For the first time in this blog, I will not talk about what’s inside the comic book, rather than what we see first in the comic book, its cover. And who’s better artist to start with than Adi Granov, who drawn the Darth Vader‘s covers. Adi Granov started to work with Marvel on 2004, for the cover and the interior of Iron Man Poster Book, then with the author Warren Ellis on an other Iron Man comic book, the mini-series Iron Man : Extremis (2005-2006). This storyline was adapted in the third Iron Man movie in 2013, movie on wich Adi Granov worked as well as on the first Iron Man movie (2008). If the artist seems to be specialized in covers’ designs, he also drew some short stories for Dark Reign titles and Astonishing X-Men.
Adi Granov‘s covers are easily identifiable. First of all, every one of them are marked with his particular signature composed of his stylized initials A and G. This takes place on the bottom right or left corner, like this cover. Second of all, the way he draws his characters. They are unique, and not like any other comic book artists are used to draw. The lines are more tense, more geometrical than the other artists’ drawings. The characters are more lifelike, and their proportions are more realistic. Some of them have a metallic touch, given by the pencils of the artist. Maybe his drawings are so different from the others, so unique, because they are made with a computer and Adi Granov wants it to be seen? The fact remains that his covers are absolutely fantastic, like this one for Darth Vader #2. Look at the gloves and the sleeves of the dark lord, how realistic they are. We can see the leather shines under the light. And what about his metallic helmet ? They are amazing. His cape itself, revealing the grand general Tagge from whom Darth Vader turns away ostentatiously, is a world of fabric with its numerous folds. Darth Vader walks in front of his army like a victorious king, but he’s not the almighty general of the empire anymore. His rival, Tagge, had replaced him in the “heart” of the Emperor. Two worlds clash : the old one, represented by the light saber and Vader, and the new one with the stormtroopers and their blasters and Tagge. Oddly, the Emperor seems to privilege Tagge and the blasters, rather than his own apprentice. Doesn’t he trust Vader anymore and doesn’t he want to put him in charge ? Or does he remember what he did to his own master, Darth Plagueis, and fear Vader might do the same ?
Luckily, Darth Vader is not alone in his adventures. Trying both to regain the Emperor’s trust and to find out who the young boy who destroyed the Death Star is, he engaged the rogue archeologist Aphra and her two particular droids, Triple-Zero and Bee Tee. Like I’ve said before on Darth Vader by Salvador Larroca, these two droids remind me of C3PO and R2D2. But unlike them, 000 and BT-1 are killers droids, specialized in tortures and murders. They are like the dark versions of both C3PO and R2D2, but they aren’t humorless. Aphra is the female asset of this unlikely team. The three of them are under the close supervision of Darth Vader, the right part of his helmet emerging from the darkness of the universe. If Vader on the previous cover was majestic and in the foreground, he’s now playing a hidden part, leaving Aphra and her droids in charge of his plan. Indeed, he can’t risk being unmasked by the Emperor while he’s sort of double-crossing him.
But the Emperor was already planning to replace Vader by technically enhanced subjects such as the Astarte twins Morit and Aiolin. Despite his few appearances, the Emperor plays the role of the major antagonist of the series. He’s the one who planed it all, and knows almost everything that’d happened in his empire. So Vader’s betrayal is no surprise for him, for he had already planned to replace him years ago. But he’s delighted to catch Vader and shame him. His half-hidden smiling face says it all, like his clasped hands. The Emperor is maybe the most physically human compared to Vader, but his heart is as cold as the vacuum of space How can’t we feel bad for Vader, head down and shameful before the machiavellianism of the Emperor ? This cover is a sad one, and we can’t wait for Vader to pull himself together.
We don’t have to wait long for Vader to regain his almost royal status. Unlike the first cover we’d seen, Vader isn’t walking in front of the stormtroopers, ignoring him and looking down on them, but he’s surrounding by them like if they were allies. Vader is in the center of the cover, which indicate his place as the hero of the series. The bottom view enhances the impression of strength and power that enfold Vader. His clinching fist on the foreground, extraordinarily well designed and realistic, strengthens this a little more. The all composition is a tribute to Vader’s newly regained position in the Emperor’s court.
Adi Granov‘s covers for Darth Vader are just amazing. I hope he’ll continue to design them because they are the perfect way to draw the reader towards the Darth Vader issue on sale. Furthermore, their particular style allows the reader to be immediately immerse into the Star Wars universe. I don’t know for you guys, but as soon as I’ve bought the monthly issue, I can’t wait to go home and read and admire it, starting with the cover.