Star Wars: Darth Vader #20 Review



Darth Vader must smite out any opportunity of goodness around him.

Part two of “Fortress Vader” continues this week where Vader is very close to chopping his closest soldiers’ heads off. Why? Is it because they deem him a monster for snatching a baby? Or is there something else? We find out this week, plus a very important location is brought up that will have longtime fans dying to see what is next.

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

A thief faces the consequences for their crime. EMPEROR PALPATINE rewards DARTH VADER with three gifts. A thing, a choice and a voice.

Why does this matter?

This may be the best Star Wars comic on the shelf. The exploration of Darth Vader’s humanity and lack thereof is compelling, to say the least. It’s also a series that takes place before Episode IV which is a time in Star Wars history that’s shady and in need of fleshing out.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Darth Vader is a harsh chaperone. Credit: Marvel Comics

In the last issue, I was certain Darth Vader kidnapping a baby was part of a bigger story about his humanity. This issue squashes that notion and focuses on Darth Vader being the biggest badass monster in the known galaxy. Nearly the entire issue is a chase sequence as he tracks down some soldiers of his who have been hiding their true feelings of being good people. The pathetic losers! Writer Charles Soule has Vader chase them through the skies of Coruscant, jumping from flying car to flying car and literally throwing cars with the Force in the process. It’s an action extravaganza and yet another example of how the comics can do so much more than the movies.

The action sequence isn’t even the best part though, with that distinction going to the Emperor who is not pleased with the wreck Vader has left the city in. This leads to some interesting character work between the two and some major plot pivoting for the series as a whole. Longtime fans will get not one, but two major developments dropped on them and they’re a delight.

Much like the last issue, the art is laid out by Giuseppe Camuncoli and finished by Daniele Orlandini. The action sequence is blocked out well and has some incredibly well-timed violent acts by Darth Vader. This is one of those issues that reminds you Vader is truly a monster nobody should cross and you see that through his body language and the subtle expressions given through his mask.

Aren’t they star crossed lovers. Credit: Marvel Comics

It can’t be perfect can it?

Two things bothered me while reading this issue. The first is the total lack of development in regards to the baby being snatched the last issue. I guess we’re supposed to simply forget about it, but it seemed to be a major sticking point that was abandoned here.

The second is a single panel of art where we see Darth Vader standing on the back of a flying car with two Stormtrooper types in the front seat. It looks comical with his arms crossed and his cape flapping. I guess seeing Darth Vader sitting would be even worse, but it’s strikingly silly looking.

Is it good?

Don’t mess with Darth Vader. The comic continues to prove it is better than the movies, adding to the mythos in ways movie budgets can’t get away with.

Star Wars: Darth Vader #20
Is it good?
A strong example of how the comic books improve on the movies.
An exciting chase between Force powered characters
The monster that is Darth Vader is on full display
Interesting reveals longtime fans shouldn't miss
A seemingly important plot detail in the last issue is abandoned here
A single panel makes Vader look silly and not menacing
9
Great