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A lot of comic readers shy away from reading a series when
it’s in the middle or end of a storyline, but I find that sometimes you
discover great issues that way. That’s the case with Lost Command as I haven’t
read the first four issues of the mini-series, but still decided to give this
book a chance. What I found was an actually deeply emotional story about Darth
Vader that was far better than anything the movie prequels could offer.
The story opens with Vader unmasked and chained to a beam on his knees. Before him stands Padme referring to him as Anakin and not Vader. He tells her that Anakin's dead and he can only do what his master asks of him. She leaves him saying that if Anakin is gone, that so is she. Vader flips out and breaks free, which is very bad for the traitors he’s hunting. What follows is a sequence of events in which Vader kills the traitors in pursuit of his dead wife which nearly gets him killed by a bomb. He continues his search until he runs into a woman that is digging into his mind and projecting the vision of Padme. From there Vader flips out and brings everything down around them.
This was actually a very good story, but not because of Vader. The woman that digs into his head and tries to help him is actually the reason it’s so good. She’s honestly trying to fix Vader and make him see what everyone else already can. That his actions got his wife killed and that he doesn’t need to be used by the Emperor anymore. Unfortunately Vader has never learned to control his emotions and it all becomes too much for him to process. The ending is truly sad, but again not because of Vader as a chracter, but because of Vader's actions.
Writer Haden Blackman does a great job of giving the characters unique voices and really capturing the anger of Vader. The interaction between him and Padme is some of the best Star Wars dialog in the franchise history. Blackman really understood the goal of the story he was telling and it was far more complex than Vader tracking down a traitor for the Emperor.
The art on the other hand is pretty bad. It’s barely tolerable and frankly surprising that such low level art was allowed on a Star Wars book. Obviously Dark Horse can’t have top tier talent on every book, but this story warranted better talents than that of Rick Leonardi. Vader rarely looks the same way twice and his robotic arm is that of a Ninja Turtle's with only two fingers and a thumb. In fact that seems to be Leonardi’s major issue is hands and faces. There is an abundance of details on some of the pages, but in general the art style is very sloppy looking. If it was intentional then it really doesn’t work with the tone and feel of the issue.
With the art being as poor as it is this book really becomes average which is a shame since the story is very good. It’s not the best Star Wars story, but its definitely up there. There’s a lot of Star Wars tales coming out this year that tie-in to the cartoon and the video games so it’s understandable that the talent pool becomes limited, but you would think that stories that tie-in to the world of the movies would be given the highest priority. As it stands this book could have been great and what’s more surprising is that I started on the last issue in the series.
Overall Score – 6.0/10