This week the first ever Marvel Star Wars event kicks off with Vader Down, and Mark Millar teams up with Rafael Albuquerque for Huck!
For being the first big Marvel Star Wars event, “Vader Down” has a pretty small-scale plot: Darth Vader is marooned on a planet housing a Rebel fueling facility. With Rebel forces surrounding him, the Dark Lord of the Sith has to fight his way off the planet, and while we KNOW he’ll be fine, that doesn’t mean that Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato’s kick off special issue isn’t a blast to read.
Tying in more with Kieron Gillen’s Darth Vader series than Aaron’s Star Wars, Vader Down picks up with Vader heading to a remote planet that he’s been told is housing Luke Skywalker. With the recent knowledge that Skywalker is both his son and the person who destroyed the Death Star, Vader is hell bent on the retrieving the young man and seeing how capable he is with the Force. Naturally Vader is ambushed, and crash lands on the planet. But while Darth may be down, he’s definitely not out, as he immediately starts picking apart the Rebel forces that are descending upon him.
Jason Aaron definitely sets the stakes pretty high with this crossover opener, but the fact that Vader’s gonna survive kinda puts a damper on things. Despite this, Vader Down continues his awesome run on the Star Wars series. Once again, Aaron’s characterizations are spot on, with his Vader being both chilling and badass. There’s not a whole lot of Han, Leia, or Chewie in this installment, but we do get a few scenes with Luke, who’s also hot on Vader’s trail. With this being the first part of a big crossover, you’d think this would be a pretty talky book. However, Aaron gets a lot of the set up out of the way, and gets to the action quickly.
While neither John Cassaday or Stuart Immonen are on art duties with this issue, Mike Deodato is, and like those other two before him, he’s a great fit for Star Wars. Deodato’s art here is pretty fun, and he draws some spectacular space battles. The opening pages where Vader faces off with a squadron of X-Wings in his TIE Fighter is insane. As always, there’s some fluctuations with how Vader’s iconic mask is portrayed, but for the most part this is a solid issue from Deodato.
Of course we know that Vader’s not going to die and that the Rebel’s plan will undoubtedly blow up in their faces, but that doesn’t lessen any of the fun that you’ll have reading Vader Down. There’s bound to be some cool revelations to help fill in the gaps between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back here. If you’ve been enjoying Marvel’s Star Wars output of late, do not let this one pass you by.
Huck #1 (Image)
Mark Millar continues his stellar hot streak of Image titles with Huck. Working with Rafael Albuquerque, Huck is a combination of the Superman mythos and Forest Gump. Yes it’s a weird combination, but it’s also one that works insanely well.
Huck is a good-natured, if simple, man who lives in a small town. He performs one good deed every day, but it’s not as simple as holding the door open for someone or helping an old lady cross the street. No, Huck does things like jump into a lake to find a gold chain necklace, or rip out a stump with his bare hands so a farmer can put up a barn. He’s lived a quiet life, and the people in his town have never told anyone about him. But soon the whole world is going to find out about Huck and what he can do.
Huck’s been hyped up a lot by Millar, and I have to say, it really lives up to it. There’s a really great sense of timelessness to this story, and Millar’s script makes Huck so likeable and endearing that you can’t help but love him. We don’t know anything about his past, and we don’t really need to either. Everything we need to know about Huck we see through his actions, which include paying for the people behind him in the drive through, or even offering to take someone’s shift at the local store. This is a very optimistic and sweet book, something that not a lot of people would expect from the writer of Kick-Ass and The Ultimates.
As is the trend with all Millar books, he teams up with a stellar artist for this series. This time it’s American Vampire artist Rafael Albuquerque. Albuquerque’s pages here are simply astonishing, and they match the tone of Millar’s script perfectly. Albuquerque nails the Americana style of Huck, with some panels that could easily be ripped out of the book and framed. This could very well turn out to be the best thing Albuquerque’s done in comics.
If you’re read all of Mark Millar’s other current Image work, you should definitely check this book out. Hell, if you haven’t read any of Millar’s current Image output, you should read this book. It’s a great place to start, and gives you a little taste of the “All New” Mark Millar. Huck’s debut definitely stands as one Millar’s best opening issues, and it’s quite possible that it could end up being his best series when all is said and done.