Story: Kieron Gillen
Art: Salvador Larroca
What They Say:
The first crossover of Star Wars’ new Marvel age continues here! Vader vs. all the Rebels…it’s not a fair fight!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The Vader Down event kicked off last week with the special that got it all rolling before it moves back and forth over the next three issues of this series and two installments of the main Star Wars series. While crossovers are somewhat of a given in this particular franchise, I鈥檝e enjoyed the way the two main ongoing series have largely kept separate from each other. But there is a thrill in the buildup over the past year in some of these characters coming together now, especially with Aphra in the mix and her own particular style and approach to problem solving. It鈥檚 also a good reminder, as events progress here, that we understand the growing mythology of those heroes that took down the Death Star on top of rescuing the princess from it beforehand. It鈥檚 magic in the making and seeing how perceptions fly with that is welcome.
The basic event is set, though I expect the potential for some twists along the way, as we now have both Luke and Vader crashed on the rebel outpost world and Vader intent on getting Luke. There鈥檚 plenty of obstacles in the way, though they鈥檙e triflings to Vader and he鈥檚 likely less than patient after having his TIE fighter taken down by Luke in battle after eliminating a couple of squadrons of Rebel X-Wing craft. So I really enjoyed the almost Indiana Jones moment early on when he accedes to the Rebels demand to surrender, though it鈥檚 more for their sake. The Force can be used in so many ways and the original trilogy really didn鈥檛 exploit it and the prequels didn鈥檛 advance it as much as it could due to the complacency of the Jedi. So seeing Vader tweak the grenades on one of the Rebel鈥檚 uniforms and using that to take them out without even a minor bit of exertion is thrilling as it鈥檚 the Vader you want to see.
As much as I love Vader I鈥檓 glad he doesn鈥檛 truly dominate the book at the moment. While we get some interesting moments with Han and Leia as they arrive and she prioritizes like a commander and someone from a royal household about what to do, we get to see Luke discovering where he is on the world and that there are Jedi ruins there. It鈥檚 a nice diversion for him, and he鈥檚 certainly curious about all things Jedi, but it serves more to bring Aphra into the picture. I adore Aphra so seeing her figuring out a way to survive Vader鈥檚 wrath and capture Luke herself is utterly priceless. While Beetee gets less time here, Triple-Zero steals the show as he always does and I love the approach used to try and subdue Luke – even if Triple-Zero is convinced they could substitute anybody as humans all look the same. It鈥檚 a nice alteration and it more firmly establishes Aphra and the droids into the overall mythology.
While Larroca has been nailing this book from day one, this one just felt a little off as he had to deal with more of the known characters. While Luke comes across well, Han and Leia just felt awkward, especially in comparison to the main book and what it鈥檚 doing. That said, it鈥檚 a minor quibble because he鈥檚 made this whole series so engaging with the layouts, the placement of the camera and the general flow of making Vader imposing as an action character at times. Gillen鈥檚 story isn鈥檛 a huge push forward here but it does set things in motion and gets us ready to really hit the ground running. It鈥檚 a pretty solid issue all around and just bringing Aphra into the larger connections of the series is a big plus.
Age Rating: 12+
Released By: Marvel Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: November 25th, 2015