The first Star Wars event for Marvel has recently ended and it was Darth Vader centric. He came out of the event somewhat victorious, so it’s without a doubt going to be on people’s minds what he does next with the Emperor. Question is, will it be good?
Darth Vader #16 (Marvel Comics)
Darth Vader is basically being blamed by the Emperor for letting the Death Star blow up and so the last 15 or so issues have been about Vader getting back into his good graces. This issue opens with Darth Vader giving the Emperor a gift (said gift was a lightsaber wielding assassin the Emperor used to test Darth Vader). Vader passed the test so in this issue the Emperor asks him to take on a new mission: a full military assault to take control of rare metals.
Why does this book matter?
With Darth Vader out of the woods from the Vader Down event series and now in slightly better standing with the Emperor things have changed just enough to kick the story up a notch. We know Vader is aware of Luke as his son so it goes without saying his balancing this secret and obeying the Emperor will be captivating stuff.
He’s one scary dude.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Darth Vader goes to war! That’s a pretty sweet premise to this new story arc and it’s fun to see Darth Vader be the badass general we’re accustomed to him being.
Kieron Gillen does a good job creating a conflict between Vader and the queen of the planet he’s working to take control of. He’s of course giving her orders but there’s a solid scene between him and the queen where she showcases her demand to be treated with some respect. His response is classic and shows he’s not beneath pretending to be what he’s not.
The plot progresses nicely in a variety of ways too. We not only get to see how serious Darth Vader is when it comes to war and what happened to Triple Zero and Bee Tee, but also development in regards to Aphra. One of the stronger scenes in this issue involves the Emperor and it’ll make you wish Gillen wrote more scenes with him involved.
The art by Salvador Larroca is astounding when it comes to the Emperor scene. He’s freakish looking and almost demonic. He gives him a smile and a glare that proves he’s more powerful than we can imagine even if he spends most of his time sitting around and skulking. Most of the action scenes work too and it’s nice to see some AT-AT action.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Larroca doesn’t do it for me when it comes to panels here and there. There’s a double page spread that’s showcasing that war is hell and the lay of the land, but it falls flat as it’s not very dynamic. It looks like a bunch of stuff and Vader, with his back to us, isn’t very heroic or powerful. The layout is just drab.
The newer lightsaber wielding minions of the Emperor still aren’t doing it for me either. There isn’t enough character development on any of them for me to care whatsoever. They’re simply evil for evil’s sake and clog up the story with technology that seems way too advanced for this universe.
Is It Good?
This new story arc sets Vader off on a path of war general and it’s a site to see. We’re given solid conflict and a choice scene with the Emperor too. Bring on the next issue!