Ricky Church reviews the final issue of Star Wars: Darth Vader…
FINAL ISSUE! It has all built up to this! Vader’s trials against Cylo’s creations! His machinations against the Emperor! His covert missions with Doctor Aphra and her murderous droids! All comes to fruition in an oversized 40-page issue by the stellar team of Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca! You won’t want to miss this ending!
SEE ALSO: Check out a preview of Star Wars: Darth Vader #25 here
Since Marvel regained the Star Wars license, their titles have mostly been great additions to the galaxy far, far away, but none more so than the book dedicated to the Dark Lord of the Sith himself. Keiron Gillen’s Star Wars: Darth Vader has been a consistently good examination of Vader’s character, adopting a less is more strategy to his characterization combined with stellar artwork by various artists.
It should be no surprise then that Darth Vader’s finale issue follows suit, delivering a triumphant swan song to the title that ties everything back to its very first issue. Darth Vader #25 shows Vader’s return to grace as he at last dispatches his enemies in some very epic ways as only he can. Normally a book like this would be full of the protagonist’s thoughts or other form of narration as they go through a gauntlet of enemies, but Gillen plays everything close to the chest, showing Vader quietly stalking through his foes as he swipes his lightsaber left and right.
Alongside delivering some action that will make you root for the Dark Lord, Darth Vader #25 also has some emotion in it. The issue will have readers pumping their fists in the air at Vader’s victories to back-and-forth from despair to joy over the fate of one character in particular (who now has their own upcoming series). It all ends just as it should and now that it’s all over, fans who have read Darth Vader may even view some of his actions in the Original Trilogy differently. That is a testament to Gillen’s ability to get inside Vader’s head without sacrificing the deadly and mysterious aura around the villain.
Vader’s relative silence in the final issue shouldn’t be any concern thanks in large part to Salvador Larroca’s artwork. The body language Larroca gives Vader speaks for the character better than words could. He remains intimidating throughout the story and at one of the issue’s most crucial points, its hard to tell whether or not Vader is reluctant to do something or if he’s simply going through the motions. That’s not a detraction by any means; it’s a good thing that Gillen and Larroca leave a little room for interpretation there (though, as is said in the book, there is no kindness in Vader). Larroca is also known for his photo-realistic artwork and his depictions of the Original Trilogy characters remain well done, particularly on Grand General Tagge. Edgar Delgado’s colours compliment Larroca’s work too, creating a piece that is very reminiscent of the Original Trilogy’s look and feel.
Though it is bittersweet to see Darth Vader come to an end, it at least does so with an outstanding final issue. Gillen encapsulates many of the aspects that make Vader a great villain while shining a bit more light on his relationship with Palpatine and the long game he’s playing. Larroca’s artwork and focus on body language make this issue standout amongst the series, arguably making #25 its very best.