Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Mike Deodato
Colorist: Frank Martin Jr.
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Artist: Mark Brooks
Story by: Jason Aaron & Kieron Gillen
The Vader Down event continues in the latest issue of Star Wars. Darth Vader on the hunt for Luke Skywalker was forced to crash on this remote planet, that is also the home of a Rebel base, and Luke has been captured by Vader’s ally Dr. Aphra.
Luke has been knocked unconscious by Aphra and Triple Zero, but he still has Artoo to protect him. Unfortunately, Aphra still has BeeTee, the heavily armed astromech droid on her side too. As much as we love R2 he is clearly outgunned by BeeTee. The droids get a lot of the spotlight in this issue. Jason Aaron seems to be having a lot of fun playing with the characters from Kieron Gillen’s Darth Vader title.
Princess Leia is obsessed with taking down Darth Vader so she leads Delta Squad to head out and meet up with the rest of the forces that have engaged the Dark Lord. That leaves Han and Chewie to try and locate Luke. Han and Aphra are pretty equally matched, but it seems that she has the more dangerous underworld reputation. He quickly realizes things are much more dangerous than he thought. She gets a fun line about Han shooting first as well. It’s pretty easy to make Han shooting first jokes, but this one feels natural in the story and isn’t overly forced.
Most of the issue is the standoff between Han, Chewie and Artoo and Aphra, Beetee and Triple Zero. There is a lot of give and take between during the fights as they are evenly matched. I wonder how much of the wonderful, murderous droids we will see after this issue though. Those characters were a lot of fun and a great mirror version of Artoo and Threepio.
The event is called, “Vader Down” but Darth Vader barely makes an appearance here. This issue is mostly taking place at the same time as the previous issue. The Dark Lord of the Sith only appears in the final pages as Leia’s group catches up to him, but like everything so far, Vader is ready and waiting for them.
A new art team has taken over for Stuart Immonen’s team. Mike Deodato’s art and Frank Martin’s colors give this story a very Old West feel as the two gunfighters, Aphra and Han, stand off against each other.
I’m glad to see the story shifting gears here, as much fun as it is to see Darth Vader wiping out the Rebels it can get to be a bit boring after a while. Too much of it and he seems superhuman, surpassing the limits established in other stories. Focusing on Han and Aphra gives us a different flavor but still keeps the overall story moving forward.