Four Letter Nerd

Tag - Mike Deodato

4LN Saturday Morning Review: Star Wars #13

Series: Star Wars
Written by: Jason Aaron
Art by: Mike Deodato Jr.
Publisher: Marvel

Summary for Comixology: “Bringing together the smash-hit Star Wars and Darth Vader series! Leia comes face to face with true evil!”


Warning: If you haven’t been keeping up with the Vader Down crossover event then this review will contain some spoilers – not for this issue, but for those that came before it.

We have seen some pretty awesome things thus far in the first two issues of the Vader Down crossover event.  In the early issues, Darth Vader decimated an entire squadron of X-Wings, destroyed Y-Wings with nothing but the Force and a few boulders, and uttered some of the most epic lines Star Wars has seen.  The last issue, Darth Vader 13, ended with a Wampa-sized cliffhanger as 000, the murderous Threepio doppelganger, and his equally-as-murderous astromech counterpart, attempt to capture Luke Skywalker.  Meanwhile, Vader is laying waste to scores of Rebel troopers, but Leia is on her way with reinforcements, leaving Han to rescue Skywalker alone.


Obviously, there is a lot happening in this event right now.  One thing I love about Aaron and Gillen is that they are great writers who can take a story that has the chance to become muddied by all of the things unfolding and orchestrate it in such a way to make it not only understandable, but enjoyable.  When Aphra and her psychopathic droids are trying to capture Luke I was on the edge of my seat, and the last page of this issue, which features Vader, is a real jaw-dropper.  We also finally  get to see something that I know I have been waiting to see since Star Wars: A New Hope and it is glorious, but I don’t want to spoil it for you so I can’t talk about it.

Aaron is just a great writer.  His is able to capture the tone of the Star Wars saga and make it feel true to form, and that’s saying something.  There are a lot of Expanded Universe (also known as the literature-formerly-known-as-canon-sort-of) that just feel off – like they are trying to cram as many references in as they can – and it doesn’t make for good reading.  Aaron, on the other hand, does a great job of matching the characters to their dialogue (Han talks like Han, Luke talks like Luke etc), but he goes beyond that and adds depth to the characters and pays homage to the films without getting campy about it.  For instance, there’s this great running joke that centers on 000 disguised as Threepio that made me laugh several times throughout the book.


The artist, Mike Deodato Jr., is equally brilliant.  The facial expressions he is able to create, especially with Han, are spot on, and his art is terrific.  I never would’ve thought a protocol droid could be frightening, but there are some silhouettes of 000 with red, glowing eyes that are intimidating… which I guess makes sense, since he is fond of wanton murder.

So where does that leave us? How about halfway through a 6 issue leviathan of a series.  I am not generally a big fan of crossover events.  Vader Down makes it a little easier because I was already getting Star Wars and Darth Vader, so the only extra book I had to purchase was Vader Down #1, which kicked off the series.  It’s also a little different because it doesn’t feel like it isn’t needed.  Some events just feel so unnecessary, but Vader Down adds some really interesting narrative to the ever-growing canon.  Plus it shows that Vader is a force to be reckoned with, even when stranded all alone on a desolate planet surrounded  by nothing by Rebel soldiers, which is worth the price of admission all by itself.  Oh, and R2-D2’s evil twin looks like this:


Music Pairing-

I double-dog dare you.

4LN Saturday Morning Review: Vader Down #1

Series: Vader Down
Written by: Jason Aaron
Art by: Mike Deodato
Publisher: Marvel

Summary from Comixology: “When Darth Vader accidentally finds himself facing off against the Rebel Fleet on his own, the rebels will learn the true strength of the Dark Side of the Force! Once Vader crashes on a nearby planet, the Rebellion is willing to risk everything for this once-in-a-lifetime chance to take out one of their biggest enemies! Luke! Vader! Leia! Aphra! Han! Chewie! And all manner of Droid, good and evil!”


Vader Down is a crossover event I can get behind.  Star Wars and Darth Vader have both been spectacular thus far, and Vader Down, written by Star Wars scribe Jason Aaron, is no exception.  This book fires on both ion engines and goes from zero to TIE Fighter shrieking in no time at all.  The fight between Vader and the X-Wing squadron was enthralling the entire time.  It’s neat to see Vader’s piloting skills from his Anakin Skywalker days come back in full force (unless you are a Rebel pilot), and when they finally confront him on the planet of Vrogas Vos, Vader throws out one of the most badass one-liners in the Star Wars franchise.  This book sets out to prove that Vader is not to be trifled with even if you have an army at your back.

Jason Aaron is one of the best writers in comics, and Vader Down proves it.  All of the different comics have been fantastic so far, but this might be the single greatest book of the new Disney/Star Wars era.  The story, from beginning to end, was a page-turning, edge-of-your-seat showdown featuring a woefully outnumbered Vader who unleashes hell on his would-be captors.  The dialogue felt genuine, and I loved all the comm chatter between the X-Wing squadron.  It felt exactly like the A New Hope Death Star attack.


Equally as impressive (most impressive) was Mike Deodato’s art.  There were several pages that made my jaw drop from sheer amazement.  When Vader enters the Vrogas Vos system there is a full page spread (shown above) that is some of the coolest Star Wars art I’ve ever seen anywhere this side of the Ralph McQuarrie concept art for the original films.  The book costs $4.99 and even if the amazing story wasn’t there it would still be worth it.

Do your inner Star Wars nerd a favor and get this book.  Everything about it was fun and engaging.  If you want to see Vader unleash on a group of Rebels, it’s time to buckle up and enjoy the drive.


Music Pairing –
Well, you know…