Darth Vader #12

Darth Vader #12

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado

Darth Vader #12 brings a change in the game. The cat and mouse mission between Vader and Thanoth ends. The mutant B-team reunites to snipe at each other in front of their master, Grand General Tagge. Aphra gets a stay of life, and the Mon Calamari Grievous begins to set a trap for Vader. With one loose end tied up, a new string immerges.

Great shot of Aphra. Unfortunately there are a few misses in the artwork in this issue, but there’s also some really great panels.

The issue starts in the nebula cloud as Vader and Thanoth prepare to catch Aphra. However, before the trap can be sprung, Vader talks Thanoth out of it. His reasoning is that the real targets are the Plasma Devils, not the thief. Thanoth falls for hook, line and sinker. Personally, I think the writing sort of washed over any convincing, sensible argument. Perhaps a re-read of the series would make the situation seem more believable, but as is, it seemed like hand waving to solve a problem.

Nice shot of one of the Plasma Devils.

Adding to that, the reunion of the Emperor’s B-team was not a cause for celebration. I didn’t much like them initially and nothing has changed to make them better. The twins are still pouty, Grievous/Ackbar has no accomplishments to his credit, and all we see them do is bicker and blunder. Even Tagge in his vaulted position has no victories or talents to earn the reader’s respect. Nevertheless, they’re still playing a part in the story as Karbin sets a trap for Vader.

Here’s an example of two panels that vary widely in their visual style. The first one feels very polished with all the lighting and shading. The second one feels very plain and simple. It’s as if each panel was done by a different colorist.

In these two panels you can also see the difference in the art styles. The first one looks very cartoony while the second one looks photo realistic. Vader looks perfect, yet in that first panel, that Stormtrooper looks horribly off. It’s the thinness that gets me. But on top of that, the coloring still has that plain look, where in the second panel, the coloring and lighting are superb.

This panel got me not so much because of the artwork, though the swishing of Grievous/Ackbar’s head is rather comical, but because of the dialog. It’s rather awful. Maybe it’s because I repeat the dialog on my head using Ackbar’s voice and sounds like something from Robot Chicken or a Star Wars LEGO special.

Not to harp on it too much, but I do want to take a moment for Karbin. Visually he’s a cross between Admiral Ackbar (his head) and General Grievous (his body). The visual likeness is too close for comfort. If not for the Ackbar head, he would just be a cheap Grievous clone. But with the Ackbar head, it becomes a constant distraction. Plus making a character look like two characters who were generals and admirals is not enough to make readers believe the character is a brilliant tactician. We really could use some backstory to build this character up, or an example of him in action to show he’s competent and deadly. As is, there’s nothing to make readers fear for Vader. The threat Grievous Ackbar is just not credible. On top of all that, he talks funny and refers to himself in third person. If Vader is going to be the good guy in this series, and Karbin is taking the role of villain right now, more needs to be done with him to make readers either hate him or love him. Right now, there’s not much to hate or like.

Great two page spread of Vader using a lightsaber as an anti-starfighter weapon.

Nice shot of the exploding Y-Wing. Notice how great this panel looks and how different it is from the hangar panel. It’s not the detail or linework, because that’s on par in both panels. It’s the lighting and coloring that makes the difference.

I give Darth Vader #12 a four out of five metal bikinis. It’s not bad and wraps some things up. It sets the stage for Vader and keeps Aphra alive. Those are all good things, but it does miss a few beat, and for that, there’s room for improvement.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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