A strong first two issues for this unusual Star Wars series was derailed by a problematic third issue and a generic-feeling fourth issue. Can the finale send Star Wars: Vader – Dark Visions off with a bang?

Thanks to the actions of a cocky rebel, Vader and his troops open fire on a bar full of unarmed patrons, while searching for missing Imperial intel. The bartender escapes with the seemingly important plans – but during the pursuit he’s accidentally infected by a hallucinogenic plant – which twists and terrifyingly distorts his perception of reality.

As with the majority of Star Wars: Vader – Dark Visions, the star of the show is the artwork; here, Geraldo Borges does a fantastic job of selling Vader as a twisted, even more terrifying version of himself amidst the poor bartender’s terrible visions.

There are hints of a gay romance early on, but this is soon discarded for the extended chase sequence and intense, horror-laced imagery. Beyond those tantalisingly unusual – for Star Wars, anyway – few moments, there’s not much of interest in the script, which doesn’t have any great insight or anything noteworthy to say.

The art truly does the heavy lifting in this somewhat inconsequential story.

Again, it’s a real shame after the first two issues that the series never seemed to recover from the misstep of the third story – though issues four and five won’t linger in the mind as much as the cruel, misogynistic love story in issue three, they’re largely forgettable and just push the already well established notion of Vader as someone to be feared.

This issue seems to take the series name – Dark Visions – far too literally too.

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.

Overall then, Star Wars: Vader – Dark Visions fails to live up to the promise of its premise, wearing out the concept far too early on. However, the artwork remains generally strong throughout, not counting the bug-eyed insanity of the nurse in issue three, which fails on just about every level except the romantic flights of fancy undergone by the protagonist. That said, the final two stories are painfully thin and uninteresting; and with the third issue being so dreadful, more than half of the five issue run aren’t stories I’d recommend bothering with. Very disappointing.

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

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