|STAR WARS: VADER DOWN No. 1, January 2016|
Despite being depicted as a mysteriously all-powerful villain during the original "Star Wars" motion picture trilogy, Darth Vader was never arguably imbued with any especially 'mind-blowing' abilities except the occasional force choke and manipulation of inanimate objects, such as some pieces of Cloud City machinery in "The Empire Strikes Back". Indeed, whilst on the 'Silver Screen', even the Emperor Palpatine, a long-standing Sith Master, seems to have been limited to nothing greater than a talent for discharging deadly lightning bolts from his fingertips. However, this situation seems to have somewhat dramatically changed since "Marvel Worldwide" started publishing a flotilla of comics based upon George Lucas' "galaxy far, far away" in 2015, with the "enforcer of the Galactic Empire" apparently receiving an especially impressive ‘upgrade’ to the point where during Jason Aaron’s “Skywalker Strikes” story-arc the black-armoured warrior was shown to be capable of bringing all the dreadful might of a gigantic AT-AT walker to its knees purely through his manipulation of the dark side of the force.
Somewhat disconcertingly Issue One of “Star Wars: Vader Down”, the second-best selling comic book of November 2015 having sold an astonishing 384,969 issues upon its release, undoubtedly ramps up the Sith Lord’s powers even further and in many ways actually portrays a ludicrously omnipotent Anakin Skywalker, who not only single-handedly takes “out a whole [X-Wing] squadron without so much as a scratch on his TIE [Fighter]” but also casually challenges “an entire company” of mobilised Rebel troopers. Considering the American author’s script is set shortly after the Battle of Yavin, it is hard to imagine just how so invincible a titular character could have allowed the destruction of the (first) Death Star to occur, especially when the Alabama-born writer has Darth nonchalantly destroy the airborne Y-Wing bombers of Gray Squadron courtesy of some well-flung pieces of debris; “Mother of Moons! Aaaaaggghh!”
Aaron’s narrative also suffers on account of the contrived circumstances upon which his cross-title event’s basic premise is based. Having conveniently “received word of Luke’s location” Vader surprisingly abandons “his secret ally, Doctor Aphra” and the rest of his formidable Imperial resources and rather naively decides to visit “the former Jedi temple on the planet Vrogas Vas alone…” Why would “the most dangerous man in the galaxy” and a supposedly keen strategist do such a reckless thing when he knows that his prey is part of the Rebellion, and therefore will almost certainly be accompanied by Alliance forces?
Sadly Mike Deodata’s artwork is equally as ‘spotty’ as this giant-size comic’s storyline. There is no doubting that the Brazilian’s pencilling for Darth’s epic space battle against “three squadrons of Rebel starfighters” is dynamically detailed; especially the sequence's double-splash pages and additional panels depicting the various X-Wing pilots’ reactions to the utter carnage the Sith Lord’s enhanced TIE-fighter is causing. But as soon as the situation momentarily quietens, and the book’s focus turns to Skywalker’s friends on board the Rebel Fleet, then the former Nineties “Wonder Woman” artist seems to really struggle to draw his figures with any consistency.
|The 'Retailer' variant cover art of "STAR WARS: VADER DOWN" No. 1|