SWNN Review: Marvel’s Darth Vader #19
• The SHU-TORUN WAR concludes!
• Will Vader bring the Ore Barons in line?
• Or will Cylo and his warriors show the Dark Lord how it’s done?
This is the last installment of Shu-Torun War arc. Vader’s mission was to quell the uprising of ore barons on the planet and help Queen Trios to uphold her rule over Shu-Torun for the Empire. It was the interesting little side story that gave us another interesting female character and demonstrated Vader’s methods. Short, but sweet, it didn’t overstay its welcome.
Story by Kieron Gillen
Art by Salvador Larroca
Colors by Edgar Delgado
Cover by Marc Brooks
The issue opens with Triple-Zero giving a rousing speech to the droids who are about to fight the forces of rebelling barons. As you can imagine, the protocol/torture droid has a way with words that has a desired effect on their enemies.
In the meantime, Vader is dueling cyber-twins, Aiolin and Morit Astarte. Things, naturally, don’t go well for them and, while Aiolin plans escape, Morit plans treachery.
Aiolin takes a lava bath, something Vader has experience with. He saves her from the lava, but that is not mercy. He wants information and he gets confirmation of Cylo’s betrayal. At least he grants Aiolin fast death.
On return to his forces, he finds that the enemy has surrendered to “blood sucking droids” and that Queen Trios initiated attack without imperial support. Baron Rubix is cornered when Vader arrives in spite of Cylo’s promises only to learn that the cyborg scientist has left the planet.
It seems that Queen Trios has learned a thing or two from her imperial overlord. She executes Rubix and instates his youngest daughter to his position because the youngest child is easier to manipulate. O, the irony!
The victory is complete and Vader delivers report about it to the Emperor including Cylo’s betrayal. He and his creations are on the run. The Emperor invites Vader to return to Corusant saying that it is time for him to explain everything. Is Vader back in Palpatine’s good graces? We’ll see.
The droids inform Vader that Aphra was found, but the person who found her does not require reward. The mysterious person is Inspector Thanoth. He will lead us into the next arc – End of Games.
Shu-Torun War was a short story arc, which was interesting because we rarely have the opportunity to see Vader at work. You have to imagine that, besides from hunting down the surviving Jedi, these kinds of missions were Vader’s job. It shows Vader’s determination, single-mindedness, power and casual cruelty, not to mention a perverse sense of fairness. As I said, the story arc also gave us another interesting female character in Queen Trios. She is smart, quick learner and survivor. While she works for the Empire, she still cares for her people. She kills the mutinied barons so Vader wouldn’t do it, because he would probably exterminate their houses. This way their blood lines survive.
Gillen infused the issue with his brand of dark humor through Triple Zero and BT-1, but also occasionally through Vader’s dry remarks. While I always hear James Earl Jones in my head, I swear Gillen allows Anakin’s former personality to peak for a moment or two. I always liked Larroca’s art, especially when he draws Vader’s movement and poses. Combined, these two give the faceless Vader a lot of range which is incredible.
It might be that the arc gave us another thing I was praying for. With Cylo and his cyborgs on the run, it might be that we won’t see them for a while. I really, really hope so. Because Shu-Torun War didn’t exactly push Vader’s overall arc too much and we have to slowly get to Vader from the Empire Strikes Back – the strategist and the planner, though we certainly see that personality emerging. Thanoth is definitively a better foil for Vader than cyber-freaks. It will be very interesting to see what is his game.
If you aren’t reading Darth Vader comic and you would like a taste of it, this might be a good arc to try. It is only four issues and it’s fairy self-contained. The completists might also want to read Darth Vader Annual #1 as it serves as the prequel for this story, but it isn’t necessary.
COMING NEXT: Darth Vader #20 – End of Games
A New Story Starts Now! “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!
Happy reading! 🙂