Comics Review: "Star Wars - Purge: The Tyrant's Fist" #1
- by Señor Editor, 8 December 2012
"Star Wars - Purge: The Tyrant's Fist" (you think that's enough f*^&$in titles?!?) got my attention mainly because it's a Darth Vader story, and the last Vader mini series that came out a few months back was unexpectedly good. "Purge: The Tyrant's Fist" (I will get so sick of writing this title really, really soon, so I will keep shortening it throughout the review to keep it manageable) takes place sometime soon after the events of Episode III, and so it features Vader at the phase of his life when he was trying to distance himself from being the dreadful Little Ani, frolicking through the meadows with Padme and playfully riding space cows. He's got the armor on and he's sent to a planet where 3 Jedi are hiding. He's there to kill them, but the problem is those dudes are heavily supported by the planet's population.
So the plot isn't anything special, but has the potential to show us Vader being a real badass again, Force-choking people and cutting them down with his lightsaber. Once again, the story is narrated by some lower rank Imperial officer, and that usually works well with Vader, so I'm not complaining. Even though there's apparently 3 Jedi on the planet, it's actually only one of them that is posing any kind of threat. His name is Cho'na Bene and he looks like this:
If you thought "Well, he doesn't look very cool..." then you were absolutely right. It's a blue thing with no mouth, 4 hands and huge shoulder pads. He doesn't look cool and he isn't cool. Look, this is a story about Vader having to go and kill some hiding Jedi. Anybody who buys this is gonna be rooting for Vader anyway, because he's Vader and his opponents are not. Wouldn't it be nice if Vader's main opponent would be a little more interesting? We're already 99% sure he's gonna get killed, but it would be more interesting if he was at least likeable in some way, and not look like a failed cross between the aliens from "Avatar" and General Grievous. This guy is also trying to be a smartass and this just makes me want to see him dead even more, just to shut him up. There could be more gravitas to the whole upcoming fight between him and Vader if there was anything... ANYTHING interesting about this Bene dude.
Bene doesn't get killed right away (we still have to wait for issue 2 for that) because he manages to destroy the vehicles of the clone troopers and tries to lure them into a trap. Vader doesn't fall for that, so he takes some prisoners and retreats to fight another day and come up with a strategy that will make the planet less sympathetic towards the Jedi. There's also an attack by the Jedi supporters and Vader getting a talking-to from the Emperor. That's about all that happens in this issue.
"The Tyrant's Fist" is written by Alexander Freed, with art by Marco Castiello and Andrea Chella. Since you already know a bit about the writing, let's talk about the art in this. It mostly does the job, although sometimes it looks a bit rushed. The main thing that sticks out for me is Vader's helmet. This is a very iconic design and due to all the angles and arches in it, it's easy to not get it right, and when that happens it's immediately noticeable. He looks okay when he's just standing, face front, but when his head is at an angle, especially in action scenes, it looks off. If it was any other character I wouldn't call this a problem (especially since the artists aren't bad at all, and do a better job drawing Vader than many others who tried it), but that's the most important part of the design of the book's protagonist, and as hard to do as it can be, getting his look exactly right is pretty important here.
Overall, "Tyrant's Fist" is alright at best. It's possible issue two may yet change my opinion and absolutely "wow" me, but I wouldn't count on it. It doesn't look as good as "Ghost Prison", its plot is pretty generic and while it is nice to just see Vader kicking ass, we've seen it done better before. If you're a picky (or just reasonable) Star Wars/Vader fan, I'd say "Fist" isn't something you really need to get.