Star Wars: Darth Vader #19 Written by Kieron Gillen Art by Salvador Larroca Colors …
The oft-tumultuous publication history of this series ends with this issue, the series’ final. Originally announced as six issue miniseries, it was promoted to ongoing before the first issue went on sale. Then, when issue #12 was solicited last December, it became the first casualty of Marvel’s new Star Wars line (sort of, because again, it technically was conceived as finite series to begin with). At any rate, it’s not really a surprise; despite strong sales relative to many other mainstream Marvel and DC series, the back half of the series were some of the lowest-selling issues of any of Star Wars books, and quality-wise, the book always seemed to land thoroughly in the middle of the pack, rarely awful but just as rarely never excellent, either.
Essentially, Fox has nothing to lose by playing it safe, but apparently they don’t have much to lose by backing the ugly underdog, either. The best case scenario? The improbable success of Deadpool gives Fox a mandate to make superhero media weirder, smarter, and more subversive. Worst case: we get another Avengers clone with more sex and blood. Both scenarios make Fox a boatload of box-office money, so why not get a little weird?
Marvel’s merry band of mutants have been noticeably less merry since the All-New, All-Different Marvel Now launched in October. Extraordinary X-Men was criticized for being reductive in its storytelling, pitting the mutants against the threat of extinction yet again, and if that idea put you off of the book then issue 7 definitely won’t bring you back.
It says a lot that, more than 30 years later, our sci-fi visual language is still so reliant on Alien’s and Aliens’ legacy. There are probably entire articles–maybe entire books?–to be written about the fact that you still can’t tell a “small crew investigates an abandoned spacecraft” story without consciously or unconsciously evoking those decades-old movies.