VADER DOWN #1 was one of many new titles to come out of Marvel to celebrate its revitalization of the Star Wars franchise in comic books. Written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Mike Deodato Jr., Frank Martin, and Joe Caramagna, the 2015 issue was an ambitious cross-over event that honed in on Darth Vader in order to further explore his character. The villain, originally on a trip to Vrogas Vas in search of Luke Skywalker, finds himself surrounded by a Rebel Forces’ fleet. If anyone else were in Vader’s position they would have virtually no chance of survival. But as this issue will show us, the Sith Lord is a force of nature all his own.
Receiving a tip from Doctor Aphra, Vader moves in on Luke’s location. Upon running into the fleet of Rebel X-Wing Starfighters, one would think the Dark Lord would attempt an evasive maneuver. But the confidence exuding from him would never permit him to do such a thing.
Star Wars fans know how egregious the sins of Vader are, but few can deny the draw to a character with such determination. We (regretfully) find ourselves almost routing for the villain. But once he lands on the planet, readers will see how Vader fairs against an armada of Rebels on the ground.
The beauty of Aaron’s narrative lies in his portrayal of Vader. His elegant ease in dismantling the Rebel forces makes one feel as if he’s a force of nature himself. It is the perfect setup for this storyline—casting the tyrant in an unstoppable position from the get-go leaves ample room for him to fall in the future.
Deodato Jr.’s penciling and ink work, Martin’s coloring, Caramagna’s lettering were each integral pieces of this beautiful issue. The fighter ships are incredibly detailed, complete with dark grays for the side panels and intense reds to represent their explosive fire. The lettering used for the Rebel Fleet blends in which the explosions themselves—it’s as if their exclamations of fear were part of the visual landscape.
STAR WARS: VADER DOWN #1 was the perfect way to launch into a new era of Star Wars comics. Though we want our hero Luke to survive, we have to admit Vader’s unmatched power in the Force is nothing short of awe-inspring.
What was your favorite part of the issue? Let us know in the comments below!