Darth Vader #15

Book III Part I

The Shu-Torun War

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Writer: Kieron Gillen

Artist: Salvador Larroca

Colors: Edgar Delgado

Letterer: VC’s Joe Carmagna

Cover: Mark Brooks

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Once again the Dark Lord of the Sith is dealing with the challenges his master Lord
Sidious has given him to ensure he is worthy to retain his station as the Emporer’s
chief enforcer.

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We open this issue with Vader returning to Coruscant to meet with Emporer
Palpatine. Where he gives his master a gift of the corpse of Karbin, one of the would
be rivals and mon-cala grievous fan boy. Palpatine isn’t phased of course because I suspect he kind of expected Vader to beat this chump. So Palpatine gives him a new
assignment on the mining world of Shu-Torun. Those of you who read Darth Vader Annual #1 or read my review of it know this was the planet featured in that issue.

The timeline may be a little confusing but since we know the annual takes place prior to the events of Vader Down because Vader’s Tie Advanced X1 was destroyed in the Vader Down cross over we assume a few weeks or months has passed since Vader
and the assassin droids had to wipe the Royal house of Shu-Torun nearly clean.
Leaving only the lone daughter Trios to ascend from the second born daughter of the
king to Queen of the world.

 

Anyways the mining barons are in full revolt and Palpatine wants a show of force to
quell the uprising. Vader takes a legion of troops to the planet to handle the situation,
Queen Trios for her own sake is trying to show her people she’ll fight against the revolt
personally. Even against Vader’s advice, saying it would be an annoyance to have to
replace her if she falls in combat since it was he who made her Queen by slaying her
family in the first place. We as the readers learn this as Vader and his troops are
pushing in on an ancestrial minining citadel deep below Shu-Torun’s crust. While he
and the magna-troopers (yes the same ones from the Sullust maps on Battlefront)
attack they are having a tough time pushing forward against the citadel’s defenses. Or
so Queen Trios believes. After a few losses the Void-Gazer, whom we assume with be
Vader’s new rival in this upcoming arc reports to Vader and tells him her droid bombs
are now in place. The frontal assault was a diversion to allow her access to the flanks
and get her droid charges in place.

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With the notice she was read Vader orders their detonation and the droid bombs
explode near the top of the cavern allowing the hot magma that fills the planet’s
innards to pour down onto the citadel reducing its rebellious occupants to a pile of
melted rock in a matter of moments. Personally I liked the scene, seeing an AT-AT
and ground troops assault even in futility was something we never got a grand scale in
the OT, not until Attack of the Clones did we see the mass troops assault defensive
positions and even then Lucas would cut away from the chaos of battle for more static
vanilla dialogue from the commanders… Saving Private Ryan’s opening scene on
Omaha is what I always wished we’d see in an OT setting… and while not the same
here it was worth it.

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When area is under control Vader and Queen Trios return to her palace. Here is where
I loooove Larroca’s work on the lavish and elegant surroundings of a royal palcace with
fine furniture and statues. I personally don’t care for any of it in real life but I love the
way wealth is portrayed by the powerful in comics. Waiting for the pair is Cylo-5err6?
the Greedo-eye dude that’s in control of Vaders “rivals”. He’s waiting with the blonde
pair of twin lightsaber users who are more destructive then successful. They go over a
future plan to use the same attack against other mining barons on the planet should
they stay in revolt.

After a small verbal altercation between them Queen Trios speaks with Vader privately
and he lets her know he’s in command and there is no other way it will be. After Trios
realizes she’s not getting out from under the Empire’s grasp on her planet anytime
soon she agrees to Vader’s wishes and leaves. While Triple-Zero and Bett-tee meet
with Vader next to his meditation chamber and let him know the group of people
Vader has apparently set up prior to this seen has assembled for his transmission.

The final two pages are very, eyecatching. The group appears in a small holo-
projection while Vader reminds Triple-Zero not to allow them to know his identity. The
group assembled at Vader’s request is a motley crew of faces that I believe we all
recognize. Bountyhunters, not just some random jabrone’s either. Some heavy hitters
in the group to.

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We have the short dwarven looking mando-mask wearing hunter from
much earlier in the series around issue 5 or 6, along with him is the red IG-88 (IG-2k?)
I forget his name but he was in the same issues as the dwarf, as was Black
Krrsantan the Wookie bounty hunter who’s become a regular in both Darth Vader and
Star Wars lines now. Between the droid and the Wookie is the helmet of a hunter that
I can only say looks similar to the female hunter named Chanath Cha, she was
prominent in the Lando series and a friend of he and Lobot. The final three of hunters
in the group (thats a total of 7 if your counting) is a funky-awesome 20’s Metropolis
looking droid and then a pair of the heavy hitting favorites, the insect headed Zuckuss
and walking Band-aid commercial Dengar (Dengar’s 2nd appearence in the new canon
btw!).

Vader’s put out a sizeable bounty for his captured minion and one day mother of his
future children Dr. Aphra. The hunters ask him if he wants her brought in dead or alive
and he in the cold way he always is lets them know “It is of no matter to me.” … with
a small hologram of Aphra’s back profile (ahem) in the final panel.

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So thoughts on the issue are very positive I loved the assault at the beginning even
though it was short lived. I LOOOVED the high political backstabbing and manuvering
with Cylo-5 and Queen Trios and finally I loved that Vader want’s Aphra back..
hopefully not to kill her.

I have to say over all it’s already shaping up to be an awesome arc by Gillen and I’m
sure Larroca will execute it beautifully. Giving the issue 8.5 of 10 thermal grenades.

-Rez

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