"Star Wars Adventures: Tales From Vader's Castle #3" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Cavan Scott
Illustrated by Derek Charm and Corin Howell
Colored by Derek Charm and Valentina Pinto
Lettered by Robbie Robbins and Tom B. Long
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on October 17th, 2018
There's a space for horror in every fictional universe. You just have to look for it. I'm glad to see that the spooky side of Star Wars is being explored in this weekly series, Tales from Vader's Castle. A group of rebel soldiers crash lands on the fiery planet of Mustafar. As they make their way through hordes of black Stormtroopers to the ominous castle in the distance, they've been sharing stories to keep their minds off their troubles. This one features a young pilot named Han Solo as he takes on a job he soon comes to regret.
This dual narrative in Star Wars Adventures: Tales from Vader's Castle works well. The present story is interesting and foreboding as we all know what's waiting for this group in the castle. The tales from the past feature familiar faces in new and frightening scenarios. This is where the bulk of the comic takes place.
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It's impossible not to love Han Solo. His cocky attitude is infectious. This story follows him during his younger days as he and Chewbacca aim to deliver a statue to the cursed planet of Rendel. He initially scoffs at the curse, but learns the truth after seeing unsettling vines growing and crushing everything in the area.
We don't see the villain for a little while. Instead, writer Cavan Scott builds the tension steadily as Han goes deeper and deeper into the dreadful woods. With each step, he moves farther away from safety. He won't be able to charm his way out of the grips of these prickly vines.
Artist Corin Howell perfectly captures the suave disposition of Han. It comes down to the sly smile that's plastered on his face. You can tell that he always has an ace up his sleeve. This contrasts well with the creepy imagery of Rendel and the claustrophobic feeling of the vines closing in. You know it's serious when Han's smile turns to a look of concern.
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Rendel is full of dark shadows that hide what might be lurking within these woods. Colorist Valentina Pinto adds to this ominous feeling with the dark greens of the vines and the odd purple of the sky. This is a foreign land in more ways than one.
That feeling extends to the present day story, particularly with the shadows. Artist Derek Charm plays up the horror aspect of Tales from Vader's Castle with some chilling sequences. Shadow is used incredibly well as the rebel soldiers slowly make their way through the dark corridors of the castle. Anything could be waiting for them in these shadows and it's only a matter of time before we hear an all too familiar breathing in the distance.
Star Wars Adventures: Tales from Vader's Castle brings horror to a galaxy far, far away. It's not full of blood and gore, though. The series is intended for all-ages, so it's like Goosebumps in space and there's nothing about that sentence that I don't love.