All For the Wookiee: The Star-Warsiest Moments In ‘Vader Down’
Welcome back to All For the Wookiee, where we take a look at the recent Star Wars universe offerings from Marvel and pick the most Star Wars-ish moments. In this installment, we look at the first three issues of the massive crossover event, Vader Down, starting with Vader Down #1, by Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato, then Darth Vader #13 by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca, and then Star Wars #13 by Aaron and Deodato. There's death, destruction and dangerous droids galore as the Rebels try their hardest to take down a vulnerable Vader.
As usual, spoilers follow. You have been warned.
MOMENT I: "When I first met him, your father was already a great pilot." (Vader Down #1)
Vader Down starts with a bang: Vader, having been purposefully fed bad intel by his enemy, Karbin, winds up jumping into a wing of Rebellion fighters, who immediately try to shoot him down. This doesn not end well for them, as Vader is basically the best pilot ever. He just blows these dudes away. It's pretty good Star Wars.
MOMENT II: STARCRASH! (Vader Down #1)
So Luke shows up and, being Luke, what does he do? He flies right into Vader's face, juking at the last minute and managing to take Vader down (hence the name) while also causing his own fighter to crash on the planetoid below. Good Old Luke Skywalker. Heavy on guts, short on brains.
MOMENT III: When the Sith Hits the Fan (Vader Down #1)
So to recap a large portion of the Vader portions of the first three parts: the Rebels try and take him down with troops (he Force-activates their thermal detonators and blows them up real good), they try to come at him with speeders (he rigs up some guns that shoot them down), they send a bunch of Y-wings to bomb him (he smashes them with rocks), all while slowly making his way toward Skywalker, who he can now sense in the Force.
There's been a real push in both the comics as well as his brief (albeit effective) moments in Star Wars: Rebels, to make Vader a cold-blooded, determined killing machine, powerful in the Force and single-minded in his objective, and I'm very behind this idea. There was definite menace to him in the Original Trilogy, even brute strength in parts of his duel with Luke on Return of the Jedi, but with the Prequels sort of ratcheting up the Jedi power-base, a little bit of tweaking needed to be made to showcase just how terrifying a Lord of the Sith would be.
MOMENT IV: Your Reputation Recedes You (Darth Vader #13)
Oh man, this scene is brilliant. Aphra's sizing up her competition as she heads to the planet of Vrogas Vas to save Vader (and her own hide). I can only imagine how much Han's feelings would be hurt to hear that, yet again, somebody hasn't heard of him. And Aphra (correctly) pegging Solo as a bit of a creep is beautiful.
MOMENT V: Fluent In Over Six Million Forms of Electrocution (Darth Vader #13)
Also brilliant: part of Aphra's plan includes spraying up killer protocol droid Triple-Zero as C3PO and having him shock the ever-loving crap out of a dazed Luke, who is so used to seeing ghosts and friends show up at opportune moments, he doesn't even notice that his golden buddy is gonna zap him with his death-hand. It's a great payoff to the fact that Vader has built up a shadow-version of the core group of heroes, with his own evil versions of Han Solo, Chewbacca, Threepio and Artoo (more on him in a second).
MOMENT VI: Let the Wookiee Win (Star Wars #13)
So Han and Aphra have a little showdown, and in a twist from Moment IV above, while Aphra hasn't heard of Solo, Solo had definitely heard of Aphra, and is understandably terrified of the prospect of going up against the Indiana Jones of ancient weaponry. Thankfully, he is best buds with a seven-foot tall space-gorilla with a penchant for dismemberment.
MOMENT VII: Astromech Meets Blastromech (Star Wars #13)
It's the moment we've all been waiting for: Evil Artoo, Aphra's BT-1, versus Actual Artoo. Unfortunately, as Beetee is literally a droid full of guns, he has the clear advantage in this fight. There's also a great moment when Triple-Zero first meets Arto and confirms what I've always suspected: Artoo is a dang ol' potty-mouth.
MOMENT VIII: Daddy-Daughter Day On the Dark Side (Star Wars #13)
And this is where we leave off: Leia, in an attempt to save Luke, comes face-to-face with the guy who tossed her in a cell in the Death Star's detention level, had her tortured, stood by while Grand Moff Tarkin blew up her home world and SPOILERS: is also, secretly, her dad. And since Vader just killed the entire group of troops she rolled in there with, there is literally no hope, new or otherwise, that she will get out of this easily. I'm excited to see what happens next.
Vader Down continues in Darth Vader #14, on sale December 23.
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