Comic Publishers

April 9, 2010

Dark Horse Reviews: Star Wars: Purge – The Hidden Blade #1

Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Haden Blackman
Artist: Chris Scalf
Cover: Chris Scalf

Minor spoilers!

“The Hidden Blade”: Like the last Star Wars Purge one shot, this issue takes place after Revenge of the Sith, almost twenty years before the Battle of Yavin in Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope, and focuses on yet another of Vader’s missions assigned to him by the Emperor.

This issue takes place on the planet Otavon XII, and the Dark Lord of the Sith is basically babysitting a bunch of Imperials at a base that is solely dedicated to building Imperial Walkers (AT-AT’s).  The locals in the area, armed with spears and a few blasters, have been attacking the base frequently, but pose no real danger.  This mission seems like it’s beneath one as skilled in the Dark Side of the Force like Vader, but he is quickly reprimanded when he states this to the Emperor.  The real issue is that he feels a strong presence on the planet and is more concerned with finding its source, and if it’s a Jedi then he will kill him or her.  A battered clone trooper returns from a mission, and confirms that the natives are being led by a Jedi before he collapses to the ground, causing Vader to leave his post and seek out the runaway Jedi.

Haden Blackman crafts a very good story here and shows us a side of Vader that just echos Anakin Skywalker; and by that I mean the arrogant and cocky know-it-all kid that screwed up quite often because he didn’t listen to his master.  I know everyone is used to seeing Vader as the unstoppable entity that you don’t want to mess with, but  Blackman also chooses to humble Vader in this story, and that’s just something that isn’t done on a regular basis, making this a refreshing read.  Blackman also works the title into the story on various levels, whether they be tangible or abstract, giving the story yet another few layers to go through.

With this one-shot we are treated to the visuals of Chris Scalf, which are damn good from beginning to end.  At first I was having issues with the backgrounds being fuzzy or just lacking, but I eventually noticed that this wasn’t something that detracted from the art in each page.  I just chalked it up to the swampy planet being really foggy, because when compared to the interiors of the base, there’s a lot more detail there.

My only issue is that the whole “getting your hand cut off by a light saber” routine is pretty much played out, and I can do without those scenes.  It was cool the first time we saw it in Empire Strikes Back, but it’s so overused in the Star Wars books now that it’s very far from exciting anymore.  Aside from that, I will say that for a self-contained Star Wars story about Vader on some backwater planet, it is in no way a waste of  time, and I’d suggest picking it up if you’re a fan of the series or just a serious Darth Vader fan!

Infinite Speech



  1. Aron White

    The shot of Vader making his entrance is just pure poetry! I can actually hear the flapping of his cape and the hum of his lightsaber.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Aron White. Aron White said: Hey! @infinitespeech says this Darth Vader comic isn't a waste of time! #StarWars […]

  3. Billy

    I might have to pick this up for my brother in-law. He’s a huge Vader fan.

  4. BPS

    Actually, the first time was saw a hand cut off by a lightsaber was “A New Hope,” during the cantina scene. Sure, Ponda Baba getting hacked by Ben Kenobi is far from a lightsaber duel, but an extremity was cut off nonetheless.

    “The Phantom Menace” is actually the only of the 6 films that doesn’t feature an extremity cut off by a lightsaber (but it, of course, had Maul chopped in half, so take that for what you will).

  5. Aron if you’re ever that close to Vader you might want to run lol

    BPS, the guy got his entire arm cut off in the cantina scene yeah I know it’s a minor difference but ah well. I was actually just making a point about the overuse of the hands getting cut off in a plethora of Star Wars books but I guess it could be a running theme that has to be in all of the books lol

  6. Kristin

    Eh…I always saw Vader as a more subtle villain. But, I guess he had to get to that point somehow.

  7. BPS

    Oh it’s definitely been overused in the EU. Fully agree with you there. 😀

  8. I thought this issue was top of the line. Especially the art- holy hell does it look good!!

  9. […] is set roughly 16 years after Return of the Jedi. Chris Scalf recently wowed fans with his work on Star Wars: Purge: The Hidden Blade back in April of this year. Here are some images to refresh your memory of that […]

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