Part 5 of the 6 part ‘Vader Down’ arc comes out today (read our part 6 review here). That means everything in this issue builds to the climactic conclusion! Is it good?
Star Wars #14 (Marvel Comics)
Last issue revealed Karbin, the Dark Lord’s new Sith Lord in training, has shown up to deal some butt kicking and he’s all for killing Luke Skywalker. Meanwhile Leia is one step away from getting her head lopped off by Vader.
Why does this book matter?
So far this event series has had fun playing around with new and old characters and having them all meet. Last issue Aphra fought against Han Solo for instance. It’s a fun combination of characters, but it’s also revealing a rather close call between Darth Vader and the Rebels.
Test your might!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Jason Aaron writes a great Han Solo with the dialogue suiting the character well. He’s in it neck deep as a Wookiee bounty hunter attempts to kill Chewie and himself. While this scene is mostly two hairy beasts punching each other Han adds a nice flair of dialogue to the proceedings.
Meanwhile Force ghosts are everywhere in this issue! The best scene involves Darth Vader encountering said ghosts as he enters an old Jedi temple. Apparently if you enter a temple the ghosts are much stronger as they reach out to Vader. Luke also gets a call from Obi-Wan that goes a long way in telling us how his story might progress from here.
Actions speak louder than words Leia…
The Darth Vader vs. Karbin fight sequence is pretty darn good too. Artist Mike Deodato Jr. makes every lightsaber slash look cool and the muted backgrounds allow them to pop nicely. There are plenty of cool moments to be had and they’re cool largely due to how Deodato Jr. lays out the action. Plenty of panels are used to help convey what is going on exactly.
The likenesses of the characters is spot on as well. There’s one panel with Luke being bashed that has to have been taken directly from Empire Strikes Back when he cries out that Darth Vader is not his father. That’s a neat touch.
The evil robots BT-1 and 0-0-0 also get a few great scenes in this issue. There’s a surprising turn as they must do the right thing for once, but it involves killing so they’re cool with it.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m sure a Wookie brawl was a great idea on paper, but it’s too much in this issue. Sometimes comical but mostly just pointless, this fight sequence goes on too long and matters very little. Do we even know this Wookiee bounty hunter enough to care? Not really, and since we already know how this plays out there are really no stakes to this fight.
Leia’s role in this issue is oddly pushed aside too. It’s clear by the end they’re using her as a cliffhanger to bridge this issue and the next, but where was she in this issue? After she shouts at Vader in the opening she’s not seen until the end!
Stormtroopers can’t catch a break.
Is It Good?
Aside from an overly long Wookiee battle, this is a satisfying penultimate issue to the ‘Vader Down’ series.