Four Letter Nerd

Tag - the force awakens

4LN Comic Review: Darth Vader #13

Series: Darth Vader
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado

Overview from Comixology: “The first crossover of Star Wars’ new Marvel age continues here! Vader vs. all the Rebels…it’s not a fair fight!”

This is part two of the 6 part crossover event, Vader Down, and my God is it off to a great start. If you haven’t read Vader Down #1, you are really missing out. To fully appreciate this issue, it’s mandatory that you read Vader Down #1. I mean, why read a crossover event and skip the first issue? This issue is a blast, and one of the fastest reads that I have ran across in a long time. The issue starts with Vader just slaughtering Rebel scum, and I can’t think of a better way to start a comic. From beginning to end, this issue is full of action and suspense, and I can’t stress how quick of a read it was. And that’s not a bad thing, so much was happening that the issue flew by like the Millennium Falcon doing the Kessel Run (I know that was cringy. I couldn’t help it.)

I personally think that Darth Vader is the best Star Wars book being published right now, and this has nothing to do with the fact that I have a Darth Vader tattoo, it’s just the most badass of the Star Wars books. I mean, who doesn’t like reading and watching Vader do secret mission and hunt down the terrorist known as the Rebel Alliance? I think Kieron Gillen does a fantastic job at capturing the feel of Vader, and I honestly can’t think of a writer who could do as well as he has on this book. Not only does he capture the feel of Vader, but he also brings Solo and Leia to the page in a great way.

When it comes to the fight scenes, and action in this issue, Salvador Larroca does a great job making you feel like you are actually in the middle of the firefight, and the use of reds and oranges makes the tone much darker and more warlike. It’s awesome seeing Darth Vader in hand to hand combat with an entire battalion of rebel soldiers. And, just like in Vader Down #1, Darth is just full of amazing quotes, and one liners from Vader. I am also extremely curious to see if anything comes from the Jedi temple that Luke found on the planet of Vrogas Vos. I hope in one issue of the crossover, either Luke or Vader will explore the ruins.


If you are a fan of Star Wars, and can’t seem to get a big enough fix before The Force Awakens comes out, then you need to do yourself a favor pick up Vader Down #1, and Darth Vader #13. You’ll get some badass Darth Vader, awesome Star Wars action, and you’ll get to experience what maybe the best crossover event of the year. Come back next week for our review of Star Wars #13, which will be the third part of Vader Down. And, let us know what you think of this issue in the comments below.

Music Pairing:
John Williams Imperial Death March, duh.


The Fan Awakens: How The Force Awakens Rekindled My Passion for Star Wars

I was born in 1988 so I didn’t see the Original Trilogy in theaters until they were re-released when I was 9.  Before then I had seen them occasionally on TV, but my parents weren’t huge fans or anything (my dad is more of an Indiana Jones man).  After seeing the movies I became obsessed and absorbed as much of Star Wars as I could get my hands on, got an X-Wing tattoo on my back, and currently have more Star Wars t-shirts in my closet than anything else.


After I graduated college, where I double minored in Star Wars Battlefront II and Super Smash Bros, real life kind of got in the way of my obsession.  I got married (she is also a fan of Star Wars), got a job working in a cubicle, bought a house, had kids etc. When Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens was announced a long time ago, I was pretty stoked, but my excitement was tempered by what I saw as adult sensibilities and other hobbies.  That’s not to say I was no longer a fan (I still loved the Wars), but the fire wasn’t burning quite as bright as it did when I was younger.

Over the last few months, however, things have subtly ratcheted up.  I didn’t even really realize it at first, but I was slowly falling back in love.  It’s like when you are in a long-term relationship and realize you have been taking the significant other for granted for the past few months and realize just how great they really are.  Or, if that’s too sappy, it’s like when you haven’t played an old Sega Genesis or N64 game in a few years, and when you finally dust off your old system and plug that cartridge in again you are immediately transported back to your childhood (but be warned, those games are still insanely difficult).

It all started in January when Marvel Comics launched a slew of Star Wars comics, which have all been absolutely great.  Star Wars by Jason Aaron focuses on what Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie and the droids are up to immediately after the destruction of the first Death Star.  Darth Vader gives us the opposite side of the coin, showing us what Darth Vader is doing to locate the rebel pilot responsible for his failure and fall from grace in the eyes of the Emperor.  Princess Leia is a 5-issue miniseries that follows the Leia as she rallies the remaining Alderaanians after the Death Star destroyed their home-world.  These books, along with Kanan, Lando, and Shattered Empire have all been top notch and have provided interesting insight into what’s going on in the Star Wars universe.

Star Wars #1 by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday

Star Wars #1 by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday

During this time I also subscribed to Scribd which just happened to have all of the new canonical Star Wars novels, which provides backstory on Kanan and Hera from Star Wars: Rebels (Star Wars: A New Dawn), a book about Grand Moff Tarkin’s rise to power (the aptly named Tarkin), a Clone Wars era story about Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos (Dark Disciple), a story about the Emperor and Darth Vader stranded on a hostile planet (Lords of the Sith), a book about Luke Skywalker (Heir to the Jedi), and, most recently, a book that takes place after Return of the Jedi that follows a small band of previously-known-as-Rebels (still not sure what to call them) as they learn of a secret meeting of fractured Imperials in Aftermath.  I went through all of these books in a two month span, and then read Smuggler’s Run and The Weapon of a Jedi last week, which are two of the three young reader novels released on Force Friday.  Now I am reading Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays, which is a word for word script of the Original Trilogy that intersperses stories about how the different drafts changed over time – such as Han Solo being a big green monster – and also includes interviews with the Maker (George Lucas) and several others involved with the making of the films.  Also, I just picked up a young adult book titled The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy, which is a retelling of A New Hope that focuses specifically on Leia, Han and Luke.


That stupidly long and mostly italicized paragraph shows just how much I’ve fallen down the Star Wars rabbit hole (hyperspace lane?) throughout 2015.  I’ve always loved Star Wars, but over the last half decade I went from actively seeking every tidbit of information (which is impossible due to the sheer vastness of information available) to just watching the movies occasionally and resting on my laurels.  I would still occasionally get accused of cheating at Star Wars Trivial Pursuit, but it got just a little bit harder to beat people each time.

My point is this: sometimes there are things that just stick with you like they are part of the makeup of who you are.  Like in most relationships, the passion can ebb and flow, but something can happen to bring back all of that childhood wonder before you even realize what’s happening.  Sure, there is still a chance that The Force Awakens will be terrible, but it has already done something for me that I appreciate regardless of whether it is good or not.  The announcement of Episode VII The Force Awakens awoke a passion in me that had been sort of dormant for the last few years.  It started small with a book here and there, but over these last few months I have completely immersed myself in the Star Wars universe and its nice to experience the joy and wonder I did when I first walked out of the theater in 1997.