I only picked up 2 comics this week, the result of a fifth Wednesday in a month making for so few releases it’s almost barely worth going to the comic store in the first place. Thankfully, one of this week’s comics is Darth Vader 18, and that alone is worth heading out for.
In the previous issue of Darth Vader, Star Wars’s greatest villain is waging a war against a rebellion on an ore-rich planet, Shu-Torun, alongside the young queen Trios. Meanwhile, Cylo and some of the queen’s advisors are conspiring against Darth Vader in hopes to gain more power themselves. This issue starts off with Darth Vader’s assault drill being sabotaged so that his attack force is separated from the rest of the Empire’s forces. This leads to some good action scenes, intriguing political fallout and a teaser that long-time readers have been waiting for since the start of this series. Kieron Gillen’s writing makes the story fun, whether it’s the young Queen showing her potential as a leader or 000’s awesomely creepy suggestion after the opening fight.
The art by Salvador Larroca is fantastic. Right from the opening pages where 000 and his assassin droid dispose of a body, the art is very well detailed in both the characters and the environment. The scenes taking place deep in the core have the right amount of darkness, glow from the lava and wide open caverns. Facial expressions perfectly convey emotions, most notably with the queen’s increasing determination as her advisor shows his true colours after Vader’s apparent disappearance (from their perspective). Edgar Delgado’s colouring is also great. Everything deep underground has an overall orange glow, save for the assault drill and the lights on Vader’s chest, giving the comic a great atmospheric feel.
I wouldn’t quite call this comic perfect. While it’s fun, it’s a bit of a short read. The politics behind what’s going on is intense but they’re not expanded on that much in this issue compared to the last two. Still, it’s great seeing Darth Vader leading an army in a situation where he may be at a disadvantage, yet his ruthlessness never dulls. If you’re a Star Wars fan who reads comics, you should check this series out.