Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Modern Marvel: Star Wars: Vader Down #1 ZBOX Exclusive

Zavvi is an online brand that, through the usual tangled web of acquisitions and bankruptcy, is a descendant of Virgin Megastores.  Zavvi is based out of the U.K. although they have expanded into other countries.  They sell a subscription box service called ZBOX that contain themed pop culture products, including comic books.

The December 2015 ZBOX offering was Star Wars themed due to the release of The Force Awakens that same month.  Included in the box is an exclusive Star Wars: Vader Down #1.  While ZBOX is now available in the U.S. it was not at the time this exclusive was released, so most of the sales found on eBay are from the U.K.

Star Wars: Vader Down #1ab - Marvel Comics, U.S. (December 2015)
ZBOX exclusive
The cover art is by Pasqual Ferry who also provides covers for the Star Wars (2015) #1 Think Geek and Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1 Baltimore Diamond Retailer exclusives.  Like the Think Geek exclusive, this artwork looks rushed and subpar when compared to other Vader Down #1 covers.  Ferry's style tends to be cartoonish and sometimes it works like on his Shattered Empire #1 exclusive cover.

On this cover, Darth Vader is stylized but hefty and easily the best part of the artwork.  To the right of Vader is Han Solo and R2-D2 racing down a corridor and to his left are 0-0-0 and BT-1.  BT-1 is poorly drawn with a squat body.  Above Vader are floating heads of Princess Leia, Black Krrsantan, and Luke Skywalker.  Below Vader are X-Wing Fighters chasing his TIE Advanced Starfighter.  Either the scale is off or the X-Wings are firing below Vader's TIE.  Another problem is the X-Wings have their S-foils closed instead of open for combat.

This cover is up there with some of the worst covers produced in the modern Marvel era.

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