Star Wars Darth Vader: Vol. 1 by Kieron Gillen fills in a necessary gap in the Star Wars canon, and could help fill the time before Star Wars: Rogue One arrives in theaters. Gillen’s Vader is trying to learn the identity of the young pilot who destroyed the Death Star, as well as regain the favor of Emperor Palpatine after failing to stop the Rebel Alliance. As Vader goes on these dual missions, he is forced to hire agents who can act as his public face. Navigating all of these situations and relationships, as well as his personal quest for vengeance against the Rebellion and suspicions about secrets in the Empire, create a world of intrigue and violence for this story to play out. Gillen balances all of these elements superbly and also unleashes Vader, using battle sequences and displays of the Force to remind readers why Vader is one of the most feared individuals in the galaxy.

Reading this series feels like a treat because seeing Vader in battle and acting separate from the Emperor are not features of the Star Wars universe that are often encountered. Gillen also highlights divisions and shifting loyalties within the Empire that are not often discussed, bringing readers into a little corner of the Star Wars series that has not been explored. In addition, having a chance to see inside Vader’s helmet, seeing his motivations and feelings, adds an extra level of fun to the series. Recommended for ages 14 and up who enjoy action, adventure, science fiction, and a galaxy far, far away.