Darth Vader #15

Darth Vader #15 (Vader Down Part 6 of 6)

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

Visually, Darth Vader #15 is a lot better than Star Wars #14, and this one brings the Vader Down mini-series to an end. Finally calling it quits, Leia pulls a retreat with her beaten but still alive friends as they manage to leave the battlefield, but not empty handed. Even Vader pulls out a victory of sorts in undermining his rival and preventing Luke from being captured by the wrong Imperials. But even still, I’m not sure if part six of Vader Down packed the right amount of punch to end this even with a bang.

The first page of the issue is a refreshing change from the dreary art of Mike Deodato and Frank Martin Jr. Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado bring a bright richness to the panels that is much more pleasing to the eye. While the depiction of the human characters isn’t always spot on, the artwork overall is still very enjoyable. There’s full page splash art that’s gorgeous, cool close-up shots, and a good does of emotion on the character’s faces. My one complaint would be early in the issue when Leia is watching Vader and Karbin fight. There’s an odd couple of panels showing an explosion, and Leia looks shocked. The artwork and the dialog don’t make it clear what’s happening. At first I though Vader and Karbin blew up, so Leia left them. Then I started to think maybe she had a Force vision of what would happen if she didn’t go to help her friends. But on the other hand, it could be a memory of the past, of Alderaan blowing up, and bringing her to her sense, she decides to help those who still care about her. While it’s not entirely the artist’s fault, they might have been able to do something to make those scenes more understandable.

The story takes some fun turns as the battles come to interesting conclusions. For starters, C-3PO defeats the mighty Krrsantan. Aphra helps Vader in putting a final, glorious end to Karbin–thank the maker. In turn, Vader and the murder bots (0-0-0 and BT-1) save Luke. The dialog, the story beats and the characters were all enjoyable. However, there is one quibble and one complaint with the story. My quibble is with the Jedi ruins on Vrogas Vas. It’s never explained what the deal is with the ruins, but everyone keeps hinting that there is something to them, some important, mysterious past. The fact that they left that one open and unanswered drove me a little crazy. That’s one story thread I would have liked to seen wrapped up.

The complaint is with the overall story. Vader Down kicked off in a big way. Vader took on a fleet of X-Wings and an army of Rebel soldiers. He was fearless and unstoppable. It was a great way to start the series. This issue, however, is the end of the series, and it didn’t match the octane levels it started out on. It’s good, but it’s not as good as the beginning. More or less, it felt like the story they went out of their way to tell was kind of done in the first two issues, and dragged out afterwards. The idea was to show Vader taking on the entire Rebel army and showing off his powers. But I’m not sure they had a good ending for where that story idea would go. There was almost a character growth point for Leia, but it wasn’t specifically laid out. Did she realize how foolish her suicidal actions were? How much she was sacrificing to kill one person? I don’t know, as the idea was toyed with, but not fully fleshed out. On the other hand, there’s Vader going after his son, waging war against armies to get his boy. There was definitely some storytelling potential there, but they pulled their punches a little and didn’t go as far as they could have with that one. Again, there are hints, but they stopped short of a big payout to the readers.

Vader Down started with a bang, and while it doesn’t end with a whimper, it does end with a smaller, less satisfying bang. It’s still pretty good though. I give Darth Vader #15 a four out of five metal bikinis. Hopefully we haven’t seen the last of the Vrogas Vas riddle, and maybe we’ll get some more development from Vader and Leia given the events of this mini-series.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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