In the interest of full disclosure, yes, my name is Luke. My whole life I've been badgered with the phrase, "Luke, I am your father." So as much as I enjoy Star Wars, there's been a mild diversion from it > until recently. I picked up Brian Wood's (I know, I know) Star Wars on Black Friday, and have been enjoying it. I have a ton of Star Wars books on my Christmas list now. But I can't tell you how much I love villian books. Maybe I'm secretly evil with the harmless face of mine. But when I saw Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows I just knew this was going to be good.
From what I can tell, Dark Horse is doing great with their Star Wars material (feel free to comment), and issue #1 of this Darth Vader series is no exception. It's the story of a Clone who found his identity through a grueling war story and the trauma that the Jedi caused him. This is an issue you can read quickly, but visit through the pages twice over because you don't pick everything up the first time. I'm probably missing a few things about who this character truly is since I don't have a PhD in Star Wars material like some lovely folks do out there. But I love hearing the story from a side you wouldn't normally hear otherwise. This clone was made in the image of Jango Fett, Boba Fett's dad. He sided with the Jedi at some point, got hurt, then lived with a farmer for a couple of years while he slowly overheard the story of the most powerful warrior known - Darth Vader. Clone CT-5539 later chooses a different path -- "leading straight to Darth Vader." So this is very much leading up to some serious badassery that I can't wait to see in Issue #2.
As is often the case with material that has an intense & daunting amount of backstory, there's a lot of names on this issue. Understandably so, I'd be frightened to be entrusted with doing justice to the Star Wars brand. The script is by Tim Siedell, a freelance writer who has done a lot of different projects like writing for the Weird Al Yankovich show (right?), you can see more on his website. There he has plenty of preview pages, future issue covers, and extra info galore. My only issue with the script is a minor one. You'll notice the script doesn't leave room to show the power of Vader as much as it could, though that may be that he's pressed for space in this 32 pager. What we do see is a few bits of aftermath of the power of Vader. Though once you see him destory a massive ship, I'd say that makes up where it lacks otherwise, in terms of pure power and destruction from the all powerful Vader.
As for the colors (Michael Atiyeh) and art (Gabrial Guzman) I'd say it's the consistent work of Dark Horse. I didn't feel it detracted from the story, yet I'm not sure it enhances it much either. It's par for the course, though. I love the art on the cover, though. Felipe Massafera kills the cover with Vader crushing everyone around him. That's power. I thought to myself, "What a cool image!" I should probably rethink my life now if I enjoy looking at pictures of colored murder. Well, maybe tomorrow anyway.
All in all it's a big "do recommend" from me. Go pick it up if you're a Star Wars fan.