SWAOR Grand Moff Tarkin #1.1

Grand Moff Tarkin is an authoritarian man devoted to the Empire. STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE and ROGUE ONE showed us he will do whatever he can to get information out of those who are against him. He is not above destroying entire planets or torturing innocent people. He has even gone so far as to kill fellow Empire followers who are unable to perform their tasks correctly.

STAR WARS: AGE OF REBELLION – GRAND MOFF TARKIN #1 sheds some light as to why this old brooding man is the way he is. I found this to be a fun and interesting read because, for most, Tarkin is known as the terrible guy who blew up Alderaan. Taking a dive into a man’s mind who can do that is an adventure. The art style delivers spectacularly with bright colors and great attention to detail. It immersed me into the world of STAR WARS.

Killing billions of people do not make you a good person, but this comic also explores the behind-the-scenes of the operations of the Death Star. It reveals the officers who are tasked with pulling levers and pushing buttons for the station to fire. Tarkin interrogates them all to make sure they know how they must perform each duty. Of course, you can expect him to be as menacing as always. Greg Pak has created a true STAR WARS story with fantastic art by Marc Laming.

Family Shapes Everyone, Even Grand Moff Tarkin

This comic reveals some of Tarkin’s past which inherently reveals his family dynamic. You can expect his family was hard on him. His uncle goes as far as to put him in life or death situations. His uncle is perfectly fine with it because he’s a Tarkin. This moment is only briefly in the comic but gives us more than enough knowledge as to why Wilhuff Tarkin is the way he is in the movies. A family is a common dynamic to work with when developing a character back story and personality. Tarkin’s background is very run of the mill, but I was still satisfied with Greg Pak’s story. It fits the character as it should. Taking a complex route for the character may have been trying too hard so a simpler version worked better. Plus, Tarkin seems to be an already complex man; a simple backstory complements that.

SWAOR Grand Moff Tarkin #1
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The big reason I am content with the cliché background is because of what he does later in the issue. Pak has created a hardship this old man has gone through that continues throughout Tarkin’s life. Tarkin uses that moment in his young life to propel him further in his future. Later in the comic, Tarkin relates his home planet to that of Alderaan which gives us insight into what he thought of his family and where he came from. Those are some complex feelings to have and it gives us a more layered villain, which I am all for. Furthermore, Tarkin goes so far as to keep a homemade knife from his past. Keeping a memento from a past that he is not too fond of makes Tarkin a bit more mysterious than he might let on.

Orders Are Orders

Like I have mentioned before, GRAND MOFF TARKIN #1 pulls back the curtain on the officers who had to fire the Death Star. These were the men who destroyed Jedha and Scarif. Tarkin is unhappy with their lack of compliance. He makes sure they know what their jobs are even though it may harm them in some way.

I loved reading these parts of the comic. I was happy to see these officers personified because in the movies they are all wearing masks. They are faceless, evil beings pulling levers and pushing buttons. This comic gives them names, faces, and feelings. It made me realize how hard their jobs are. They killed millions of people with their actions. All Tarkin did was say, “Fire when ready.” That is a lot of emotional baggage to deal with, but Tarkin will not have it.

This is his comic after all. I really enjoyed the contrast between his struggles in his past and the struggles the officers of the Death Star have. It becomes parallel storytelling when he plays the role of his uncle and the officers are a younger version of him. Complexity like that in a story makes it a fun read. Plus, learning more about a beloved villain is always a blast.

SWAOR Grand Moff Tarkin #1
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Art Worth a Thousand Lives

Comic books come to life by their art. GRAND MOFF TARKIN #1 is illustrated masterfully by Marc Laming. His color choices for locations and characters is just right for the STAR WARS universe. Attention to detail is exceptional throughout. Imperial Officer ranks and outfits are illustrated to the exact specification, like all imperial things should be. Laming uses bright colors when necessary such as explosions or action sequences making them enjoyable to look at. Even when people are dying on the page, Laming brings them to life through detail and color. The art paired with the story pushes you through the story until the very end.


Grand Moff Tarkin is a formidable man. He will stop at nothing to further the Empire’s agenda. STAR WARS: AGE OF REBELLION – GRAND MOFF TARKIN #1 captures the character’s menacing emotion and thought so well. The art style is specific and colorful when it needs to be. It complements the story all too well. Greg Pak did a great job with this iconic character from the original movie. Pak exposed just a small portion of his background giving the reader a complex view of Tarkin’s mental state. That paired with a different look at the Death Star crew gives comic book readers an interesting human story to unpack. Even the worst people are human in their own crazy ways.

GRAND MOFF TARKIN #1 is a perfect window into the man commanding the Death Star. The art captures the world perfectly and it explores a part of the universe we haven't been able to see.
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Brilliant Characterization
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