Darth Vader #17

Darth Vader #17

Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Cover Artists: Giuseppe Camuncoli and Elia Bonetti
Variant Cover: Rod Reis

Darth Vader #17 is a very weird issue. For starters, the bad guys win. Secondly, the Jedi at the heart of this story is revealed to be a truly flawed character. It’s hard to judge whether Barr is evil or deluded. Regardless, Vader tracks down the Jedi, takes care of business, and captures Lee-Char. All around, it’s a victory for the Empire.

The issue opens with the Order 66 trick. Barr’s ploy works and the clones open fire on the Inquisitors. Barr also manages to escape. The Inquisitors, however, don’t fare as well. Once of them is shot down, and one of them turns on the other in order to escape. Barr, on the other hand, finds Vader, and the two of them duel. Vader uses this as a chance to dive into Barr’s emotions to try and figure out what the Jedi is up to. It’s at this point that Barr reveals some secrets. First, he is the one who killed the Imperial ambassador, thus starting this whole war on Mon Cala. Second, he misled Lee-Char into believing that the Mon Calamari would lead to an end of the Empire. They would, kind of, but years from now.

Well, with no surprise, Vader kills Barr. Vader takes Lee-Char prisoner, and Tarkin bombards Mon Cala into submission. Raddus makes his escape with just a few surviving ships. The readers are then left with the aftermath. What the heck was Barr up to? How much of the future did he actually see? What did he think he was accomplishing? He traded the lives of billions, per Lee-Char, in order to inspire trillions? Per Barr’s words, he thinks he’s leading to the downfall of the Sith. But is that what happened? On one hand, by forcing Raddus off planet, he does become a central part of the battle on Scarif in Rogue One, which eventually leads to the downfall of the Empire, but it seems like a huge stretch to try and give Barr any credit for that. On the other hand, if he hadn’t started up this war, the Mon Cala would have had more vessels, Lee-Char wouldn’t have been imprisoned, and when the Rebellion did come to Mon Cala looking for assistance, they would have found a much more powerful ally, one who could have helped shorten the war. You have to wonder if Barr’s pride deluded him to the numerous possibilities of the future and instead locked him onto a single course that was far more costly than the others. The thing is, that is left completely to the reader to decide.

The artwork in the issue is really good. I loved the way the Barr/Vader fight looked with the panel arrangement and colors. There was some great imagery there with the blurring of the background, the colors and hues, the insets of lightsabers clashing and turbolasers raining down on Mon Cala. It was a great layout. Throughout the issue, there’s panels that make you stop and just gaze at the artwork. For a comic, that’s the high mark for the artwork. All too often you can get carried away reading the story and glancing panel to panel. But when the art makes you stop and gaze at it, enjoying the details and the colors, that’s the kind of thing you really want.

With a win for the bad guys, a plot that makes you think out the outcomes and rationale of the characters, and great artwork, I give Darth Vader #17 a five out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.
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