Comics Review: Star Wars: Darth Vader by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca.


Title: Book I: Vader
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciler & Inker: Salvador Larroca
Letter: Joe Caramagna
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Cover Artist: Adi Granov
Summary/Review:

Set after the destruction of the Death Star, Darth Vader is in hot water for allowing a Rebel victory on his watch.  The Emperor has put Vader’s rival in control, and Vader sets in motion a plot to both regain his position of influence as well as the personal goal of finding the young pilot who fired the shot that destroyed the Death Star.  To accomplish these goals he recruits archaeologist Doctor Aphra to carry out missions for him.  In turn she teams up with her assassin droid companions, 0-0-0 (Triple-Zero) and BT-1 (Beetee), kind of a perverse version of See Threepio and Artoo Detoo.  Aphra is a great character and addition to the Star Wars universe.  Kind of a morally gray person willing to do the bidding of Darth Vader more out of fear than loyalty, but also capable of doing a great job.

Rating: ****


Title: Book II: Shadows and Secrets
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciler & Inker: Salvador Larroca
Letter: Joe Caramagna
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Cover Artist: Adi Granov
Summary/Review:

In this volume, the Emperor’s plans to have several rivals compete for Vader’s position are revealed.  Darth Vader also works secretly with bounty hunters to carry out an attack on an Imperial ship to gain Imperial credits.  And Dr. Aphra uses the credits to track down the identity of the Rebel pilot, Luke Skywalker.  Another entertaining volume of Star Wars intrigue.

Rating: ****


Title: Vader Down
Writer: Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen
Penciler & Inker: Mike Deodato, Jr. and Salvador Larroca
Letter: Joe Caramagna
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Cover Artist: Mark Brooks and Jordan D. White
Summary/Review:

This volume collects crossover stories with the standard Star Wars comics run. Darth Vader tracks down Luke Skywalker to a planet but finds himself in the middle of Rebel training.  The Rebel Forces are no match for Darth Vader on his own.  It’s an interesting plot that almost brings Vader and Luke together but without spoiling their first real meeting in Bespin Cloud City. It’s great to see the familiar characters – Leia, Han, Chewbacca, etc. – brought into the Vader story.

Rating: ***


Title: Book III: The Shu-Torun War
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciler & Inker: Salvador Larroca
Letter: Joe Caramagna
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Cover Artist: Kaare Andrews and Mark Brooks
Summary/Review:

Darth Vader is responsible for suppressing a rebellion on the mining planet of Shu-Torun. To accomplish this, he assassinates much of the ruling family and manipulates the youngest daughter, Trios, into being the puppet ruler.  He fights on two fronts against the rebellious Ore-Dukes and his rival for the Emperor’s second-in-command, Cylo.  I did not enjoy this volume as much as the others.

Rating: ***


Title: Book IV: End of Games
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciler & Inker: Max Fiumara and Salvador Larroca
Letter: Joe Caramagna
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Cover Artist: Mark Brooks, Juan Gimenez, and Salvador Larroca
Summary/Review:

In the culminating story of the arc, Vader battles Cylo and his other rivals that get him back into the place of power we see him in Empire Strikes Back.  Meanwhile, Dr. Aphra works on a plan to escape the servitude of Vader while still living.  A good conclusion to an entertaining addition to Star Wars lore.

Rating: ****

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