Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #1

Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #1 (of 5)

Writer: Tim Siedell
Artist: Gabriel Guzman
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Cover Artist: Felipe Massafera

“I am the clone formerly known as CT-5539. The events in this story are true.” Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #1 kicks off with a intriguing narrative told exclusively from an ex-clone trooper. Complemented by the beautiful artwork of Gabriel Guzman and the luscious colors by Michael Atiyeh, and this issue brings to life a troubled soldier with an old grudge. Unlike many of the clones we’ve seen, CT-5539 hates the Jedi for what they did to him. In the dark spectre of Vader, he sees a chance to even the score. For him, it’s time for payback.

The issue opens with a full page shot of a lightsaber hilt lying on the ground and three narration boxes setting up the story. Throughout this entire issue, there is only three dialog bubbles. The rest is told completely through narration. While an entire series told like this might not work, it’s an intriguing way to start a series as it gives readers a very intimate view into the main character’s head. All of the narration is told from CT-5539’s view point. We see his recollections of the Clone Wars, the stories he’s heard of Vader, and the reason he lost his love for the Jedi. It’s a somewhat haunting tale as we see Jedi die in battle and catch glimpses of the awe inspiring power of Darth Vader.

Now artist Gabriel Guzman did a pretty good job in Dark Times: Fire Carrier, but his work really shines in this issue. There’s a nice attention to detail and a very nice balance of style as he goes for accurate representations of the characters but in a comic book style visual rather than photorealism. The arrangement of the panels is very tasteful and adds to the quality of the story. The way he portrays Vader as a dark figure with lightning storms in the background brooding over the bodies of dead Jedi adds to the haunting element of the story. Another scene shows him crushing two ships together with the power of the Force. The two panels in that scene are dominated by red with Vader’s dark shadow orchestrating the action. Then there are the panels with CT-5539: detailed close-ups, cinematic landscape shots, and highlights of his history. The visuals are perfect.

Highlighting the artwork is the wonderful coloring Michael Atiyeh. From subtle lighting effects to vibrant backgrounds, the coloring brings the art to life. From the start, there is a wash of brown, earthy tones as the clones fight on some far off battlefield with a Twi’lek Jedi. Then the panels move into sea green tones as Vader throttle an entire squad of soldiers. An interlude in a cantina brings a splash of gold, and then there is a blast of red as Vader crushes ships with the Force. The shifting palette of colors keeps the visuals fresh. Atiyeh manages to keep a balance throughout the entire issue so no one color becomes too dominant. With those landscape scenes, a lot relies on the coloring, and they turned out great.

When tackling a Vader story, it can be difficult to tell something that hasn’t been done already. By taking the viewpoint of a clone, it’s a step in the right direction. In turn, having that clone be a person who has a grudge to settle against the Jedi, and you begin to have a story that gets interesting. Regardless of where everything may be heading, I really liked the narrative aspect to his opening issue. I also really liked how Vader is only seen in glimpses, each showing off legends of his power. It’s good way to hook readers into reading more.

With a weird name like Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows, issue #1 shows a lot of promise. The artwork is excellent and provides perfect visuals for the story. It truly complements and highlights the emotions of the viewpoint character. Through that story, Tim Siedell introduces readers to an intriguing ex-soldier out for revenge and the mythical legend of Vader. I give this issue a five out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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