Saturday, 14 May 2016

Star Wars: Vader Down Review (Jason Aaron, Mike Deodato)

While tracking Luke Skywalker, the mysterious Rebel pilot who destroyed the Death Star, Darth Vader encounters a fleet of X-Wings. After an intense dogfight, Vader crash-lands onto the desolate planet Vrogas Vas. It’s a prime opportunity for the Rebels as they swarm to the planet’s surface: Vader is down and he’s all alone - now’s their chance to kill the Empire’s most feared enforcer! But they’re about to learn that he’s not trapped in there with them, they’re trapped in here with him…

Vader Down is the first Marvel Star Wars crossover and it’s also my favourite book of the new line. Everyone’s favourites are here: Vader, Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, the Droids, and they’re all after Vader - it’s a bit like a (very one-sided) comic book adaptation of Battlefront! 

Unfortunately the annoying and derivative characters from the Darth Vader solo series are here too – Aphra, the female sort of-Indiana Jones, and the evil droids - as well as Commander Karbin who ridiculously looks like a cross between General Grievous and Admiral Ackbar! That said, the confrontation between Artoo and evil Artoo was a fun moment. 

And that’s what Vader Down is really: a series of fun moments. Unsurprisingly, Vader has the best scenes from the opening when his TIE Fighter takes on multiple X-Wing squadrons and almost wins, to taking on a platoon of Rebel fighters on the planet’s surface, to facing Leia in the desert mists. We all know he’s the coolest damn character in Star Wars but Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen really do him justice here. 

Chewie has a good scene where he fights evil Chewie (it’s crazy how unimaginative the “new” characters are) and Han and Aphra try to outwit each other in a gunfight. Luke was very underused and didn’t do much to stand out, except for one bright shining moment when I thought he’d ended evil Threepio once and for all. 

Mike Deodato KILLS it with the art! His Jason Aaron-scripted issues were amazing and he produced some stunning splash pages that realised the epic scale of the numbers against Vader. Salvador Larocca’s art is also brilliant but pales in comparison to Deodato’s breathtaking cinematic vision - Deodato really impressed me with his work on this. 

Even though this is set between A New Hope and Empire so you know that Vader or any of the main cast aren’t going to be killed or hurt, it’s still a really exciting read bursting with glorious Star Wars action. I had so much fun reading it - the Force is strong with Vader Down!

Star Wars: Vader Down

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