Script: Brian Wood
Pencils: Facundo Percio
Inks: Dan Parsons
Colors: Gabe Eltaeb
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover Art: Sean Cooke
If Star Wars #14 does only one thing extremely well, it shows us just how truly terrifying Darth Vader can be.
We have seen Darth Vader in a variety of roles since 1977 and some could argue that the more we saw of him the less scary he became. He became the sympathetic tragic hero of the movie saga, and a ghost of the past or a vision of the future in much of the EU. Here, Brian Wood’s script and Facundo Percio’s artwork show us the raw power and ferocity of the Dark Lord of the Sith.
The story picks up with Ensign Nanda, Darth Vader and an elite squad of Stormtroopers hunting down any information they can about the spy Colonel Bircher. While most of the story is told again from Nanda’s point of view, we do get a glimpse into the mind of Darth Vader. He is trying to work out the puzzle of Luke Skywalker. He’s gotten the name, but only now does he begin to make the connection to the Death Star and the Battle of Yavin.
Telling the story from Nanda’s point of view and really pushing her to the center, has us seeing Darth Vader through her eyes. She is terrified of him, so we are terrified of him. The artwork shows her as this tiny person cowering in his presence. She is doing her best to make it through the mission but quickly realizes that she will be lucky to survive a mere 5 days in Darth Vader’s company.
The poodoo hits the fan when they track down Tag Rogaren who Leia had left to drift in the Alderaan graveyard. After Leia left many others seemed to know about Rogaren’s existence with a major Imperial bounty placed on his head. Add to the mix some Elite Stormtroopers with itchy trigger fingers looking at a big bounty contract, and you have a recipe for disaster. It’s a brief action scene but it’s memorable for Darth Vader’s ferocity. Adding to that is the lack of any kind of dialogue from Vader. He is a quiet, expressionless, ruthless killing machine here.
The story closes with Vader learning the truth about Bircher’s family ties to the Rebellion, and him returning to the Emperor with his mission concluded. We see both how shaken Ensign Nanda is by her time with Darth Vader, but also how the Emperor views Darth Vader. It’s an interesting contrast to see how Vader is feared by so many, but he is viewed so lowly by the Emperor who literally refers to him as his dog.
This is a look at the many different aspects that make up the character of Darth Vader. He is the fearsome warrior, but he is also the pitiful lackey of the dark side and the Emperor. Everyone on the creative team here did a great job of capturing all these different pieces.
Advanced Review Copy (ARC) courtesy of Dark Horse. All staff members can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.