Let’s begin with the cover art, and my goodness is this thing beautiful! Greg Smallwood illustrated the cover, and it is a clear homage to Frank Frazetta’s early 70s paintings of the Death Dealer.
This hit close to home for me as I own a few Frazetta reprints and sport a half leg Death Dealer tattoo. Needless to say, as soon as I saw this cover I was in love. Look at this side-by-side below; the posture, shield, helmeted rider, even the birds in the background. Kick. Ass.
The story itself takes place on the planet of Cianap and is told from the perspective of one of the adolescents on the planet. Cianap seems to be a planet that came under attack from something the boy refers to as “the Ender” which transformed the planet’s once bustling metropolises into a largely underground and cavernous culture.
Above the clouds of Cianap, a battle between the Rebellion and the Empire forces Vader to land on the planet after sustaining damage to his ship. Vader’s landing disturbs “the Ender” and a very awesome battle ensues between the two.
As the reader, we all know what Vader is capable of, but the neat thing about this story is how it is viewed through the boy’s eyes. The boy knows he should run and hide but is mesmerized by the “Black Knight with his flaming sword.” Vader prevails, even saving the boy’s life (more than likely incidentally) but to the boy, Vader is a God. A God that has also just freed his people from the Ender’s wrath.
It all ends with the boy explaining the battle to a joyous crowd and you get the feeling that if you were to visit Cianap a hundred years from now, you would find Vader statues all over the place.
Vader Dark Visions is only a 5 comic book miniseries, but I’m interested to see if they stick with these alternative interpretations of Vader and how his interactions throughout the galaxy may have been viewed differently than what we are accustomed to.
I can’t recommend this one enough, it’s just a fun read.