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Why You Should Read: Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison

A must read for any Star Wars fan or anyone simply searching for a great story.

The Star Wars franchise is awesome (well, for the most part) and it deserves equally awesome comics. Thankfully, the modern era has presented us with more than a few topnotch reads and for me, there's one that stands above the competition: STAR WARS: DARTH VADER AND THE GHOST PRISON. Solid writing, a compelling plot and stunning visuals makes this a read any Star Wars fan should totally love.

Released back in 2012, this story by Haden Blackman and Agustin Alessio takes place mere months after the Jedi were overthrown and slaughtered. The narrative shines the spotlight on the new Empire and specifically follows a sharp character who just graduated from the Imperial Academy: Laurita Tohm. I don't want to give too much away regarding the plot, so I'll only provide the basics. There's a vicious mutiny and it's not long before this loyal and intelligent newbie is side-by-side with the likes of Darth Vader and even the Emperor. What happens next will briefly dive into Vader's former relationship with the Jedi and reveal Yoda and his allies were keeping quite a secret during the war. Along the way we'll be introduced to a fair amount of other characters (most notably the pre-existing character, Trachta), but ultimately, this is Tohm and Vader's story.

There's a lot to love in this five-issue limited-series and obviously a lot of that is thanks to Haden Blackman's writing. The storyline is incredibly compelling and dives into some really dark and emotional territory. This is a tale that flips the traditional formula on its head. No longer are you rooting for the character you know you should be supporting. Now, the "villain" is the one striving for "good," yet Blackman writes the main characters in a manner that'll ultimately have you cheering for them even though you know they're rather despicable.

Despite taking a backseat to Tohm, Vader's presence is quite powerful and has some terrific moments in each issue. Blackman writes him as a character who often chooses to remain quiet most of the time and speak through his actions, but when Blackman does have him speak, it certainly feels appropriately intimidating. As I've already stated, this is mainly Tohm's story, but Vader's by no means sold short on panel time and has what is by far the most shocking scene in the entire series. Honestly, calling it a "jaw-dropper" isn't even doing it justice. Meanwhile, Tohm is handled masterfully. There's some exceptional character development surrounding the wise rookie and you'll be shocked by how much he changes from his opening moments to a final twist. Additionally, there's no shortage of action and the final battle is a real blast.

Alessio's artwork is mind-blowingly good and never fails to create at least one jaw-dropping panel in every issue. Whether it's Darth Vader wielding his lightsaber against unfortunate enemies or the key characters merely standing around, Alessio does a phenomenal job bringing these characters to life with an exceptional amount of detail. My only gripe is many characters have very similar faces, but that's massively overshadowed by quite literally everything else regarding the art. As if having a superb story wasn't enough, GHOST PRISON successfully delivers consistently excellent visuals which perfectly convey the book's darker tone.

An intriguing plot by Blackman and absurdly good illustrations by Alessio makes STAR WARS: DARTH VADER AND THE GHOST PRISON a great limited-series. It's without question something every fan of the epic franchise must experience at least once. Even if you just kind of like Star Wars, you owe it to yourself to give this short series an honest shot. And in the event you can't get your hands on the individual issues, you'll be happy to know this has since been collected as a hardcover which is absolutely worth every single penny.

And if you want to see even more from the story before diving into it, here's a trailer they previously released to help promote the hardcover.

Edited by Hawkguy

YEEEEES! Amazing story. Personifies all that Vader is perfectly.

So badass

Posted by CrimAldan

Well said, Gregg. I was reading this comic as issues last year. I appreciate ya putting out this article. And let me just say to anyone reading this comment: Darth Vader fans, you will be enthralled.

Edited by CrimAldan
Edited by dondave

I feel like I'm on the only person who likes Jar Jar Binks

Edited by Lanternrag

I've been meaning to pick this up for a couple month but It'll be the next thing I get now. Any other really good Star Wars stories you can recommend?

Edited by k4tzm4n

@lanternrag said:

I've been meaning to pick this up for a couple month but It'll be the next thing I get now. Any other really good Star Wars stories you can recommend?

Very happy to hear that. The two other modern stories which immediately jump to mind are Blood Ties and Death Sentence. Then again, I adore the Fetts and Darth Maul.

@crimaldan Thank you!

Posted by TommytheHitman

Damn now I want to pick this up!

Posted by flameboy298

@crimaldan: What did you guys think about the book Darth Revan?

Posted by StMichalofWilson
@hawkguy said:

YEEEEES! Amazing story. Personifies all that Vader is perfectly.

So badass


Edited by TommytheHitman
Posted by AlKusanagi

So wait... Is it a prison for ghosts, or is the prison itself a ghost?

Posted by k4tzm4n

So wait... Is it a prison for ghosts, or is the prison itself a ghost?

Well, read it and find out :P

Posted by SynCig

Loved this story. The art was fantastic and it showed both the emotional underside to Vader and the stone cold killer as well.

Posted by mcbean

It's good but not awesome

Posted by SynCig

@dondave I find that my hatred for Jar Jar has diminished slowly over the years. I still think he is lame but it no longer insights any strong emotion from me.

Posted by flameboy298
Posted by TommytheHitman
Posted by kriminal

i was going to buy this but i got some big stuff coming up. villains month, battle of the atom, infinity, plus my regular pull list

Posted by saoakden

I'm going to read this.

Posted by Owie

This was one of the best comics I read that whole year, Star Wars or not. Definitely top notch writing and art. I really hope they bring this creative team back together.

Posted by mightypug78

i got the last ish of this. sooo awesome

Posted by Omega Ray Jay

Remember hearing about this awhile back, it's already on my to get list but its good to see that the enthusiasm is still strong for it.

Posted by jwalser3

@mcbean said:

It's good but not awesome

Pretty much. The action with all the prisoners was great! But other than that it's 7/10

Posted by Regular_Stormy
Edited by ssejllenrad

@dondave said:

I feel like I'm on the only person who likes Jar Jar Binks

Yousa not joking? Yousa spake da truth? Dis is nutsen! Meesa thinks yousa joking. Dat smells stinkowiff!

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

Definitely is on my summer reading list now!

Posted by manwithoutshame

I read this when it came out and I totally agree! I'd like to see this same team work with Vader again.

Edited by Emperormeister734

Interesting I gotta get that

Posted by ekrolo

Easily one of my favorite comics :)

Posted by SuperJedi17

Is this better than the last command? I'm not sure which Vader story I should get,I like thrawn(comic) trilogy and the dark empire trilogy...though that's all the star wars books I got.

Posted by steve_ryall

Going to order the comics rather than the hardback. Looking forward to this.

Posted by Deranged Midget

You should read this because it's honestly the best Star Wars mini-arc I've read aside from Brian Wood's current series in years.

Edited by CrimAldan

@flameboy298: I actually skipped that one. I'm not much of a gamer (besides the NHL games), so I was not interested in SWTOR, ergo not really interested in the novelization. I have read some of the comic books that go along just to get a gist of the story. Not the best, but still worth a read for a hardcore fan I suppose.

Next book on my list is Crucible, by Troy Denning. Has anyone read that yet?

Edited by SavageDragon

Amazing story. Read the whole book in one sitting and I was blown away.

Posted by BaneStrokeLoboGrundyBatArrow

Love Star Wars

Posted by McG

Not just for Star Wars fans either... I HATE all the films, just completely boring to me but dunno when #1 came out I read it cause I liked Vader from playing The Force Unleashed games (only thing Star Wars I like) and ended up getting into it... also liked the other Darth Maul series until I seen him with really rediculous robot legs... the fuck haha

Posted by k4tzm4n

So, has anyone picked this up?