he Star Wars Saga is a global phenomenon that has grown exponentially since its first release. It has created some of the most memorable characters in pop culture while winning the adoration of legions of fans. It has given us heroes like General Leia Organa, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker as the Galaxy’s greatest heroes. Most recently, it gave us notable figures like Rey, Poe Dameron, and Finn who have even challenged the status quo of what people thought made a Star Wars film. But it’s also got a dark side. Literally.
The Galaxy has been plagued by the dark side of the Force. Planets have been blown out of space by weapons of mass destruction, created by a ruthless and unimpeachable empire that imposed its will on the galaxy. However, among all of the Empire’s figureheads, and in direct contrast to those heroes we mentioned before, is the nefarious Darth Vader. He was one of the most feared villains of the dark side and murdered many people while brutalizing others with his famous powers. But Lord Vader has powers that are not as well-known, not as famous, but they are just as destructive. What follows is a list of his more insidious abilities, each more terrible than the last!
This did not change when Anakin switched over to the dark side and became Darth Vader. He used the style to obliterate his opponents while simultaneously, his rage consumed him. While he mastered the Form V styles in his training, he grew more brutal in his use of it. It is a form of combat used only by those who wish to destroy their enemies completely, which is the very definition of Darth Vader.
Force Lightning is a well-known attack used by those who practice the dark side of the Force. In fact, if a practitioner of the Force is seen utilizing this technique, their affiliation towards the dark side is almost certain. Figures like Darth Sidious and Count Dooku overpowered their opponents with this maneuver every chance they had.
Darth Vader is someone who can also use Force Lightning, though he rarely ever does because half of his body functions on electrical circuits and other mechanical means. Its use could put his suit out of commission and kill him. However, when he was near the Force-enhancing Kaiburr Crystals during a battle with his son, Luke Skywalker, he used a maneuver called “kinetite,” or “Force energized lightning.” In so doing, he proved capable, if cautious, of the move
In the case of Darth Vader, it is a feat that he can accomplish tenfold. Vader was long considered the Chosen One by a galactic prophecy because of how powerful his use of the Force can be. This, coupled with his ability to telekinetically lift others with the Force, can only mean that if he targeted himself, then he would be able to levitate against gravity and achieve flight. It is largely speculated that he used this move in his classic battle against Luke in the bowels of Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back.
Darth Vader is no exception to this rule. He has on many occasions used the Force to enhance his speed to gain an edge on many of his opponents. This is not a new behavior for the Sith Lord as he has relied on this technique since he was a child. It compliments his use of the aggressive strength-based Form V variants that he loves to use to kill those who fight him.
The iconic black suit has a lot of practical applications beyond simply being armor. It houses the body of Anakin Skywalker and keeps him alive, of course, after the damage he sustained against his fight with Obi-Wan Kenobi left him in permanent and excruciating pain. For this reason, the suit gives Vader doses of a synthetic neurotoxin named Kouhunin, which raises his pain tolerance beyond that of a normal Jedi or Sith. It gives him a slight advantage when damage is inflicted on him.
That’s right, Darth Vader has the ability to heal himself using the Force. He does so to fix the damage done to his lungs in his battle with Obi-Wan Kenobi. It takes a considerable amount of concentration from the Sith Lord to achieve this technique, of course, and healing only ever grants him a sliver of relief for an extremely limited time. Also, an alleviation of pain also quells the anger necessary to use the dark side for healing, so he does not like to use it often, even when he needs it most.
With this ability to fix mechanical things, Vader has undoubtedly used his prowess in his efforts to impose the Galactic Empire’s agenda. It also comes in handy as half of his body is now mechanical and is in constant use to keep the Sith Lord alive. Coupled with the majority of Anakin/Darth Vader’s time spent on spacecrafts, his technical knowledge is not only sound, but exceptional even among the Jedi or Sith’s most elite engineering minds.
In addition to having an incredible understanding of advanced technology, the young Vader-in-the-making also had another ability. He could understand the electronic language known as binary in the Star Wars Universe. This allows Vader the ability to communicate with droids and others that use the low-density form of communication. This is a skill he learned as a boy working in the pit crews while he was growing up on Tatooine, where the young Anakin actually developed an ear for many foreign languages.
The ability to interface and communicate with droids, like R2D2, gave Vader insight into how they work. The same Force sensitivity that gives him an advantage on repairing mechanical things also gave him the natural ability to utilize this language for other applications. These applications are important for his next skill set.
This is evident in the build of his own TIE-fighter, which he designed with custom specifications. He gave it larger wings, a bigger engine, and support struts larger than the average TIE-fighter. These specifications gave Vader the upper hand in combat because when the Rebels expected a regular TIE-fighter, they’d get a brutal surprise instead.
Darth Vader has used this capability of the Force as a young Jedi as well as when he was a Sith Lord. He also taught it to the Dark Apprentice, more popularly known as Starkiller. With this ability, Vader can easily slip past any of the Rebels whether they are Jedi or not.
