Written by Cavan Scott
Illustrated by Derek Charm, Kelley Jones
Published by IDW Publishing
The second installment of this five-part series is an improvement from its predecessor. However, some of the disappointing elements remain. There is no Darth Vader, no reveals about his castle on Mustafar, and the wannabe Ghost crew still take time to tell scary stories in the middle of immediate danger.
“Count Dooku: Price of Darkness” is a flashback tale of horror set during the Clone Wars on a planet plagued by eternal night. Obi-Wan Kenobi leads an investigation to confront a Dark Lord.
Kenobi suspects Dooku, which the cover of the books suggests. While Dooku is in the mix, the big bad here is a vampire, Man-Bat, looking creature named Lord Ranva. I bet you never thought you’d see that in a galaxy far, far away?
Ranva indiscriminately turns his victims, including a Mynock. Kelly Jones’ illustration of the Mynock looks, well, different from what I remember. Any issues one might have with his interpretation will go away when said Mynock is shown ferociously chewing on power cables, presenting a nice callback to Empire Strikes Back.
Artwork and narrative serve both Count Dooku and Christopher Lee well. Dooku exhibits powers we’ve never seen before due to being forced into an unfamiliar situation. In several of the panels, Dooku is rendered in a manner that evokes Lee’s portrayal of Dracula.
The stories within stories approach firmly establishes this series in a manner where prior grievances can be forgiven. Tales From Vader’s Castle is essentially Tales from the Crypt. It’s not about the bozos telling the story. It’s about the spooky stories being told.
Honestly, this should have been the first issue as it would have given the series a stronger start. The story is much, much better this time around, featuring more recognizable characters within the Star Wars universe. The depictions are creatively inspired and embrace the book’s horror objective while having fun in the process with a little PEW PEW PEW action to go around.