June 16, 2024

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Comic Review: Darth Vader Volume 3

Darth Vader continues to fight his way past his rivals for the Emperor's favor.

How is it I really enjoy Darth Vader?  A licensed series, and one based on the bad guy no less, should not be as much fun as this series is.

And yet, here we are with Volume 3, subtitled The Shu-Torun War.

After nearly capturing Luke Skywalker–the young man Vader has discovered is his son–during the Vader Down arc, Vader returns to the Emperor with news that one of his rival’s cyborgs wasn’t good enough to stop a Dark Lord of the Sith.  Dr. Cylo’s agents are trying to supplant Vader’s spot in the Empire, and the Emperor seems inclined to let it play out.

Vader’s chance to get somewhere comes with the ore-planet of Shu-Torun rebels against the newly elevated Queen and against the Empire.  Since Vader himself was responsible for putting that woman on the throne, he owns her and she knows it.  Palpatine dispatches Vader to put down the rebellion, but he also has to take Cylo’s people with him.

The fun from Darth Vader doesn’t come from Vader himself.  Vader is his usual intimidating self, but he’s not one for talking, and as such the colorful characters that make up his supporting cast make or break the series.  Fortunately, Vader has assembled a crew that acts as a funhouse mirror to Luke’s team of allies.  And while some of them are missing, the homicidal droids Triple Zero and BeeTee are along for the ride, ready to dispense lethal punishment, or as much as Vader will allow them to dispense.

While writer Kieron Gillen’s script isn’t bad, and the artwork by Salvador Larroca and Leinil Yu is still top notch, something about this arc didn’t work for me.  Maybe it was the absence of Doctor Aphra.  Maybe it was the brevity of the volume.  Maybe it was just the story seemed slight, offering Vader a few more stepping stones to reclaim his place as the Emperor’s right hand following the destruction of the Death Star.  All I know is, I was hoping for more than what I got.  Eight out of ten literally bloodthirsty battledroids.