With this issue, the “Vader Down” crossover concludes mostly the same as it began and then unfolded: with a series of fun moments in service of an incremental, mostly-incidental plot.
Like most of the “Vader Down” crossover, Star Wars #14 is filled with plenty of epic moments, like BT taking out a squad of stormtroopers with a flamethrower, every time Darth Vader gets a line, or the fact that R2D2 has some kind of poison antidote needle in his chassis. And Jason Aaron makes these moments cohere into some kind of a whole with the shared Obi Wan Force Ghost voice for Luke and Vader. (For all of its fun, the Han and Chewbacca vs. Krrsantan plot is just filler in the larger scheme of things.) Add slightly improved art from Deodato and Martin, and the “Vader Down” finale can’t come soon enough. (It comes out today as well and will be quite the family affair.)
Star Wars #13 has comedy, action, and holds Vader back to make him even more terrifying as Leia and her Rebel forces charge forward while the rest of the main cast of the comic is busy fighting the supporting cast of Darth Vader. Mike Deodato’s fight choreography isn’t blistering, but he excels at piecing noteworthy images together, like the progression of events where Luke wakes up from his coma, kicks the annoying BT and runs to comfort R2D2 as if he’s the family pet. “Vader Down’s” cliffhanger game continues to be on point with yet another duel of mind and body to take place in next week’s installment.
The second chapter of the “Vader Down” crossover between Marvel’s Darth Vader and Star Wars books, this issue makes it clear that this is going to be a narrowly-focused story – that is, chiefly concerned with one specific narrative rather than a story spanning multiple threads across multiple books. That said, regular series creators Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca turn in an exciting second chapter of the story, one which moves the overall narrative forward (however incrementally) but also puts the spotlight on the book’s regular supporting cast.
Even if Mike Deodato’s art doesn’t fit the space battle portion of the comic, Vader Down #1 is an explosive start to Marvel’s first Star Wars crossover and will give Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen the once in a lifetime opportunity to show what Darth Vader would do once the chips are down. It’s best read while playing “Imperial March” on an endless loop.