Dark Horse’s ‘Star Wars’ is a tough act for Marvel to follow | review

(Dark Horse)

With Disney’s recent announcement that the licensing rights for the Star Wars property will revert to Marvel Comics from Dark Horse, I think the current publisher deserves some acknowledgement for the quality treatment  that they have given this franchise. This is long overdue.

I don’t think anyone was surprised by the recent announcement. The writing had been on the wall but, still, when the moment arrived it was felt very keenly among fans. So, to everyone at Dark Horse – I want to say thanks for doing such a great job on one of my favourite stories. You’ve set the bar very high and I truly hope that Marvel carries on from your fine example.

So let’s talk about what made this comic so great.

Star Wars #13 is the first issue in a story arc titled “Five Days of Sith.” All of the issues since #1 have been set between the events of Episode IV and Episode V. So, we don’t have to deal with any of the Clone Wars stuff or the prequels and, even though these events have grudgingly now been accepted as canon, Dark Horse has shown its fine discernment in focusing on what truly made the series great: Episodes IV to VI.

(Dark Horse)

Brian Wood has crafted a series of stories that not only return us to what was fantastic about this franchise, but his “Five Days of Sith” shows us a very detailed and intricate portrait of the evil, manipulative personality of Darth Vader. In the past we’ve seen Vader as a thug, but Wood adroitly portrays him as a true master of evil and calculating villainy. In this issue, he embarks upon an independent campaign of revenge and information gathering without the emperor’s permission, as seen through the eyes of his assigned administrative aide, Ensign Nanda.

It is simply magnificent. Not only as an enjoyable portrayal of this iconic character, but one that makes me care in the same way as when I was first introduced to him many years ago with a box of popcorn in front of me. Moreover, Wood also gives us a very plausible explanation of how Vader discovers the identity of Luke Skywalker in preparation for their eventual encounter in The Empire Strikes Back.

This is how a good writer manages an existing franchise. With the deft pencilling of Facundo Percio, Woods has crafted a story that not only entertains us with new stories of our favourite Star Warriors, but it actually augments the original simply by not trying to out-do it. Wood keeps the characters true to their original introduction so that we are comfortable with what we already know and are prepared to be entertained by what they will do next. Kudos all around … and I don’t know how Marvel hopes to top Wood’s work because as far as I am concerned, he’s the guy who’s clearly got the right stuff.

And you know? If you haven’t been reading this comic, go back and look for it. Trust me; any Star Wars fan would readily love this. Plus, that’s probably the best way to thank Dark Horse for their expert care of this franchise.

Good luck, Marvel.


About Captain John K. Kirk

Captain John K. Kirk
John Kirk is an English and History teacher and librarian in Toronto, Canada. In addition to the traditional curriculum, John tries to teach his students to make sense of geek culture. And with the name "J. Kirk," it's hard for him to not inject "Star Trek" into his lessons. Comics, RPGs and the usual fanboy gear make up his classroom resources.


  1. I have nothing but good things to say about Dark Horse. Between X-Wing and Dark Empire, I’ll eat my shoe if Marvel comes up with better stuff.

  2. Dark Empire is my all time favorite!

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