– Spoiler Review –
Darth Vader #13 is part 2 of the crossover event between it and the Star Wars series called Vader Down. With Vader stranded on Vrogas Vas, surrounded by rebels and with more on the way, he proves why he’s a Dark Lord of the Sith by not letting anything stand in the way of him reaching his son, who’s also stranded on the planet. Deadly, entertaining, and exciting, Darth Vader‘s 13th issue starts to show the potential of crossing over these two series.
Starting most recently with the Lords of the Sith novel and Star Wars Rebels season 2 premiere film, “The Siege of Lothal,” Darth Vader has been given a new lease on his badassery as a Sith Lord. Vader Down #1 kicked off this crossover’s attempt to keep his deadly warrior status going and DV #13 continues the trend as he tears through the battalion surrounding him in all sorts of visually striking and deadly ways. He arms a couple rebel grenades still strapped to the soldiers, sowing chaos and fear in the troopers, and deflects back a tank’s shot to destroy it and sneak away; Well, until he reappears with his downed TIE fighter’s gun, taking out speeders, and promises nothing will stand in his way getting to his son. If the creative teams behind both series can keep Vader’s promise, we have quite the show to enjoy over the next 4 parts. Seeing Vader at the height of his power again helps other areas of the saga who hope to use his visage soon: The Force Awakens, as for why someone—Kylo Ren—would be obsessed with the Dark Lord, and Rogue One, because it’s possible he could appear in the film while also being a whispered ghost story the rebels tell each other that would make an appearance all the more frightening. But in the end, it’s safe to say Vader’s new dark groove is simply enjoyable to watch.
It was slightly surreal to flip the page and see Han, Leia, and Chewie in a Darth Vader issue, but they felt at home thanks to Larroca’s art and Kieron Gillen’s handling of them. While Han and Leia’s bickering isn’t as funny as usual, it is instead an eye opener in regards to how these two prioritize friendships: Leia trusts Luke to be alright and believes he’d agree with her about devoting all efforts to take down Vader before recovering him, while Han puts his new friend first, figuring one speeder away from Vader wouldn’t change much anyways. It’s a good debate to help sell Han and Leia being at odds with one another…again. I’ll be interested to see how both writers deal with their latest conflict as the crossover continues.
But if it was weird to see Han and Leia, imagine how bizarre it is to see Aphra only a few pages later? Aphra is doing everything she can to prove Vader walking into an accidental ambush wasn’t her fault and she takes it upon herself (and Triple-Zero and Beetee) to go after Vader’s reason for even being on Vrogas Vos in the first place: Luke Skywalker. I love Luke as much as the next Star Wars fan, but I absolutely enjoyed Aphra’s simple but effective plan to get the young Jedi, which in turn made me love her as a character even more. Instead of fulfilling Triple-Zero’s wishes to hunt humans, she paints him gold and has him pretend to be Threepio, which works well enough to knock Luke out. A little farmboy from Tatooine meeting a darkly aligned archaeologist sounds like fun, especially considering they’re both standing in an area that would be a great interest to both parties: a Jedi Temple. Could Aphra’s curiosity inadvertently help Luke in his quest to learn more about the Force? She also has the chance to run in with Han and Leia, the former of which Aphra may or may not have heard about before, and I can’t wait to see my favorite character interact with more stalwarts of the franchise than just Vader.
The main reason I hope Aphra’s doctoral background into archaeology will convince her to pause on bringing Luke to Vader is because it feels a little rote to have Luke captured again, considering he was just recently in the hands of a Jedi artifact collecting Hutt named Grakkus for most of the Star Wars‘ previous arc. But before he’s brought down by the gold-painted Triple-Zero, which Artoo sees through right away, there’s some interesting moments with Luke in the Vrogas Vos temple. He mentions feeling cold, which is synonymous with light side users feeling the dark side’s presence, and shortly after he believes he sees specters in the distance: Ben and Anakin. Did the two Jedi visit Vrogas Vos long ago? Vader seemed sure there wasn’t any temple there (in DV #12), so who exactly was Luke sensing? And why? Could the temple be trying to show him something? I feel if Luke manages to mention this to Aphra, she’ll be almost compelled to look into it further. Or she’s just too concerned with preventing Vader from assuming she set a trap for him. Looks like we’ll have to wait until next issue…
Here are a few other things:
- Triple-Zero, after Aphra makes a call for backup, “Oh, excellent! Company! Shall I prepare a selection of weapons? We must be good hosts…”
- But Triple-Zero’s best line comes at the very end, when he threatens Artoo after incapacitating Luke, “You flesh-loving scum have made your bed. Now you’re going to die in it.” Nothing creepier than seeing Threepio’s colors mixed with Triple-Zero’s red glaring eyes….gives me the shivers.
- One last thing about Triple-Zero, I swear: the diabolical droid is well-read (or at least Gillen is), as he seems to be making a slight reference to “The Most Dangerous Game,” at one point.
- Aphra makes a call to a “furry” friend for help. While it’s safe to say it’ll be Black Krrsantan, part of me secretly wishes it’s a mercenary Ewok. Can’t wait to see a Wookiee vs Wookiee showdown though!
- Larroca and Edgar Delgado’s work is excellent as usual for the series. Larroca’s Luke, Han, Leia, Chewie, and even Artoo mesh well and feel natural in a DV issue, as he gives them new dimensions and retains their classic looks at the same time.
Darth Vader #13 gives us a Vader at his true power and shows the beginnings of what potential there might be for certain characters to finally meet for the first time. Two parts in and Vader Down is looking to be a fun and engaging time to be had for fans of both series (and of course Star Wars as a whole).
+ Vader’s Sithly groove is back
+ Crossover potential becoming clear
STAR WARS CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
Vader Down (crossover between Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
Part 1: Vader Down #1 | Part 3: SW #13 | Part 4: DV #14 | Part 5: SW #14 | Part 6: DV #15
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25)
Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25) | Annual: #1
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Poe Dameron (on-going)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)