COMIC REVIEW: Darth Vader #16 – The Shu-Torun War | FanboysInc

COMIC REVIEW: Darth Vader #16 – The Shu-Torun War

By Jeff Ayers

COMIC REVIEW: Darth Vader #16 - The Shu-Torun War

Writer: Kieron Gillen

Artist: Salvador Larroca

Colors: Edgar Delgado


Marvel Comics

One thing not mentioned enough in comic reviews is the cover. Like many comic book readers, I expect the cover to be good – something exciting, that encapsulates the story I am about to read. A cover should even be something that might entice you to pick up the book off the shelf, if you aren’t currently waiting the issue in your weekly pull list. The Star Wars comics from Marvel have had some amazing covers thus far, and Darth Vader #16 is no exception. What is a clear mistake on Marvel’s part, possibly the editor of the book (Jordan D. White), is that this cover is improperly credited. The inside cover tells the reader the cover artist is Mark Brooks, and while Brooks did some fantastic work on the recent “Vader Down” event, he is not the artist on Darth Vader #16. This beautiful cover, a straight on look at Vader’s terrifying face mask that holds incredible power and beauty in the art, is done by Kaare Andrews. This guy is a legend in his field, as an artist, writer and filmmaker, and was the first recipient of the prestigious Shuster Award for Outstanding Art. It is shame when mistakes like that slip by an editor or print maker, and hopefully it will be rectified next issue.

COMIC REVIEW: Darth Vader #16 - The Shu-Torun War

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Darth Vader #16 delves right into the aftermath of “Vader Down”, with Vader showing up to The Emperor’s doorstep with a “present”. The lifeless, destroyed body of General Karbin is set before The Emperor, and he is slightly shaken by the gift. Great dialogue by Gillen follows as he asks Vader if their are lightsaber wounds on the body, and Vader replies, “You wish me to prove myself master, give me a fight worthy of my time.” Epic dialogue, and it has many layers, as Vader mistrusts his master, thinking that maybe The Emperor sent Karbin to lay the trap for Vader. This isn’t the case, but strengthens the rocky relationship the master and student have in the eyes of the reader.

COMIC REVIEW: Darth Vader #16 - The Shu-Torun War

The Emperor tasks Vader with going back to Shu-Torun to ensure the end to the rebellion happening on the mining planet, so the Empire can rely on their resources. Vader had already been there, and murdered the reigning monarch and all the children except one, Trios, whom Vader believed could be manipulated to serve the Empire faithfully. The rest of the barons of the planet are not so willing to fall in line, so Vader and Queen Trios set out to make a show of force.

The rest of this issue shows just how forceful Vader can be, when dealing with foreign dignitaries and unruly rebels. Some of this political espionage will be seen again in the events of Empire Strikes Back, but it is interesting to see Vader flex those particular muscles here. Also, Trios is very willing to play ball with Vader and the Empire, but has a spark of defiance in her as she tries desperately to rule her people, to which Vader immediately shuts down. He explains that he will treat her with an “illusion of respect” as long as she doesn’t outwardly question him. She calls it a deal, to which he states plainly, “No. It is simply how it will be.”

The “Best There Is”: The dialogue in this issue is incredible, and really fleshes out the Darth Vader character further than this series has done in the past. Vader is very wary of his masters motives, especially concerning him, and those politics have taken up a lot of his time and outward portrayal of his character. In Darth Vader #16, Gillen does a great job giving Vader some choice dialogue to help you remember just who Darth Vader is in the first place. Also, the artistic talent of Larroca and Delgado can seemingly do no wrong, as they expertly show expansive scenes of Vader reigns hell down on a particular unruly mining faction. Those scenes are contrasted by tight sequences of Vader dealing with The Emperor, and then again with Queen Trios, and the subtle details are beautiful.

The “Isn’t Very Nice”: The bit at the end, where Vader assembles yet another team of known bounty hunters (minus Boba Fett) to track down the whereabouts of Doctor Aphra, seems tired and already done before. We know from the end of “Vader Down” that she is the prisoner of Luke Skywalker and company, and to send all the bounty hunters after them again just doesn’t sound that exciting. Also, Vader’s indifference of her being brought back alive or dead also has been done to death in this series, and maybe it is time to get rid of her character altogether at this point. Vader is in possession of the murder droids anyway, and they are by far more interesting than Doctor Aphra, who had so much promise when she was introduced way back in Darth Vader #6.

FBI Score: 9.5 out of 10. An absolutely stunning cover, along with some real juicy dialogue and great character building for Darth Vader makes this book incredibly enjoyable to read. It was a little tentative coming out of the “Vader Down” crossover as to how this book would pick up the pace again, by Kieron Gillen proves yet again that his writing talent should never be questioned.


Jeff Ayers

Both my parents instilled in me at an early age the awesome power and incredible wonder of the written word. My father sat with me when I was four years old and taught me to enjoy reading with classic comic strips like SPIDERMAN, PEANUTS, B.C. and, later, CALVIN AND HOBBES. My mother exposed me to such classics of literature as Poe, Tolkien, Stoker and Doyle, and I started my own comic collection with allowance money from mowing lawns. I liked Wolverine before it was cool, I watched as Superman died and returned, and huddled under the covers as I turned the pages of SANDMAN. Reading is like oxygen to me, and all genres and formats are welcome and devoured equally. I am the co-host of The DW and Incredible Jeff Show, CEO of Permian Productions, and a reviewer at Graphic Novel Reporter. I am 34 and live in scenic Saratoga Springs New York, where I haunt coffee shops and dive bars and the best comic shop anywhere, The Comic Depot.

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