Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows by Tim Siedell, Gabriel Guzman, Michael Atiyeh, Felipe Massafera
From the same author that released Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin, Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows is a graphic novel set a few months after The Revenge of the Sith, in which the Empire is consolidating its power across the galaxy.
Despite Vader’s name being in the title, it’s really the story of a clone soldier who is left for dead by his Jedi general during the Clone Wars.
Defecting from the army he hides away for years on a backwater planet, only to become intrigued by rumours of the terrifying Darth Vader. He signs up to become a Stormtrooper, and once again finds meaning on the battlefield – though it isn’t the same as when he fought under Jedi leadership.
It’s a fascinating, though rather depressing story about identity and choices, told exclusively from the point-of-view of a character who (by design) never really HAD an identity or choices. Created to be a soldier, the nameless clone has several revelations across the course of his recorded story that keep shaking up his world-view and perception of self.
Vader appears more as a symbol than an actual character, one for the clone protagonist to compare or differentiate himself to.
Having recently read Kieron Gillen’s DARTH VADER comics, it’s interesting to see the difference in characterization: Gillen’s take on Vader is a man with no small degree of cunning and strategy, whilst Tim Siedell’s Vader is more a blunt, unquestioning instrument of destruction.
It is technically non-canon now (falling into the pre-Disney takeover body of work, called Legends) and yet nothing here contradicts anything we’ve seen in the official canon, such is its self-contained nature.
Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows is a quick read, but a memorable one, with great artwork that captures the grim unpleasantness of the clone’s life-story without getting too graphic.