I have to admit, I was not expecting this issue to be this good. The first of a five-part mini series kicks off with a graduating class of Imperial cadets, and is told from the perspective of their Valedictorian, Laurita Tohm. Tohm not only studied hard to surpass his peers at the Academy on Raithal, but he's clearly an incredibly loyal member of the Imperial forces. What made the story so compelling though was the fact that it was told from Tohm's perspective. In fact, writer Haden Blackman does such a great job that you might find yourself thinking that Lord Vader isn't all that bad -- that the Imperial forces could be the "good guys." The thing is, even though Tohm is fighting for the "wrong side," Blackman depicts him as this incredibly loyal, likeable character with endearing qualities. He's hard working, persistant, ambitious and even a little bit insecure; and it's his insecurities that make him human. They are what make the reader like him as a character.
There are a lot of unexpected moments in this issue. You'll find that as you get closer to the end of the book, you won't see what is coming, and that's really something I enjoyed about this book. The unexpected turn of events, and the twist in the plot are things I was absolutely not expecting. What's great is that Blackman made Tohm a really interesting character to read. You'll find yourself rooting for the bad guy.
The art is really pretty. If you were to remove all the lettering, you would still be able to see what is happening in the panels of this issue. Artist Agustin Alessio does a solid job of moving the story along, depicting emotion, and conveying the plot through his art. Oh, and it was pretty to boot!
My only real complaint about the art was that a lot of the characters looked the same, just with different hair color. The same facial expressions were used for different characters. Other than that, there was really nothing bad about this issue.
If you've never read a Star Wars comic before, this might be a good one to pick up. Although the title says "Darth Vader," there isn't a whole lot of Vader in this issue; and although that might seem like a bad thing, this is really a great story. This is a story about Tohm, a Cadet; not Darth Vader, at least not right now. At this point in the story Vader still seems untouchable. We don't know what he's thinking or feeling -- and that's okay. So much of Vader's story has been fleshed out in books, novels and the movies that getting the story from the fresh perspective of this cadet makes the reading experience more interesting. I really enjoyed everything about this issue. This is a great jumping on point for new readers. There are some Star Wars references but the story is written clearly in a way that will be easy to understand.