Vader has also used his Force barrier ability to protect himself from getting killed on occasion. After the bombing of Coruscant, he had to fight off Rebel forces in order to escape and continue his work for the dark side. During his escape, he used a partially visible Force barrier to keep the Rebel forces from overwhelming him.
When you’re one of the most feared Sith Lords in the Galaxy, you become a major target for the Rebel forces trying to overthrow you. This gives Vader an added advantage during combat as he can anticipate shots from blasters even while he is fighting directly with someone else. He has also used this technique while in his pod-racer as a child and his TIE-fighter later. He senses when his ship is going to be hit and maneuvers it out of the way.
While his Force sense allows him to anticipate attacks as well as give him the upper hand during pod-races as a child, this ability grants him visions of the people he loves during times of great stress or danger. He predicted the deaths of his mother and future wife with this ability well before they met their ends, although ironically, it directly led to their deaths at his hands.
STORY BY Ed Piskor
ART BY Ed Piskor
On the opening page of X-Men: Grand Design #1, cartoonist Ed Piskor’s bold “remix” of the first 300 issues of Uncanny X-Men, Uatu the Watcher speaks his mind. Long a faithful commentator on the state of the Marvel Universe, the Watcher effectively steps in for Piskor, whose auteur vision drives the limited series, which debuted this week. “I’ve learned over several millennia that is it necessary for events to unfold and settle before transcribing what I witness,” the Watcher says, likely voicing the viewpoint of Piskor himself. “There were many mechanisms at play with these particular subjects. Much I needed to digest and make sense of.”
Of course, the X-Men haven’t been around for millennia. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created Marvel’s merry mutants 54 years ago. But Piskor’s more than just being clever with the Watcher’s language. Few comic sagas have cultivated as immersive of a lore as the X-Men, or as knotty a continuity. It’s the result of decades worth of “mechanisms,” plot-wise and other: reboots, time travel, dimensional shifts, editorial mandates and the occasional instance of pure creator confusion. To put it mildly, there’s much to make sense of. A lot to digest.
Luckily, Piskor knows his footing on dense, historically complicated turf. In Hip Hop Family Tree, his Eisner Award-winning comics docuseries for Fantagraphics, he navigated the ins-and-outs of rap history, utilizing Bronze Age tactics to render the origin stories and adventures of the original B-Boys, DJs, MCs and graffiti artists that founded and cemented hip-hop culture.
Grand Design mirrors that archival approach visually. Like Family Tree, its pages are evocatively washed and yellowed to look like something you might find stacked up in the garage, long neglected by your dad or older brother. Piskor’s style is rooted in the underground, laced with references to Robert Crumb, Charles Burns, Los Bros Hernandez and other “comix” illustrators, but Grand Design revels in the work of foundational X-Men artists Jack Kirby, John Byrne and Neal Adams. Stepping into the world of superhero comics for the first time, Piskor brings a kinetic energy in his action sequences — even a telepathic fight between Xavier and the Shadow King feels explosive. But thankfully, he also brings the same sensitive touch showcased in his phone phreak epic Wizzywig and Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor to his mutant protagonists. The look of anguish on Magneto’s face fending off attackers in a remote village; fear on the faces of young soon to be X-Men, making their way through a world that hates and fears them — Piskor has a knack for capturing quiet sadness.
It would be easy for Grand Design to slip into Official Handbook mode, a quick and sterile guide to facts and continuity matters. Forget the occasional editor’s note; this thing’s loaded up with two pages of annotations, evidence of deep research among dusty long boxes and a page listing the individual creators responsible for the first 30 years of X-Men stories. But Piskor’s not interested in creating something lifeless. While the first issue condenses the early history of the mutant race, it never does so at the expense of drama and emotional motivation. Piskor hones in on the misfit nature of the X-Men in exceptional ways. His exuberance for these characters shines through. Prepare to feel nearly as much for the Toad and Legion (Piskor only needs two panels with the latter to break your heart) as you do Iceman and Jean Grey. Like the best X-Men creators, Piskor’s understands that even if the X-Men’s continuity deepens its interconnectedness, it’s the grandiosity and operatic themes that have filled the series with some of the most resonate moments in comic book history.
While it’s unavoidable that Piskor’s curatorial approach will wind up leaving some reader’s favorite X-moment out of the narrative, what he stands to accomplish with the series is considerable. Beyond its nostalgic glee, the series provides a streamlined intro to the X-Men by one of independent comics’ most obsessive and compelling creators, one with a careful eye for the complexities and pathos that fueled Chris Claremont’s legendary run. Piskor’s been vocal about the series being a “dream project,” and it’s likewise a dream read: funny, melancholic, fantastical and busting at the seams with ideas and energy. There’s “much to digest and make sense of,” but X-Men: Grand Design is no staid history lesson; it’s an epic poem fully possessed of the richness and idiosyncrasies that have drawn readers in for decades.
