The ‘Vader Down’ event series ends in this issue. Will Vader “go down” and will the Rebels take him there? Will I continue to intro this review as if I haven’t read a single issue? More below, but is it good?
Darth Vader #15 (Marvel Comics)
Darth Vader got his TIE Fighter knocked out of combat due to a young Luke Skywalker smashing his X-Wing into him. Vader was up against the entire Rebel army, but they’ve posed no real threat to him as he attempts to catch up to his son Luke. Meanwhile Aphra is attempting to get back into Darth Vader’s good graces. All he wants is Luke, but he’s currently fighting a Wookiee bounty hunter with Chewie and Han.
Why does this book matter?
So far this event has been up and down for me, but as long as it sticks the landing all can be forgiven. The Star Wars portions have certainly been exciting!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Much of this issue has Darth Vader fighting Karbin, a Mon Calamari engineered and trained by Doctor Cylo to replace the Dark Lord of the Sith as Darth Sidious’ apprentice. This is a big deal as Kieron Gillen’s story has lead up to Vader facing off against his Sith rival. Those of you asking why the Dark Lord is even thinking about using Karbin as his apprentice should note Vader is on his s--t list since letting the Death Star blow up. The cool thing about this fight sequence is how Gillen has made Darth Vader care very little about Karbin at all. All he wants is to find Luke. It shows he’s possibly not as strongly interested in obeying his master and it’s a neat turn.
Is this supposed to be silly?
Meanwhile the action between them is exciting although it’s very one sided. This series needed a lightsaber duel and we finally get one. Salvador Larroca does a great job keeping the action interesting, and there are some nice surprises too. Larroca does have Karbin drool in a weird way though which made me laugh when it calls for a more dramatic moment.
Gillen has a nice moment for C-3P0 in this issue too. In a team up of sorts he and R2 have a heroic moment that doesn’t come around very often.
It can’t be perfect can it?
What is the deal with Leia in this issue? She’s sort of dumbfounded as she stands around and does nothing. I think there’s a revelation going on, but the art doesn’t do enough to make that clear. Instead she appears to just stand there in a daze thinking about Alderaan exploding. It’s confusing and rather odd, but if it is trying to show she will pick saving her friends over revenge that’s rather too cute for its own good.
Speaking of Leia, Larroca does a decent job here and there on making her look like her real-life counterpart Carrie Fisher, but at times she’s also very goofy looking. The eyes aren’t right nor is the mouth, which really takes you out of the book.
The actions of Aphra work to a point, but the sucker punch is rather lazy. Gillen is setting up the next arc as we probe Aphra deeper I’m sure, but it’s rather sad how her story ends here. I’ll leave it at that to avoid spoilers.
Ultimately the conclusion ends with some slight surprises, but in customary action scripting things conclude with big confrontations many of us were expecting falling flat.
The fight scene works.
Is It Good?
‘Vader Down’ ends in a satisfying way with most of the conflicts. I can’t say Leia’s actions or how our heroes make it out is very interesting though.