Marvel has exceeded expectations at writing good Star Wars comics. That’s a given. But what about a crossover event? We’re about to find out this week with Star Wars: Vader Down #1, a one-shot event starter. Is it good?
Star Wars: Vader Down #1 (Marvel Comics)
While this issue is an easy jumping on point for new readers there are new characters you’ll have a hard time remembering as they were created in the Darth Vader series and you’ll also be a bit confused as to what is going on with the characters. Fear not, it’s pretty simple: Luke is trying to find some Jedi training even when most Jedi are dead, and Darth Vader is hot on the heels of Luke as his compatriot Aphra is helping him. She’s also the lady with the C-3P0 lookalike who loves to kill people. This issue opens with Darth Vader jumping to Luke’s location only to find a bit of a threat waiting for him.
Vader don’t care, he’s a baller!
Why does this comic book matter?
The writing has been pretty spectacular across the Marvel Star Wars titles as each series explores characters post-A New Hope. The fact that things are crossing over means we’ll get a bigger story and possibly much bigger moments for our characters. Sign me up.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
If you ever wanted to see Darth Vader in a dog fight you got it right here. Sure, A New Hope, had him chasing our heroes down that Death Star gutter, but you get an action sequence in this issue that puts Vader against some insane odds. That’s fun, and it’s neat to see how writer Jason Aaron uses Vader’s force powers in his TIE fighter.
Essentially this issue proves Darth Vader is an incredible force to be reckoned with. That said, it is confusing to think about how slow he and Obi-Wan were when you see the immense destruction he’s capable of here.
The issue also checks in with Han, Leia and Luke essentially setting up this event nicely. I can’t say they all have important things to do, but they’re used effectively to remind us Darth Vader is the greatest enemy they have in the galaxy. If you approach this comic thinking it’ll be filled with character development and drama you’ll probably be disappointed. If you approach it for what it is, an action extravaganza that adequately places all the characters in place for the event, you’ll enjoy yourself.
The art by Mike Deodato is adequately dark and works well for the space scenes. He delivers two double page spreads that are quite detailed and spell out how the battle is going very nicely. Vader is cast in a cool pink glow that makes him almost more menacing thanks to the color by Frank Martin Jr. and while the tones are rather muted the weapons blast at a nice and sharp red. Deodato’s art is also high on detail when it comes to the X-Wings and rubble. I’m also not sure we’ve ever seen Vader with such a strut. The guy looks badass nearly every moment, and is essentially an unstoppable force.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
Since this is an action extravaganza don’t expect to learn anything about characters, motivations or any revelations. This is a straight action comic that wants to thrill and get the characters from point A to point B.
Vader vs. 20 (or so) X-Wings. Who ya got?!
Is It Good?
Darth Vader has never been this badass as he is clearly an unstoppable force here. You’ll root for the heroes but strangely delight in Vader smashing everyone.