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Graphic Novel Review: ‘Darth Vader and Son’ by Jeffrey Brown

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Darth_Vader_and_SonDarth Vader and Son is a delightful and clever children’s comic book that is well conceived and worthwhile entertainment for children and adults alike.

Set up as a series of illustrated tableaus from the life of a Darth Vader who, instead of learning only mid-way through Empire Strikes Back that Luke Skywalker is his son, is the single father of a four-year old Luke (featuring a cameo from the other Skywalker twin, Leia–oops! Spoiler alert! Luke and Leia are siblings!), the book opens with a title page that spoofs the flowing titles and prologue that we’ve come to know as the standard opening of George Lucas’ blockbuster Star Wars films. 

Each page is a colorfully drawn picture, scenes that every Star Wars fan will recognize. Brown’s art is simple, focusing on depicting the setting with only minor changes from the original. Rather, his wry drawings are just enough to both satirize and shed a humorous light on otherwise serious and pivotal scenes. The conversation between Darth Vader and the Emperor by holographic transmission is interrupted by a nattering Luke. In another, Luke trick or treats in the costume of a Storm Trooper while Mon Mothma asks “Aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper?” 

The Prequel Trilogy doesn’t escape Brown’s jabs either, especially Jar Jar Binks. “That’s not the toy you’re looking for,” says a hand waving Vader. “Yes, it is,” replies young Luke, proving he is not among the weak minded. It’s a sly commentary on the generational split in opinions about the first and second Star Wars trilogies.

While each scene pokes fun at Star Wars, it is without malice or mockery. Rather, it is tongue in cheek and by the hand of someone who clearly loves Star Wars. Brown knows that Han shot first, that children keep adults grounded and from taking ourselves too seriously, and recognizes that all the things we older Star Wars fans hate are the same things that kids love, from Ewoks to JarJar Binks.

As I flipped the pages, I chuckled, smiled, and laughed. Then my five-year old saw the book sitting on my bed stand, and she laughed, too. She wouldn’t put the book down after I finished it, and it isn’t for lack of other books to read. After she fell asleep, I found the book under her arm, and this afternoon she informed me that it would be accompanying her to school for ‘show and tell’ tomorrow.

If it can make my daughter laugh as much as it does me, it will be a great addition to our shelves.

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