Monday, July 23, 2018

Darth Vader Annual #2 Review

Crisis on Infinite Galaxies

Written by: Chuck Wendig
Art by: Leonard Kirk
Cover by: Mike Deodato Jnr
Publisher: Marvel Star Wars
Publication Date: 18 July 2018 

Oh boy. Chuck, Chuck, Chuck. You had a lot riding on this annual. Fans aren't exactly thrilled with you at the moment, are they? They didn't exactly love your Star Wars novels so far. They didn't exactly relish your foray into Marvel Comics with The Force Awakens adaptation. Was this the last chance cantina for you in Mos Eisley? Maybe you knocked it out of the park though! Let's see if you proved those pesky fans wrong about you. I may be a soft critic in this regard anyway, I mean I liked your Aftermath books, maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. I mean, after all, this series has been killing it at Marvel, so all good right?

Wrong! This issue was dreadful. Dreadful. Let's start off with the most glaring of errors. Now I am not the continuity kid, I place story over continuity in the main. But! When fans have been told by Lucasfilm that we would wash the old continuity down the can, and that henceforth we would have a new all singing all dancing Lucasfilm Story Group (title case) with the stated goal of "abolishing the canon hierarchy system in favor of a single cohesive continuity" then apologies if that's what we crave. Did Chuck Wendig not get the cohesive continuity memo? He seems pretty tight with Lucasfilm, didn't he know about this? Seemingly not. This book has MAJOR continuity flaws, and if they are bothering me (I'm relatively easy going about these things) then they must be driving continuity buffs mad! It clashes majorly with canon novel Catalyst and its depiction of the Ersos history. That book has been published since 2016 leading up to Rogue One. The clash is so incompatible as to be completely discourteous to the fine writer James Luceno who penned that book. One would have thought that Wendig would have had more respect for his fellow writers.

Leaving that aside, even despite the breaking of (what we are constantly being told by "gurus" like Pablo Hidalgo and Leland Chee are) the all-important rules of canon, the dialogue in this book is awful. We go from the start of the book to the end of the book with every character speaking in a kind of uni-voice. Now you cannot get three characters who have more different and unique voices than Darth Vader, Wilhuff Tarkin, and Orson Krennic, but somehow Wendig sticks the three characters in a blender and out pops generic conversation bot 101. Awful.

Artwise, the book looks okay but there is something not quite right about the depiction of Tarkin, the age profile seems way off. I mean this is supposed to be set way before A New Hope, yet Tarkin looks older if anything. The art isn't the problem though, and if truth be told there isn't much scope for criticism of the book on that level. Much of the Star Wars books outside the main title have the same look and feel about them alongside fairly generic coloring styles and lettering. This book does nothing to ruin or exceed expectations on any of those fronts.

Bits and Pieces

For someone as vocally controversial in fan relations as Chuck Wendig, you have to deliver to survive. What Wendig delivers here is a pile of garbage! The pity is that it disrupts what has been a beautiful run from Soule on the title. Likewise, for fans who are supposed to be buying into a cohesive universe, someone dropped the ball here. Normally there is sloppy editing at Star Wars Marvel, but the blame must lie on the checking system within the Story Group and/or Wendig. An awful issue for fans of Star Wars and best avoided.



  1. I haven't read any of the novels, so coming into this just as it is, I thought the ties to Rogue One were interesting. But spot on about the dialogue and art being about as generic as can be and Tarkin looking way too old. I'd give it a "a bit on the wrong side of average" 4.0 coming in JUST from the comics and movies without reading the novels.

  2. Great review, thanks for saving me a few bucks.