Review: Darth Vader #5

Darth Vader Review banner 5

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

Darth Vader has assembled his personal army of battle droids and used the information he gathered from the agent Cylo-IV to locate a base where his replacements are being readied.

STWVADER2015005Cover-f889d-600x900Vader and his motley band head out to the hidden base, which actually is a hybrid of organic and inorganic structures growing and built on the back of a space whale.  It’s all very Doctor Who.  Vader and Aphra have a great back and forth on the approach.  She continues to be an interesting character because she isn’t just one thing.  She doesn’t seem like an evil person, yet she is working in the service of Darth Vader, knows exactly what he is after and what he will do to get it.  She seems to be morally gray at best.

Aphra disables the base’s security and allows Vader and two squads of droids to enter the base.  It’s very reminiscent of the attack on the Tantive IV with the soldiers lined up at the door.  You can feel the tension build as we watch the soldiers wait for the door to open.  It plays out a bit different this time as Vader uses Triple Zero to distract.  Triple Zero continues to steal every scene he’s in.  He’s the best parts of Threepio but with the twisted sinister edge of HK-47.  I hope he stays around for a while.

Vader’s raid on the base takes up about a third of the book as he and the droids make their way through, until they finally meet something different.  The soldiers on the base seem almost redundant after we meet Vader’s replacements.  Cylo-V, after the unfortunate end of Cylo-IV, has gone about making cybernetically enhanced fighters.  They will, as they say, make the Sith and the Jedi obsolete.

These new augmented warriors are an unusual but refreshing twist.  We have seen so many variations through the years of Sith, Jedi, Dark Jedi, Gray Jedi, and other various unaligned force users that it’s good to see someone actively ignoring the Force and wanting to move past it.  We know Vader can hold his own against anything the Jedi or even the Sith, except maybe the Emperor himself, can throw against him that this is something so different it could actually prove to be a challenge to him.

This twist to the usual story is so different that I had to read the book more than once because on the first time through I wasn’t sure what to make of it.  I wasn’t sure how this fit into my definition of what is and what is not Star Wars.  In the end I realized that this is a genius move.  How best to defeat someone as strong in the Force as Vader, but to try and remove the Force from the equation.

Kieron Gillen’s writing continues to be enjoyable, especially in his use of the side characters.  They may steal a scene or a moment, but we never forget whose book this is.  Salvador Larroca’s art and layouts keep the cinematic feel, adding tension to the story.  Even though we are in a new canon, there is still so much of Star Wars that has been done before it can be hard to find a new way to spin the story.  The creators have found a new angle to the classic conflict.

4/5 Kath Hounds

4/5 Kath Hounds

About the Author

Paul joined the EUCantina staff in 2012, combining his love of Star Wars and his obsession with comic books. He has been a Star Wars fan since the early 80's and is always finding a way to tie Star Wars into every facet of his life. Paul lives in Virginia. He loves movies, plays guitar and is TK-5990, a proud member of the 501st Legion.