Though this mini series started out very strong, with two excellent issues back to back, the problematic third issue was a big disappointment. Can the fourth issue get us back on track?

A smuggler’s kid hides from a Stormtrooper unit that confronts his Dad, awaiting the signal to shoot. Under pressure, he crumbles – leading to a tragic situation that haunts him. Years later, he’s a cocky pilot looking for payback on the Empire; reckless and arrogant, yet highly skilled, he convinces his Commander to fly a mission to destroy a key, Empire-controlled factory. Yet a certain Dark Lord of the Sith is currently in attendance – and ready to personally handle the situation.

I think I was perhaps a bit hasty in so strongly recommending Star Wars: Vader – Dark Visions based on the strength of the opening two issues. Though we had two great stories, issue 4 unfortunately continues the trend set by issue 3 in being hugely disappointing.

It’s certainly not problematic in the same way as the sexist, poorly judged third issue; rather, the problem with issue 4 is that it just feels so generic and pointless.

Vader’s part in the story feels tacked on and the Rebel mission never feels like much more than the fighter pilots against Vader. There’s no sense of scale to the mission or the battle that ensues as we see so little of anything other than the ships in exterior shots (I don’t think there’s a single view of the factory that the Rebels are looking to destroy, for example).

The problem with Vader feeling shoehorned in is that this series is supposed to be giving readers a glimpse at the extreme ways that Vader is perceived by various characters; here, he’s just there and has little bearing on the protagonist, with no unusual viewpoint or opinion of Vader being presented at all.

That’s not to say that it’s badly written or illustrated – it’s perfectly serviceable in both respects – but it just feels as if this story could fit into just about any Star Wars anthology series. As part of the Vader – Dark Visions stories it just feels completely out of place.

You can purchase Star Wars: Vader – Dark Visions Volume 1 (which collects the entire five issue series) from Amazon here.

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