Review: Star Wars – Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison / Author: Haden Blackman / Artist: Agustin Alessio / Publisher: Titan Books / Release Date: April 9th
The period between Revenge of The Sith and Star Wars: A New Hope is a part of the Star Wars chronology that is packed with potential. It’s the bit where the Emperor is at his vilest and Darth Vader is swanning around the Empire, being every inch the supervillain he deserves to be. Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison takes full advantage of this timeline to explore not only a day in the life of a Dark Lord of the Sith, but what it means to be an officer under the Galaxy’s most evil dictator. The book concerns Laurita Tohm, an ambitious young officer who is scarred for life when rebels destroy the academy he graduated from only the day before. He finds himself in the service of Darth Vader, investigating and attempting to resolve the consequences of such an attack.
Haden Blackman has written this sci-fi romp as a tale of lost innocence and rites of passage. Even the darkest of hearts still have something to lose, it seems, and the narrative explores exactly what it means to devote oneself to the majestic tyranny of the Empire. It’s also brimming with neat ideas and a rather interesting supporting cast, although not so much as to take the focus away from Tohm's personal journey.
Agustin Alessio’s pictures are a step above the usual fare that we get in these sort of books. Star Wars graphic novels can be rather samey, but in this case a firm effort has been made to deliver dark, cinematic visuals. It still suffers from being a little bit too fussy in places, but it’s a marked improvement on the art from similar stories, and fits the subject matter quite well.
Overall, those looking for a nice tale about the bad guys of the franchise will be delighted with this. There is plenty of villainy and dramatic monologuing, and just enough intrigue to make it a worthy tale of the Empire.