Darth Vader becomes a legend when his blood lust frees a post-apocalyptic world in Vader: Dark Visions #1.
Warning: This review contains plot points for Vader: Dark Visions #1.
Vader: Dark Visions #1
Story: Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum | Art: Paolo Villanelli | Colors: Arif Prianto | Lettering: VC’s Joe Caramagna | Cover Artist: Greg Smallwood | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman | Editor: Mark Paniccia
Vader: Dark Visions #1 commences the latest series from Marvel concerning the Dark Lord of the Sith. Following on the heels of Charles Soule’s Darth Vader series, Vader: Dark Visions is an anthology of tales concerning those whose lives were affected by Darth Vader in some capacity. In Dark Visions #1, Darth Vader liberates a world that has no idea who he is or what he stands for, from a tyrant that oppresses them. In the process, Darth Vader becomes a legend.
Lack of Context Breeds Worship
Darth Vader can become a legend to the people of Cianap because they have no idea who he is. Cianap experienced a great calamity. A monster of unimaginable size and power demolished their civilization and drove them underground. Generations later, all they have left are myths and legends about what life was like before. Their life is lived almost entirely underground in sessions they call the “slumber.”
When the “slumber” is broken, the people of Cianap return to the surface. There they see the ruins of their buildings, cites, and world. Nature has taken back over. However, they are ignorant of the ways of the universe at large.
So, when the Empire and the Rebellion wage a battle in the space of Ciapnap in Dark Visions #1, the people are ignorant of what is happening and why. One child is fascinated by the explosions he can see above the clouds even though he has no idea what they mean. To him, the gods are at war.
A Demigod Falls to Earth
The battle in Dark Vision #1 the child witnesses from afar features Darth Vader piloting his TIE Advanced against the Rebellion. When a desperate Rebel sacrifices himself in an attempt to destroy the Dark Lord, Vader only takes minor damage. Yet, the damage is severe enough he must land on Cianap for repairs.
Vader’s descent to the planet is no ordinary landing though. The inhabitants of Cianap see his arrival as a fireball plummeting to the planet. They take this as an omen and begin their retreat to the underwold. The “awakening” is over. The slumber begins anew. Everyone complies. That is, everyone but the child. Whatever is plummeting to the planet, it is headed straight for the “Ender.”
The child sticks around because he believes he was meant to see this. In his heart, this is the savior from the Ender – the beast that decimated his people, city, and world and sent them underground. Of course, the savior is Darth Vader, but this child sees him as a “Black Knight” with a glowing red sword. Once Vader crashes to the planet, he engages in a battle with the Ender, a beast that combines the size and power of Godzilla with a shark.
The battle is the stuff of epic legend. Vader lands some early blows, but the Ender recovers and seemingly destroys Vader. However, everyone knows that Vader is made of sturdier stuff, and he recovers to defeat the monster. He even completes the “Black Knight” motif by riding into battle mounted on a black steed that looks like a horned, four-eyed horse. The child doesn’t understand the Force, and therefore, everything Vader does is mythical and magic. Vader is a superhero, demigod, and epic hero.
Just as suddenly as he arrives, Vader leaves. Once the monster falls to his blood lust, the battle in space is over. The child watches as a Star Destroyer arrives and uses a tractor beam to haul Vader and his TIE in.
Final Thoughts on Dark Visions #1
Dark Visions #1 is a fantastic story. The child is the narrator, but he doesn’t have all the facts. He has no idea who Vader is, and what his motivations are. Therefore, he gets to conclude Dark Visions #1 telling the story of the Black Knight that saved their civilization. He is oblivious to the truth. Darth Vader is a Sith and part of a regime devoted to imposing their own order on the galaxy at the expense of personal freedom. Vader had no intention of saving the people of Cianap from the Ender. No, Vader has a blood lust born of his hatred. The Ender was an obstacle, something that challenged them. So, it had to die.
Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum wrote Dark Visions #1, and it is his introduction to the Star Wars universe as a writer. His story chronicles the origination of a myth or legend. Vader was the hero witnessed by the child, and the child spread the legend in a burgeoning oral tradition on Cianap. A hero was needed, a hero arrived, and a hero left. Even the name of the monster, “Ender,” is fitting. It is the monster that ended the previous age. Hallum captured the essence of the epic tale. This was a succinct story, even though the issue was slightly oversized at 28 pages, that accomplished all that it needed in a single issue.
Dennis Keithly is a graduate of the University of Missouri, North Texas attorney, husband, father of two, and co-host of Starships, Sabers, and Scoundrels. In addition to Star Wars, Dennis is a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and super heroes in general. When not engaged in fictional universes, Dennis is reading a good book or watching the NHL, football, or studying the NFL draft.