Darth Vader #14

Darth Vader #14

Vader Down Part IV

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Story By: Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Mark Brooks

Vader’s still down and no one can stop him, but what’s left to tell? In Darth Vader #14, they throw more characters at the story to fuel the fire and keep the action going. Krrsantan the black Wookiee bounty hunter joins the fray, as does the Grievous wannabe Commander Karbin. Yet it’s not quite enough to make the comic above average.

One thing the issue does do is bring C-3PO into the spotlight. He gets quite a bit of coverage as he opens the issue and chatters away. There’s also a pretty good bit where he runs into Triple Zero. Elsewhere, Vader and Leia have an anti-climatic standoff or two since neither one of them can die and Leia doesn’t have a weapon. Han and Aphra shake off their wounds from the last battle, but Chewbacca is the one who gets forced into another fight as Krrsantan shows up. It becomes a Wookiee versus Wookiee brawl. While that could be a good story point for some fun, it doesn’t get a whole lot of attention in this issue. Mostly it’s Leia, who somehow gets out of one fight with Vader only to go looking for a rematch so she can make a noble sacrifice that we all know won’t happen. The story ends with Karbin appearing for an odd rescue of Vader and Leia.

Part of the problem is the time vested in the Leia plot with her making a sacrifice of herself to take out Vader. It seems really trite and lacking any kind of emotional impact. Making Leia so quick to self-sacrifice kind of demeans her character rather than adding weight to it. We don’t need a suicidal princess. On the other hand, the fact that we know she’ll fail also makes the decision seem like an idiotic choice. The smarter play would be to trick Vader into a compromising situation where you don’t die but still use yourself as bait, even if there’s some risk. Had they gone that route, it would’ve made Leia look smarter yet still a noble resistance fighter. Regardless of the what if’s, the route they took didn’t work well for the character.

The other thing that fell flat was the introduction of more characters. While this could play out well in issues to come, here it just felt like a desperate move to drag the story out or showcase characters from the series. Though the real problem there could be that I don’t like Commander Karbin at all. If they killed him off in the next issue, I’d certainly be pleased, but as is, he didn’t do anything for me. Krrsantan is kind of cool, and I’m hoping we get to see some cool Wookiee versus Wookiee panels in the next issue. Sadly we didn’t get any good ones in this one.

The other factor that hurt Darth Vader #14 is the artwork. There’s a lot of repetitiveness in the panels and imagery that kind of make it visually boring. Even worse, some of the character depictions are really distracting. For some reason Leia’s face kept snaring my attention in a bad way. Her likeness was constantly changing and shifting in a way that did not seem natural or seamless. They tried to do some photorealism with her, but it didn’t work very well. On the plus side, Vader, the droids, the ships and Krrsantan all looked good.

With a story that is kind of skimming along and some flailing artwork, Darth Vader #14 earns a three out of five metal bikinis. It’s not all bad, but it’s not all good either.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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