ROGUE ONE, and it was pretty fascinating. Sure, “Project Stardust” was stated, but it was unexpected to see where it ended, which was a fantastic twist. Wendig turned a Vader story into a prequel and made the idea that it was a prequel the plot twist. Many could argue that readers should have seen it coming, especially since they used words like “Stardust,” “Kyber Crystals,” and readers see Commander Krennic.
Tarkin’s my Patronus
Tarkin is a cocky jerk with the biggest pair of balls any man could possess. He’s seen what Darth Vader has done to thousands of people. He knows the power this man has, yet he still pokes the bear. He has no fear! I absolutely loved this take on Tarkin. Soule has been leading up to this idea with the character, BUT this put him over the edge. If you include issue 18 as well as this annual by Wendig, together both writers did an excellent job elevating Tarkin to badass level.
Out with the Old in with the New
On page 33, Vader confronts Tarkin about “Project Stardust” and tells him that he figured out that it’s a planet killer once he found the Kyber Crystals. But the cunning Tarkin notices something about the Sith Lord; that Vader fears being replaced. Darth Vader thought he was the only technological abomination required to take over the universe. This is what the Emperor led him to believe until Tarkin showed up and devised an even grander plan with Krennic.
Now, the technological abomination that is even more powerful than Darth Vader is the Death Star! Wendig shows readers the fear and worry behind the face of one of the most powerful beings in the known universe without him taking his mask off.
Art and Storytelling
Parts of the issue seemed to drag a bit. Maybe because it was an annual and longer BUT this could have been done better if it was the regular issue length. However, that said, this wasn’t dialogue heavy at all. Thus, it was easy to read. And even though it felt slow moving at parts, the issue was smart, clear, easy to follow, and easy to understand.
The art by Wong, Hanna, and Woodard was nicely done, especially the flashback scenes from Vader. Each time a memory would happen, the art team placed it in red as if Vader himself was visualizing it through his eyes instead of it being through the reader’s eyes. The expressions on the characters faces were detailed so well and are accurate to the situations they were in. Surprisingly, this can be a hard task for artists but not this art team. These artists knew exactly what they were doing.
Should I buy this issue?
You bet! Wendig’s annual adds fantastic lore to the Star Wars universe by building up Tarkin and surprisingly tearing down one of the most feared beings in the galaxy. Wendig shows readers a transfer of power and adds so much more to both these characters. Get this issue!
Should I add this series to my pull list?
Absolutely! Now, keep in mind Charles Soule has been writing the series, not Wendig. However, Soule is doing a spectacular job. Look no farther than last week to issue 18. That may be his best issue yet!
What did you guys think of DARTH VADER ANNUAL #2? Comment below or hit me up on Twitter @dispatchdcu