Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Star Wars: Darth Vader #14
Gillen, Larroca & Delgado
"Vader Down" reaches the fourth chapter of six in this issue of "Darth Vader." Crossovers have a tendency to stretch things out a few issues too many and this is one of those issues that probably could have been condensed to a few pages and combined with another issue. It's not that the read isn't entertaining, but when you dissect what happens in the comic and how many pages each sequence takes you realize not much really happens. It's a good crossover, but this is an average issue among them.
The comic begins by setting up where the characters are and what they are doing. One page for Luke, Han and Chewie talking to C3-PO via comlink, one page of Leia standing in front of Vader and two pages of Aphra and her evil droids escaping the rubble. The next four pages have Leia escape Vader before anything significant can occur between the pair.
This sequence isn't terribly clear. Something distracts Vader enough to freeze and turn his head away from Leia. While this occurs Leia takes off running through the smoke. There are several possible reasons for Vader's distraction. One, and the most likely one, is that Vader senses the presence of the character that shows up at the end of the comic. It's a good cliffhanger and if this is what Vader standing still is the reason for then it makes for a tighter comic book.
The rest of the comic moves quickly. There is another aerial attack forming up to take out Vader, there is another bounty hunter that takes out the Falcon, but isn't looking for Han and the evil droids find C3-PO.
It's a good read. The pace is swift throughout and the character focus is strong. You have to wonder why the assault on Vader let up in the first place that requires Leia to call in for even more ships. The bounty hunter showing up is a good twist to make things more confusing. The evil droids are always good for a laugh for or two to help round out the read.
The primary problem with the comic is that its fluff. The evil droids, Leia running from Vader and some of the other pieces are just unnecessary. You close the comic and you are more of less exactly where you were before the comic started: Vader standing in front of Leia.
The artwork is tremendous. It's clear that Larroca uses a ton of photo references of the actors from the first trilogy, but it works in the scenes and matches up well with the dialogue. Even when the art is called upon to use some imagination it does so in grand style. The artwork definitely tells a very good visual story.
"Darth Vader" brings a fast read with the fourth part of "Vader Down." The comic is entertaining and is supported by realistic and lively artwork. The comic doesn't really move the plot forward much and feels like a filler issue. Overall, the comic is not as strong as the previous parts in this storyline but is worth giving a try,
3 out of 5 Geek Goggles