Series: Darth Vader
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca, with Edgar Delgado on Colors
Summary from Comixology – “New Story Arc! “END OF GAMES” begins this issue! Inspector Thanoth returns with some startling information. Vader may have passed his master’s tests…but will his own schemes prove his undoing? PLUS: A bonus tale of Triple-Zero and Beetee!”
Marvel’s STAR WARS titles have, for the most part, been phenomenal, with STAR WARS and DARTH VADER being the best of the bunch. Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca continue the streak with issue #20, which kicks off the “End of Games” story-line.
When I initially started reading this issue, I wasn’t planning on writing a review of it, but I just loved it. There were so many reasons fans of STAR WARS might be interested in this issue, even if they haven’t been reading this series regularly. First and foremost, we get to see the Super Star Destroyer “The Executor” under construction at the Kuat Drive Yards, which is Darth Vader’s capital ship as seen in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. I’m not going to lie, I nerded out for a while staring at that panel. I mean, Larroca’s artwork on that two-page spread was worth the price of admission alone.
Most of the issue is centered on a one-sided conversation between Darth Vader and Emperor Sheev Palpatine. Sheev details how he rose to power and purged the galaxy of weakness, destroyed the Jedi, and how he forced a traitor to overplay their hand in order for Vader to cut him down. Despite having very little action (other than the short story in the back, which I will get into later) Gillen, and the rest of the creative team, are so good they make a conversation about political subterfuge entertaining.
I was also really impressed with Larroca’s ability to depict the Emperor’s most popular, facial expressions. The way his piercing eyes stood in contrast to his simple, black robes was unnerving, and there were several expressions that were pulled right out of the films. Oh, and if you are a fan of Triple Zero and Beetee, this issue includes a solo story featuring the two murderbots as well. It’s always fun to see Triple Zero and Beetee since they are the antithesis of of Threepio and Artoo.
This issue was one of the best issues in Marvel’s modern STAR WARS titles. Despite having almost no action, and practically running solely on dialog, I loved every second of it. Gillen and Larroca make a great team, and they get it. They aren’t heavy handed with their references, but add just enough to keep STAR WARS devotees excited. Make sure you pick this issue up. It’s not imperative that you read issues 1-19 to understand what’s going on, and it just might make a believer out of you.