Jodie Foster’s recent criticism of superhero movies reignited an interesting debate about the Hollywood blockbusters being pumped out at present. She indicated that this particular genre was somewhat detrimental to the industry, with studios focused more on universe-building than making pieces of thought-provoking art. Some see her words as scathing but as Guardians of the Galaxy director, James Gunn, pointed out, we can actually have the best of both worlds.
He agreed with her that superhero movie scripts need to be better, and can’t just cater to universe-building, but that doesn’t mean these kinds of movies are incapable of being thought-provoking. In his online response, he reiterated that superhero movies, amid the plethora of franchising and and heavy promotional campaigns, can be deep and meaningful too. In other words, they can have powerful, emotive narratives and look damn good as well. So when it comes to Foster’s argument, well, these films aren’t ruining cinema; they’re actually enhancing it, and here’s why:
Superhero movies are a big reason why studios have to keep moving forward and improving their storytelling techniques. In 2004, Spider-Man 2 won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects, but that standard wasn’t really maintained. Instead, non-comic based movies like 2009’s Avatar and 2010’s Tron: Legacy were the films elevating the game. However, superhero movies eventually began raising the bar once again, really kicking back into gear with Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014. That year, it lost the Best Visuals Oscar to Interstellar, but its worth noting is that Captain America: The Winter Soldier and X-Men: Days of Future Past were nominated as well.
Since then, movies like Ant-Man and Thor: Ragnarok have wowed us visually, leaving fans eager for the next wave of superhero movies. There’s the cosmic drama of Avengers: Infinity War, the exploration of the microverse and possibly the multiverse in Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Aquaman, which has been touted as an underwater take on Star Wars, all to come. Every one of these movies is poised to remind the industry that even if Oscars aren’t being won, this genre still keeps raising the bar, especially for burgeoning franchises like Star Wars and Ready Player One.
Superhero films are just as much about substance as they are about style. We saw this over the years with several taking home Oscars, not just for their look (Batman, Suicide Squad) but for their story and performances. The Incredibles and Big Hero Six won Best Animated Feature Oscars, and we can’t forget Heath Ledger winning Best Supporting Actor for 2008’s The Dark Knight, which painted a very cerebral statement on humanity through the people of Gotham. Come 2017, a couple more superhero narratives emerged to show the strength of the genre.
Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, believed by many to be Oscar-worthy, broke several records at the box office, which unsurprisingly led to Warner Bros. pushing forward with its awards campaign. Critics deemed it one of the most feminist films ever to hit with mainstream audiences, as the movie offered messages relevant to present-day society and women’s rights. Then there was James Mangold’s Logan, which transcended the genre as a neo-Western in a post-apocalyptic world. It wasn’t a typical X-Men tale, but one about a reluctant, pained hero who retired and wanted to wither away. In other words, we saw how deep and versatile comic book movies could be, while still honoring the source material.
Due to the undeniable popularity of superhero movies, there’s been an increased search for new platforms, especially as studios, networks and innovative content producers want to shift the movie experience to home. This expansion has led to streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu and Freeform going after superhero properties, as seen via the likes of The Defenders and Runaways. However, it’s only a matter of time before this craving evolves from series to films, which we may well witness when Disney’s streaming service comes online.
With everyone wanting superhero content, more stories will be bought in order to make more movies. It’s not just about Marvel or DC properties, though, as independent publishers like Image Comics and BOOM! Studios (as per 2 Guns) also benefit from this. Basically, if more superhero-driven stories are desired by Hollywood, then that demand translates to more jobs to create these stories in the first place. This is a steady and important stream of growth for both the film and comic industries.
Then there’s the offline experience to consider — theme parks, musicals, merchandising, etc. — which will all continue to rise in numbers and provide jobs as long as the superhero genre keeps succeeding. What’s most important, however, is to ensure that with the quantity of movies out there, all these industries growing and so many business objectives being met, we still get high-quality movies that are works of art.
The founders of Fantasticon have announced a new one-day International Comic-Con coming to Michigan on Saturday, April 14, 2018. The show will take place at the Bluewater Convention Center in Port Huron, Michigan. The venue is located at the base of the Bluewater Bridge, which is an International border with Sarnia, Ontario Canada.
This show will be promoted heavily on both sides of the border.
Table Space and event tickets are on sale now.
Fantasticon is a mid-size show created for true comic book and pop culture collectors and fans. The fans that come to our shows are true collectors that are looking for those rare items for their personal collections. Most leave very satisfied as we pride ourselves on having great dealers and artists at our shows. If you collect it, you will find it at a Fantasticon Show.
Fantasticon is proud to have a presence in multiple cities throughout the mid-west. Currently we are in five different cities, in three different states including Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana.
We also, are very proud of the fact that our admission price is the lowest of any other comparable shows. And the cost for being an exhibitor or artist at the Fantasticon is far less than any comparable comic cons out there.