Darth Vader #3

Darth Vader #3

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

After reading Darth Vader #3, I felt like I just watched an episode of The Twilight Zone. It’s a rather strange issue. In this one, Darth Vader is a background character while the story explores someone completely new. She goes by the name Doctor Aphra. For some reason, she has an obsession with rare weaponized droids. With Darth Vader looking to gather some personal assets off the Imperial books, Aphra catches his interest. Yet the whole thing is just a little askew of Star Wars.

Aphra

The comic opens with Aphra breaking into a vault to steal a computer chip. She uses some “antique stealth microdroid dust” to reveal the laser sensors in the vault, and finds the treasure she’s after: the triple-zero personality matrix. It’s a wordy start to the issue, and it’s best not to think too much about it because the microdroid dust seems a little overkill for just revealing some lasers. Regardless, things don’t go well for Aphra as she kicks off the alarm and is chased by a droideka.

One thing I noticed in this issue is the references to Indiana Jones. The first panel showing the droideka is similar to the boulder chasing Indy. Both Aphra and Indy are treasure hunters who have to sneak past traps. They both have leather jackets. Just like Raiders of the Lost Ark, when they escape the rolling threat, they wind up surrounded by a bunch of foes and a recurring nemesis. For Aphra, it’s Utani Xane. She even has a line similar to Indiana Jones, but with a different spin, “It should be in an armory!”. There are more references and nods, but you get the idea. Heck, they’re both doctors. While it’s kinda fun, it’s also very obvious and it did draw me out of the story when it got to her line about the armory. Sometimes a nod works, but sometimes it’s just a bit much.

Indy Moment

Afterwards her and Vader become friends and he helps her wake up some assassin droids. That’s about it. Most of the comic focuses on Aphra and it does a good job of developing her character, however I’m torn on her character. She talks a lot, and the dialog is…well, it’s sometimes jarring. Part of it is the way she speaks, calling him “Mr. Vader” or “Sir Vader”, speaking in choppy sentences and rapid thoughts. Another part of it is the lack of believability. In the previous two issues, there was no set up for Vader seeking Aphra out. This storyline is completely out of the blue. The reasoning provided in this issue is a toss away line about Vader fighting some droids she reactivated that impressed him. I think it would have been a stronger connection if they were droids she built or customized rather than just ones she reactivated. Another factor that’s missing is why Aphra decides to so quickly join Vader’s team. Yet I still kind of like her character. She has a fun personality, a fun look, and I like her association with killer droids.

Adding to the strangeness of everything are the two droids Aphra activates in this issue: 0-0-0 and BT-1. Triple Zero is a protocol assassin droid and BT-1 is an astromech assassin droid, both part of a Tarkin Initiative project. Triple Zero is kind of a crazy version of C-3PO that’s easy to like. BT-1 is like an R2-D2 armed to the teeth and with a twitchy trigger finger. They’re interesting characters, though not really anything new. We’ve seen crazy protocol droids before, and as cool as these two might be, they’re going to have a hard time living up to the legend of HK-47 from the KOTOR games. Still, they have potential.

Great Shot of Aphra

The artwork for the issue isn’t too bad. Aphra’s face is kind of shifty and it makes you wonder if the artist had the same reference model or not for all the panels (some look more alike than others). But overall, it looks good and works well. Some of the close-up shots of Aphra are really nice.

My main problem with the issue is just how far removed it feels from the previous two issues. It jumps to a new point of view character, and has a very loose connection to what’s happened before. Tagge seemed to be keeping a very tight leash on Vader, and now he’s gone completely off on his own to track down a person who reactivates droids. The story could have benefited from some more ties to the rest of the story to make everything feel more connected. As is, this feels like something completely new and separate from the rest of the series, and this is just issue #3. It definitely packs some strong personalities, yet those personalities threaten to overpower Vader who is typically a character of few words. Aphra and Triple Zero’s sense of humors also clash with Vader who is all business and is not known for making jokes. It’s a very weird combination. Whether it’s going to work out or not, I still enjoyed this issue. I give it a three and half out of five metal bikinis. It’s good but equally odd.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.
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