Written by Cavan Scott
Illustrated by Derek Charm & Corin Howell
Published by IDW Publishing
While on a secret mission for the Rebel Alliance, Commander Lina Graf’s ship came under attack by TIE fighters and crash-landed on the planet Mustafar, directly in front of Darth Vader’s castle. It took three issues, but they finally got into the Sith Lord’s humble abode.
To take their mind off of things, Graf tells her crew a story about Han Solo…of the Alden Ehrenreich variety. It’s not a surprise if you’ve been following IDW’s recent use of the character. However, if a particular Star Wars film didn’t tickle your fancy, you might not be interested in this book.
Han and Chewie take a delivery job on a cursed moon that no one will even entertain. Upon their arrival, they square off against the Emerald Witch, who looks like Poison Ivy had a baby with an owl.
Also, you guessed it; plants are her weapon of choice. Cavan Scott must be a Batman fan since this is his second time taking inspiration from Gotham’s rogue’s gallery.
This spooky story is a by the numbers affair. It’s not bad, but it’s easily predictable.
Still, this series is targeted towards children, and it will probably provide them with some entertainment value.
Back at the castle, Lina Graf and company believe they are at some random imperial installation, which means they don’t know who’s house they’re in. That has the potential to be a fascinating plot point once they learn the grim truth.
Unfortunately, Vader is not scheduled to appear until the fifth and final issue.
Corin Howell (Power Rangers, Ghostbusters International) is this week’s guest artist. Like her colleagues, she manages to supply a scary motif with some good character work. Howell’s Han Solo looks as if she somehow animated Ehrenreich himself. Derek Charm illustrated the first four pages and made tiny technician bug, Skritt look pretty adorable while pining for a story to distract him from his frightening surroundings. Colorist Valentina Pinto uses a brighter color palette, well, as bright as things can be in a horror story. It makes the artwork standout a bit, augmenting the perks of this visual medium.
Tales From Vader’s Castle, if nothing else, is firmly living up to its mission to present horror stories. While I’m a canon junkie when it comes to Star Wars, it’s nice to see a series from this franchise relax and not worry about making all of the pieces fit within a precise timeline. The result so far has been a mixed bag, but with three down and two to go, the odds could improve.
As for this particular issue, I wouldn’t recommend it if your pull list operates on a budget.