Howdy! In case you didn’t hear the news, the Darth Vader series is on it’s way out. I was bummed when I heard this. This series has by no means been perfect, but it’s been very good. Anything with Vader usually gets Star Wars fans eager to consume. On the one hand of disappointment, the other hand is that Vader’s always been a mysterious kind of character. Between this series, Lords of the Sith, and his cameos this past season of Rebels; maybe the Story Group decided to pull back. Darth Vader #21 starts the countdown to the finale. SPOILERS AHEAD.
When we last left Vader, he was eager to get hot on the trail of Cylo and the other cyborgs. In an interesting opening to the issue, Vader is talking with one of the engineers who helped build the Death Star, as well helped out with Cylo in his cyborg construction. Vader suspects the lowly engineer is aware of where Cylo might be hiding. His intuitions are correct and Vader sets out for the Crushank Nebulae.
The Cylo hideout is located and Vader calls for reinforcements. He’s clearly had enough of Cylo and puts out that the cat and mouse game is over. Vader is very well aware he has become the cat in the game, especially since the Executor is on it’s way to back him up.
Triple Zero and Bee Tee have caught up with Doctor Aphra, who is doing her best to get lost in the Outer Rim. She’s taken a liking to a certain tavern, where she downs shots of some nefarious liquor to pass the time. It’s a different, somewhat desperate version of the character we are seeing here. Aphra is lost in a galaxy torn into two sides, the Empire or the Rebellion, and she has made enemies of them both. Artists Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado did a great job in showing how run down Aphra feels while she tries to barter spare droid parts for a drink.
Triple Zero and Bee Tee have little patience and manage to put holes in the little watering hole that has become Aphra’s haven of self-medicating. They capture Aphra and set off to deliver her to Vader. Personally, I’m kind of getting sick of these droids. In my opinion, too many pages have been handed to these droids, and with the Vader series winding down, I would like a lot less of these two droids. I’m just done with cyborgs and droids. Had to say it, now let’s move on.
Well, well…turns out Vader wasn’t the only one scheming to overthrow the Emperor and take control of the Empire himself. Cylo just got a lot more interesting to me with this small frame. Here goes my crazy theory: Cylo knows Snoke. That’s right, I went there. If you follow Pablo Hidalgo on Twitter, you will no doubt see he is sent every wild theory about Snoke on a daily basis. We all have our Snoke theories, but this is a new one for me. I’m not saying Snoke is a cyborg or that Cylo is Snoke, but I have a sense the two know each other. This would be very cool if the Lucasfilm Story Group is setting the stage for who might have known Snoke back in the Original Trilogy-era. The biggest detail that raised my eyebrow was the nebula Cylo hid in. From canon literature, we know the First Order was born out of the last remnants of the Empire hiding in a nebula and quietly rebuilding their forces. I don’t know, but something just tells me Snoke has something to do with Cylo. Okay, I’ll stop now, but let’s keep our eyes out for clues that may connect the two. I’m not saying they are going to reveal Snoke’s story here in the comics, but maybe by the time Episode VIII is over we will be able to see some connections. Just sayin’.
Big props to Salvador Larocca and Edgar Delgado on the artwork in this issue. The arrival of Vader and his forces starts off a pretty cool skirmish. I had forgotten that Cylo’s ship was a cyborg itself. As you can see, Cylo had little trouble dealing with a Star Destroyer. Unfortunately for him, one of the best pilots in the galaxy managed to blast his way on board the ship, and his lightsaber managed to make it with him. When Darth Vader boards a ship it never ends well.
Looks like Vader has another admirer, only this one wants a shot at taking the Dark Lord out. Cylo has an answer for everything and I got a feeling this might be the one to give Vader a run for his money.
Cyborgs come in all sizes. Turns out our blue-goggled friend had a “pet” she thought might be worth watching go toe to toe with Vader. You are seeing that right…it’s a cyborg rancor. Friends, we are very close to jumping the shark here. Despite how awesome this looks on paper, I feel like these elaborate, James Bond villain-esque battles Vader ends up in really slow down the story. Yes, I know it wouldn’t be much fun to see Vader casually stroll to the bridge of the ship and put Cylo down, but I imagine a bulk of the next issue is going to deal with Vader dispensing of this monster, which takes up valuable space that could be devoted to the story. We’ll see, but I want more story, less explosions.
Overall, this issue was pretty good. I certainly enjoyed the first half of the issue. My complaints are minor in the scheme of things and I still have faith that Kieron Gillen will deliver a satisfying pay-off from all the twists and turns this series has taken. If you’ve been reading up to this point there’s no reason to skip this issue. Marvel’s Darth Vader is winding down, so you might as well enjoy the ride while you still can.