Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colors: Edgar Delgado
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover: Mark Brooks
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Darth Vader #16 showcases much about what has made this series such a success, but also the continuous challenges this and all the Star Wars books have faced since they debuted. Crafting stories that have any sort of a lingering impact is nearly impossible when the large majority of your story takes place in between two of the most iconic films of all time. When it comes to major cross over events, like we had with “Vader Down”, the question becomes what effects will take place once all the dust settles. With these Star Wars books it becomes a juggling act to showcase that effect but not change things enough to mess with the continuity of the films.
Kieron Gillen does use the fallout of “Vader Down” as an opportunity for a wonderful character moment as Vader haphazardly reveals the lifeless body of General Karbin to The Emperor. The dismissive manner in which Vader went about exposing his partial rebellion reminded me of just how much Gillen has a hold of his character. Even when this series has struggled to find its footing the character of Vader has always been a highlight. Darth Vader has long been one of the most iconic villains of all time. What this series has done is show us just how much of a badass Vader can truly be, and why so many would tremble at the simple mention of him.
From a story standpoint there is not much here beyond transitioning us to the next big mission The Emperor has for Vader. Once again it is all about crushing the rebel scum. I am glad to see the events in the Star Wars: Darth Vader annual are not being totally forgotten as the planet Shu-Torin is now in full fledged rebellion. Watching Darth Vader work along other Planet Dignitaries is rather surreal. It is almost humorous in the way he treats future rulers of planets as pawns in this galactic game of chess. It is not that Vader sees himself as King of this game as the others are not good enough to share the same board has him.
Art wise Salvador Larroca is as consistent as always. It is not overly wrought with detail and even when it comes to a character like The Emperor he does not get bogged down in trying to redener him with movie like detail. Mark Brooks’ cover may be my favorite of the series so far. What it lacks in creativity it makes up for in sheer beauty.
Overall Darth Vader #16 is light on story, but makes up for it enough with a number of standout character beats. While the ending provides an intriguing cliffhanger, it does have me concerned we are traveling down the same territory as the last arc just with a different target.