Star Wars Dark Times Volume 7: A Spark Remains | Writer: Randy Stradley | Artist: Douglas Wheatley | Colorist: Dan Jackson | Letters: Michael Heisler | Publisher: Dark Horse Comics | Price: $19.99 | Form my column at Forces of Geek.com
The recent announcement of Lucasfilm’s decision to forgo the Expanded Universe as a part of the canonical story of Star Wars is a day that most hardcore fans feared.
While some don’t care, most are outraged and have issued the usual threats of swearing off things that took place in a galaxy far, far away. What’s the point of engaging in the novels, comics and video games that explore this cherished fiction within fiction?
Because nothing’s changed. Good storytelling is still good storytelling no matter if it “counts” or not. Randy Stradley’s latest entry into the Dark Times series, A Spark Remains, chronicles an intricate plan to kill Darth Vader.
Yes, this has been done before, but Stradley goes down a different path.
Instead of a particular group of individuals gunning for the Sith Lord, we are treated to a hodgepodge assembly of characters of different professions and backgrounds. Vader’s relentless pursuit of the Jedi who escaped Order 66 has destroyed many lives. The somber tone of those plotting his demise came across extremely well because you could tell they were tired of surviving and wanted to live, even if their time was limited.
Over the years, Dark Horse Comics has done a phenomenal job of maintaining, and sometimes enhancing, the mystique of Darth Vader. Sometimes, they do too good of a job because we often revel in his immorality instead of despising him for it. It’s almost impossible to present a tame Darth Vader so Stradley only included him in moments where he was absolutely needed in order to prevent that bad-ass cool factor from diluting the gravity of a perilous situation that Jedi Dass Jennir and company face.
The ending won’t blow your mind, but it does go in a different direction which was a welcomed change.
Overall, the story reads better as one collected work because the various subplots don’t get lost in the shuffle like they do when waiting a month or longer for the next single issue. Now, Expanded Universe tales have been rebranded Star Wars Legends. I think this presents an opportunity for fans to read up on stories they’ve heard of but have never actually read.
Dark Times covers a series of events that shape and mold whom the most beloved characters in the original Star Wars trilogy ultimately become.