Star Wars Adventures: Ghosts of Vader’s Castle | Review
Star Wars Adventures: Ghosts of Vader’s Castle
Writer: Cavan Scott
Artists: Francesco Francavilla, Megan Levens, Derek Charm, Robert Hack and Chris Fenoglio
IDW Publishing; Age 9 Up
In what has become an annual October tradition, IDW released another scary story-themed Star Wars Adventures miniseries centered on Darth Vader’s one-time headquarters this past year, this one entitled Ghosts of Vader’s Castle.
The premise is fairly simple, if the structure is a bit complex.
Young Milo Graf, a character created by writer Cavan Scott for his Adventures in Wild Space junior prose novels and who frequently shows up in the Star Wars Adventures comics, is captured and taken to the late Vader’s castle by a possessed droid. His older sister Lina, who, like every other character in the book, has been haunted by strange, repetitive nightmares of late, seeks to rescue him. To do so, she gathers together her old crew, veterans of past Vader’s Castle comics, and pilot Jaxxon, the somewhat notorious green anthropomorphic rabbit character introduced in the original run of Marvel’s Star Wars comics.
Once there, they find Milo in the clutches of Vader’s now quite mad former servant, Vanee, who hopes to resurrect Vader through Sith magic.
Four of the series’ five issues feature extended dream sequences which, as in years past, all play with the Star Wars-ificiation of various scary movie tropes, which here include giant monsters, creepy kids, a swamp-dwelling gill-man and a zombie plague. Being dream sequences, they need not follow any rules, and thus they all star characters from the movies in addition to the characters from this particular comic. They’re also permitted to end badly, as in the first issue/chapter’s dream, in which C-3PO and R2-D2 succumb to some sort of droid zombie contagion, dooming the heroes of the prequel trilogy.
As for the fifth and final issue, the supernatural intrudes upon the waking world in the form of a ghost…or, at least, a Force ghost, which I suppose in the world of Star Wars is more natural that supernatural.
Francecso Francavilla, a veteran of past Vader’s Castle series, handles the majority of the art here, drawing the framing sequences involving the Graf children and the entirety of the fifth issue, while artists Megan Levens, Derek Charm, Robert Hack, and Chris Fenoglio draw the various dream sequences, their style ranging from Levens and Hack’s extremely realistic to Charm and Fenoglio’s more exaggerated and cartoony.
As with all of IDW’s Star Wars Adventures comics, it’s an engaging, all-ages adventure that depicts some of the most familiar of heroes and villains in excitingly different art styles, making them all seem refreshingly new.
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About J. Caleb Mozzocco
J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.
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