Darth Vader #12 Shadows and Secrets

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Book II, Part VI

Writer: Kieron Gillen

Pencils/Inks: Salvador Larroca

Colors: Edgar Delgado

Letters: VC’s Joe Carmagna

Cover: Larroca, Delgado


We return to the Dark Side this issue with Lord Vader doing a lot of talking. Some say they hate comics that talk a lot and don’t have much action… or have characters that don’t somehow always have a connection to other established characters like Lucas tried to do with the prequels… Those people probably don’t like Darth Vader as a series… then… and good. We don’t like them either.

Darth Vader isn’t a comic like most nor should it be. Having the Dark Lord of the Sith go hunting every issue would just lead to boring action scenes since we know how they’ll usually end up since we know the future timeline. Hence why I like this issue the best of all the Star Wars series… little to know action. Lots of cloak and dagger stuff with a cast of fiends… ahhh… my people.


We open this issue right where we left off last issue with my future wife Dr. Aphra trapped in an ion cloud trying to avoid capture by an Imperial blockade. She only got that far in avoiding the imperial raid on the Spire from last issue by Vader’s good graces in allowing her to escape when she told him he knew where this young pilot that he was looking for was. This young pilot who destroyed the Death Star that is.


Aphra’s in a bad place when finally Vader tells Thanoth (remember the Sherlocke Holmes guy) that they are wasting time and material after this thief Aphra when they knew the location of the local Rebel cell, the Plasma Devils. Thanoth agrees that it’d be better to hunt them then to keep trying after the woman who they think stole the imperial seized currency a few issues back.


So Vader and Thanoth plan a strategy for entering the Plasma Devil’s hideout. It’s inside some caves on nearby Anthan 1. Thanoth think’s it’ll be difficult to snare them because if the Plasma Devils make a run for it the gaseous atmosphere could provide cover for them to escape when flushed out. Vader of course tells him not to worry and only focus on the Western cave entrances…. he’ll take the East. He does to with awesome villain like abilities. When the Devil’s make a run for it Vader is waiting. It implies he takes care of them as they clear the cave systems but not a lot of action.


Later Vader and Thanoth report back to Tagge, yep Grand General Tagge from the first issues of the series. Thats what I like about this series like the Emperor’s other rivals for Vader we often don’t see any of them for decent periods of time but knowing they are in the background working against our protragonist in this case Vader helps to the depth of the comic and makes the cloak and dagger with a sprinkle of treachory work really well for the series.

Tagge is disappointed the woman thief escaped but glad the Plasma Devils have been dealt with now. Thanoth was about to apologize for the thief’s escape and take the blame but Vader intervenes. Perhaps to keep the heat off of Aphra… or perhaps Vader does what Vader does and mans up to the situation. Which is something I can say about Vader’s character in nearly every medium unless he’s the creator of said deceit¬†against someone he mans up for mistakes.

Eventually we flash to Aphra waiting for Vader at the usual meeting spot. Vader arrives and says he’s surprised she showed after he nearly had to force choke her to death when the Spire was raided and fell. She tells him the pilot is on Vrogas Vas, that she thinks a hidden jedi temple was there. Vader waves off the idea saying there was no such record of one. He does let Aphra know it was wise to return and not make him hunt for her… very wise for her health indeed. Then he parts ways with her on his… sighs… parked Tie Advanced 1X….parked on their wings like in Rebels…blah. (I’ve said my piece on this i’ll let it go)


As he leaves we see through a holo-view’s lens someone was spying on the meeting. We knew from a previous issue that someone was spying on Vader and Aphra’s little rendezvous and myself and many others assumed it was Thanoth. As he was very inquisitive and good at tracking clues. Along with the more then hinting dialogue he was given towards Vader we all assumed it…. hah! Wrong. Hence why this is comic is Darth Vader and not the main Star Wars title. It was one of the evil X-Force guys, the Mon Cala with a grievous-like body. He’s planning a trap for the Dark Lord to remove him from being a rival to the emporer’s favor. A trap we assume that will start with the VADER DOWN crossover… Jason Aaron hear me now… you deflower my baby Aphra and don’t do her the justice Gillen has and I’ll … I’ll… something!

All I can say is … wow. Almost no action and I was glued to every page.. thank you Kieron Gillen… thank you for understanding a good plot twist doesn’t need to be epic and fat altering… but subtle and important to a story none the less. The only gripe i have in the issue at all is that some of the art looked a little rushed. the Y-Wing from the Plasma Devil’s looked blocky in one panel but considering Larocca’s been doing this title for 12 straight issues, I’m sure his fingers are about to fall off so I more then forgive some rougher images and panels. Colors were awesome with harsh blacks during the Aphra meeting and the florescent blue of the holograms is a personal fave of mine…. I will definitely be picking up the crossover next week Vader Down#1 with more glued eyeballs to pages!