Ricky Church reviews Star Wars: Vader Down #1…
When Darth Vader accidentally finds himself facing off against the Rebel Fleet on his own, the rebels will learn the true strength of the Dark Side of the Force! Once Vader crashes on a nearby planet, the Rebellion is willing to risk everything for this once-in-a-lifetime chance to take out one of their biggest enemies! Luke! Vader! Leia! Aphra! Han! Chewie! And all manner of Droid, good and evil!
Marvel’s Star Wars comics have been hitting it out of the park since they began earlier this year with consistently good storytelling and artwork. Their freshman year culminates in ‘Vader Down’, a crossover between the Star Wars and Darth Vader titles that sees the Sith Lord crashed and surrounded by Rebel forces on a planet as he hunts down Luke Skywalker. Vader Down #1 is the story’s introduction and, if this one issue is anything to go by, Vader fans are going to enjoy the next several issues.
Though the issue builds off events in the main Star Wars titles, one doesn’t need much background knowledge to understand what’s going on or why. This is a good thing for readers who haven’t read any previous issues of either title before. The story is, so far, rather simple as Vader continues his hunt for Luke and comes across a large Rebel force in space all by himself. After decimating most of the X-Wings, he and Luke crash on a planet and the Rebels see this as a golden opportunity to capture or kill Vader, calling in every available soldier and ship to do so (hint: they’re going to need the extra firepower).
The book features wall-to-wall action that is not only well depicted, but gorgeous to look at. Mike Deodato’s art is one of the main selling points of this issue. The space battle is very exciting to read through with Vader’s full skills as a pilot on display. Between this and the Star Wars Rebels premiere earlier this year, there have been some great reminders that Darth Vader is the galaxy’s best pilot. Along with Vader’s skill, there is surprisingly some intense imagery later on as other Rebel pilots survey the damage and the dead.
While there’s not a lot of story progression, Jason Aaron’s characterization of the various players is well done. Vader is as threatening as he’s ever been and it is very much like him that, even in the face of overwhelming numbers, he’d be as confident as ever. Aaron’s short scene featuring Han Solo is also amusing and endearing as he’s against this suicide mission until he realizes Luke is in danger as well. It’s a good character beat that emphasizes Han’s change from scoundrel to a big brother-like figure in the time between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, pick this book up and if you’re a Darth Vader fan there’s no reason you shouldn’t already be reading this. Vader Down #1 is an intense story with great action, artwork and character moments. Don’t miss out on this exciting adventure.