Canon Comic Review: Star Wars #14 – Vader Down Part 5

Star Wars #14 - Vader Down Part 5

Spoiler Review –

The action ramps up in Star Wars #14, Part 5 of the Vader Down crossover event, as Karbin reveals his involvement in forcing Darth Vader to Vrogas Vas and challenges the Dark Lord to become the Emperor’s right hand man. Things only get worse for everyone however and SW #14 ends with a whole bunch of cliffhangers just waiting to be resolved in the finale to Vader Down.

Karbin’s arrival escalates things quickly, as Darth Vader and Karbin engage in a lightsaber duel, Chewie (and Han, somewhat) battles Krrsantan, Luke finds himself outnumbered but with unlikely allies, and Leia makes one of her boldest moves yet. There’s some great little pieces of dialogue, but Star Wars #14 is all about the action and it delivers on all fronts.

The Wookiee on Wookiee battle, even with Chewie still poisoned for some of it, is nearly as epic as one would hope it would be, even in the pages of a comic (drawn in a style I’ve increasingly come to like by Mike Deodato). And just when Chewie looks like he’s about to come out on top for the fight, Krrsantan puts on some brass knuckles and knocks our lovable Wookiee out cold. Han finds himself on the receiving end of a Wookiee choke (like Lando’s encounter with Chewie in Empire Strikes Back) and the issue ends with him left in the dire predicament.

Vader Down Checklist 5Luke doesn’t end up much better than Han this issue, even though he has help fighting off Imperials from everyone’s favorite pair of murderous droids, Triple-Zero and Beetee. Luke communes shortly with Obi-Wan while at the Vrogas Vas Jedi Temple, who warns him he’s not yet ready before Karbin’s Imperial troops arrive to bring him in. The wise-cracking murder bots happen to be nearby, and thanks to express directions from Aphra, are allowed to gleefully murder some humans in an effort to keep Vader’s prize, Luke, alive (Triple-Zero expressing his distress at Beetee getting to kill all the troopers is one of the highlights of the issue). But their assistance doesn’t do Luke much good, as he’s knocked out cold and in Karbin’s Imperial clutches by the end of the issue.

But the biggest moments in this issue come from Karbin vs Vader and anything to do with Leia. Karbin, who likes to talk about himself in the third person it seems, laughs in Vader’s face about how the Sith Lord fell into his trap to help him clean up the Rebels and capture Leia and Luke. Vader, undaunted by his rival’s appearance, will not allow Karbin to claim any prizes and in a totally backwards way (considering he wants to kill her), saves his daughter Leia from the Imperials; This coming just moments after she stands defiantly against him and spits in his face, while his rebuttal about the Rebel’s defeats not being any type of war but just a series of executions is certainly easy to hear in James Earl Jones’ voice.

It’s a crazy bit of “what-if” to see Darth Vader battle Karbin, who sports an updated General Grievous body, considering Grievous and Anakin never truly got to battle during the Clone Wars. It’s apparent had they fought, Anakin could’ve brought the war to a close early, as Vader fully connected to his hatred calmly begins to whittle away at Karbin’s defenses. Their duel takes them into the bowels of the Jedi Temple and Vader is assaulted by ghosts from his past, as lines from the prequels spoken by Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon haunt him about his destiny. He overcomes these distractions to continue his destruction of Karbin, but neither of them is ready for a third combatant: Princess Leia. Despite hightailing it out of there after having the funniest, “Well, I’m getting the hell outta here,” look when Karbin and Vader begin dueling, Leia is back and pointing her gun at a possibly unsuspecting Vader. Did she return because she wants them both gone? Because she could tell Vader was going to win? One thing is for sure, Karbin’s going to have the roughest outcome.

Here are a few other things:

  • Part 6 was supposed to release 1/13/16, but was moved up a week to 1/6/16. However, this didn’t exactly go over well with distribution channels and many shops either didn’t receive their orders, only got a couple, or some even got damaged copies. Darth Vader #15 is coming out 1/13 at my local comic book shops because they are getting the orders they were promised, but I’d contact your local shop to see if that’s the case or if you’ll have to wait even longer. We got Obi-Wan & Anakin #1 early, if that’s any consolation.
  • Well, it was pretty sad that Aphra got regulated to a speech bubble this issue, but judging from the finale’s cover (and her importance to Vader’s story), she’ll be back in a big way for Part 6. Let’s just hope it doesn’t end with her death, as I feared in my 2015 Star Wars Comics Year-in-Review.
  • With Vader Down ending with the next DV issue, SW‘s #15 will be a return to Obi-Wan’s Journal (last visited in issue #7) before the series embarks on its next arc.

 

The action intensifies, character’s fates hang in the balance, and Vader Down Part 5 (Star Wars #14) sets up what promises to be a big finale for this already fun and exciting crossover event.

+ Action packed

+ Ghosts, Leia’s boldness

+ Cliffhangers galore

Ryan is Mynock Manor’s Head Butler. You can follow him on Twitter @BrushYourTeeth. You can follow the website @MynockManor.
STAR WARS CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
Vader Down (crossover between Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
Part 1: Vader Down #1 | Part 2: DV #13 | Part 3: SW #13 | Part 4: DV #14 | Part 6: DV #15
Star Wars
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
Darth Vader
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25) | Annual: #1
Kanan
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)
Lando (mini-series)
Chewbacca (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)

One-Shots: C-3PO