Star Wars: Vader Down – A Book Review

This is probably the coolest Darth Vader story I’ve ever experienced, and that’s no small statement.

The first crossover between Marvel’s Darth Vader and Star Wars comic book series, Vader Down collects the entire tale as Darth Vader crash lands on the Rebel Alliance’s new planetary base.  He hunts Luke Skywalker, the boy who humiliated Vader by destroying the Death Star.  However, though he’s told no one, Vader has learned that the rebel hero is also his son.  How exactly did Vader crash land on this planet?  I won’t spoil it for you, but it involves Luke Skywalker, and it is totally in keeping with the Skywalker tradition of adventurism.

What makes this graphic novel so utterly cool is that Darth Vader literally fights an entire battalion of rebel soldiers on his own.  He is surrounded by dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of enemy combatants and he doesn’t even flinch.  This is the Darth Vader you’ve always wanted to see, trust me.  I’ve never felt so good about rooting for the bad guy!

And while this prolonged conflict is worth the price of the book alone, there is much more going on in it besides Vader’s impossible fight.  Luke must battle a murderous protocol droid as well as his astromech partner who is somehow even more bloodthirsty.  Both are in service to Vader, by the way.  The two droids are accompanied by Dr. Aphra, a standout character new to the mythos and also dedicated to Vader’s cause.  She tussles with Han Solo, and you’ll love the steps they take to try to defeat each other.  Finally, Princess Leia ultimately faces down Vader herself; neither realize the implications of their confrontation.

This book is nonstop action with great sequences that will delight any Star Wars fan.  Though it features different artists due to the nature of the crossover, the pencils, inks, and colors are beautiful to behold.  Both writers capture that distinct Star Wars humor, deliver an epic story, and keep each and every character true to their roots.

I have thoroughly enjoyed both the Star Wars and Darth Vader comic book series, and this crossover between the two should be considered an instant classic.

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