– Spoiler Review –
It all comes down to this: Commander Karbin has shown his hand, intending to take out the rebels and Vader in one fell swoop. Han’s life is on the line. Luke is captured (again) by the Imperials. Aphra is on Vader’s naughty-list. And Leia is facing the biggest decision of her life. Darth Vader #15, part 6 of the Vader Down crossover event, wraps it all up in a grand, but somewhat unsurprising ending, while revealing Vader Down had just as big a role for Leia as it did Vader.
Leia made some tough choices throughout Vader Down, including leaving Luke to fend for himself and risking her own life to act as bait for an airstrike on Vader, but none hit home for her more than the one she’s faced with here. In her sights stands Vader, currently waylaid by Karbin in a lightsaber duel, but Han and Luke are in dire situations with seemingly no way out (the men certainly need more rescuing than Leia ever has!). In one of this issues’ most beautiful moments, we see the destruction of Alderaan play out in Leia’s mind again, reminding her why she should ignore her friends and try to take out Vader. But, whether it’s a Force-vision or she just sees it play out in her head, she sees the dead bodies of her friends lay strewn before her and now she has quite the dilemma on her hands: take out Vader to get revenge and possibly lose her best friends in the process or walk away. As always, Leia’s decision is the toughest option and she chooses to walk away. She has one more big moment, but I’ll get to that in a bit.
Aphra, having lost Luke and accidentally led Vader into this whole trap, is desperate to stay off Vader’s soon-to-be-dead-list. His remedy is for her to make a big sacrifice: use her ship to help him kill Karbin. Vader’s plan works as he expected, subduing Karbin, but Aphra loses her patched up awesomeness of a ship. During Vader and Karbin’s duel, Vader’s no-nonsense talk with Karbin is more pointedly awesome Vader from writer Kieron Gillen, as the Dark Lord issues simple statements to his enemy while Karbin speaks more about the future and abstract. And just when Karbin begins to understand Vader’s true reason for taking his job of seeking out the destroyer of the Death Star, Vader finishes the Mon Cal off. Cross one off Vader’s rivals for Palpatine’s right-hand man job off the list; I wonder how quickly the rest will fall or if we’ll need crossover events for each one’s fight with Vader.
While both times are for selfish reasons, Vader rescues Luke and Leia during the Vader Down event. Last issue Vader protects Leia from Karbin’s men so he can claim her as his prize first and this issue he does the exact same thing for Luke, bringing the shuttle with his son on it crashing down. The irony is strong in these moments and neither situation could’ve been enjoyed as thoroughly as they are here had we not known their familial relationship already. Kudos to the creative teams behind both series for throwing in a moment for Vader to be the father he never was, unintentionally of course.
No, I don’t understand everything that happened with Threepio either, but it seems like Triple-Zero sabotaged the whiny protocol droid so that he would harm whomever touched him first (maybe as a way to subdue Luke) and Krrsantan was the unlucky one to spring the trap. Either way everything looks to be going good for our crew finally as Han and Luke are reunited with Chewie and the droids all in one piece (mostly), until Aphra appears with some mines and the plan to take them all in the Falcon to her Master. But in steps Leia’s next big moment, when she cold-cocks Aphra and decides they should take her prisoner to learn what she knows. As much as I loved this Leia moment, Aphra is my favorite new character from the comics and I’m definitely worried about her fate now that she is in rebel clutches. Will Vader rescue her because she’s proven useful? Or will he free her from imprisonment by having her killed? This is beginning to make me worry my biggest fear about Marvel’s 2016 comics could come true.
Here are a few other things:
- Threepio’s joke about not seeing the humor in Triple-Zero’s antics because his head was on backwards made me chuckle for being so bad.
- Star Wars #15, the series’ next issue, will return to a tale from Obi-Wan’s journal, last visited in issue #7. The Darth Vader series’ next arc starts with issue #16, which will see the planet Shu-Torin (first seen in the Darth Vader Annual #1) start to revolt.
Overall, Vader Down was full of fun and exciting moments, bringing fan favorite characters together in dream situations and giving them all the proper crossover bonanza that goes with such meetings. But, seeing as besides Karbin and Aprha we know these character’s fates, the ending is a bit predictable; That being said, the crossover’s fun and enjoyable events remind readers just how important a story’s execution truly is even when readers know what to expect. And as exciting as this crossover event was, I look forward to seeing these two series return to their own arcs and focus on their own characters, something they’ve done exceptionally well so far. Darth Vader #15 might not have been a perfect send off to Vader Down, but it certainly hit all the right notes.
+ Leia’s big moment(s)
+ Vader rescuing his kids
+ Karbin Down and Aphra in danger
– Slightly predictable
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 5: SW #14
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)