– Spoiler Review –
Following up on the excellent Darth Vader #6 was never going to be easy, especially since it was linked expertly with Star Wars #6, but somehow the team behind DV have managed quite well in #7 and certainly better than I would’ve ever expected.
One of my favorite things from the first issue of DV was how its panels constantly depicted Vader in imitation of Luke from shots in the films. While the creative team didn’t have a lot of opportunities to try doing that again over the last several issues, it’s in #7’s very first panel where they bring it back and in full force: Vader glares out at Tatooine’s dual suns setting on the horizon in a pose anybody who has ever heard of Star Wars will be familiar with. This panel is so effectively simple, but similarly emotional and surprising, I almost felt like I didn’t need to read further because Larroca’s art and Delgado’s colors knock the shot out of the park and it was the perfect scene to see Vader in after learning he has a son.
Vader doesn’t waste more time on Tatooine than is absolutely necessary; Once he gathers some intel on Luke’s meager Force abilities, and takes a moment to mock Obi-Wan’s ‘failure,’ he has Aprha deploy a molecular purging bomb at Obi-Wan’s place to wipe away all evidence that anyone ever lived or visited there. At first I was unsure of why he’d do that, but then I realized he’s doing what little he can to prevent the Emperor from learning his greatest secret yet (though we all know Sheev’ll learn it soon enough). As much as I enjoyed the Tatooine visit here, it felt like there was a big missed opportunity and is the only real disappointment I had with #7: the lack of flashbacks. This series has used flashbacks to great results so far, givings us a look at Vader’s inner thoughts and usually filling in for his typical silence on matters, but some panels of his tumultuous time on Tatooine in Attack of the Clones would’ve been very fitting during his talk with Aphra at the Lars’ homestead. Thankfully, someone else already felt that way and this Tumblr post contains shots from AotC as flashbacks during the scene I’m discussing (got to love the internet sometimes).
Once the fallout from #6’s ending is dealt with, the rest of #7 begins setting up our next arc for the series. On Son-tuul, Vader takes out the Son-tuul Pride, a group of rivals to Jabba the Hutt, and confiscates a giant pile of credits that their leader was hoarding up. The way Vader dispatches the leader was probably my favorite moment of the #7: Vader uses the Force to feed the leader to his own pet monster and then dispatches the monster. Badass, no?
Elsewhere on Son-tuul, we get introduced to some old and new bounty hunters as they are being given a job to steal the boatload of credits Vader just confiscated: Bossk, the Wookiee hunting Trandoshan and previous partner of Boba Fett; IG-90, similar in appearance to IG-88 except he’s red, and he talks just like HK-47 from Knights of the Old Republic by prefacing his comments with an adjective descriptor; Mister Beebox, a little person packing lots of armor, which looks to be Mandalorian in nature; and of course Black Krrsantan, the Wookiee we’ve previously met in the DV series, who shows off his lust of blood and violence by volunteering to fight in the fighting pits. The wonderful Doctor Aphra is the one giving the bounty hunters the job by (truthfully) claiming she has inside information on the shipment of the credits. It seems Vader’s next job for her is to help him obtain the credits for himself instead of the Empire…wonder what he’d want to use all those credits for? Something to help him fight his new rivals? Buy more help/compensate Aphra? Continue his search for his son?
Here are a few other things:
- It seems both the planet Son-tuul and the Son-tuul Pride are brand new stuff not seen before in Legends.
- Not only was it nice to have Aphra playing a bigger role (she really deserves her own comic at some point), but it was also good to see the murderous pair of BT and Triple Zero, the latter having a funny little joke with his despair over the slaughtered droids at the Lars homestead. Having them take a backseat was understandable and necessary in both #5 and #6, but it’s great to have them back.
- I actually kind of liked the Rodian leader of the Son-tuul Pride. He was entertaining, despite having such a brief appearance.
- How much must it bristle Vader to be working ‘for’ the Hutts in a way, helping them grow and continue their gangster enterprises so they can supply the Empire? I’m sure he hopes he can follow through on his threat to Sutha, the Hutt he speaks with after taking out the Son-tuul pride, as well as finally take out Jabba (but that’s what sons are for!).
- Not only have I wanted to learn more about Krrsantan since we first met him in #1, but now I’m similarly intrigued to learn IG-90 and Beebox’s stories.
- Want to hear a few scenes with Vader and Aphra acted out? Check out the Who Wars Podcast!
Darth Vader #7 picks up the pieces from #6’s emotional ending while pushing us in a new and intriguing direction, continuing the DV series’ strong showings so far.
+ Dealing with #6’s fallout
+ Well-paced set up for next arc
+ Aphra and her new (and old) pals
– Flashback opportunity missed
STAR WARS CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets: #8 | #9 | #10 | #11 | #12 | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25)
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
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)