Darth Vader #11

Darth Vader #11

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Adi Granov

Darth Vader #11 continues to backtrack along Aphra’s tale as she returns to the Ante for more information. Having already obtained the confirmation she was looking for in regards to Luke’s parents, she’s now after his current whereabouts. Luckily for her, the Ante knows. Unluckily for her, Thanoth is hot on her tail with Vader in tow. In no position to let Aphra be taken alive, Vader is put into a tough spot, but it’s even tougher for Aphra.

On The Spire in Anthan Prime, Aphra returns to have another expensive chat with the information broker known as the Ante. The Givin drives a hard bargain, but he gives Aphra the information she’s looking for. Of all places, Luke is on some planet called Vrogas Vas. With this info in hand, she’s ready to return to her master, unfortunately he’s already on The Spire and he’s leading a strike force with Inspector Thanoth. Like all the others before, the Ante meets an unfortunate end, but of greater surprise is what befalls Aphra. When put on the spot, Vader does what he does best: Force choke.

The comic pulls off a strong story. Things are amping up as the chase comes to a close. Thanoth is just about at the end of his trail now, for better or worse. How he plans to deal with Vader in the next issue is very good question. Most likely we’ll see the return of some of the Emperor’s second run goons as they try to dispatch Lord Vader. Thanoth being the diehard that he is will probably die in service to his Empire. But who knows, maybe there will be some surprises.

On the other hand, the storyline between Aphra and Vader is getting interesting. She’s already confirmed that Luke is his son, and now she has his current location. But that may be her last trump card. With Luke in hand, what further use does Vader have for her? And just how willing is Aphra to meet her fate? Will she simply let Vader do the inevitable and strike her down, or will she put up a fight? In this issue, we don’t see the conclusion to that plot thread, but we certainly see the first steps of the journey. Serving Vader is no longer some fun adventure for Aphra. It’s now become life and death. The fun and games are over.

Speaking of games, this was one of my favorite pages in the book and I couldn’t help but notice how it felt like an old side-scroller video game. It’s a bold move artistically because of how 2D oriented it is. Most artwork in comics strives to feel three dimensional and immersive, but this one ditches that and instead goes for action. You can really feel the action as these panels progress, and the wide shots are necessary to show the corridor, to emphasize Aphra’s running toward the door and her escape. While it could have been done differently, this way works and it’s kind of fun.

The only weak spot in this issue is the artwork. Overall it’s pretty good, but it’s not the strongest it’s been in the series. There’s still a great expression to the characters, good layouts that are easy to follow and add excitement to the action, plus fun closeups and dramatic perspectives. But there’s just a little nagging sense of quality that seems a tad bit lower than usual. It’s very minor and not really a negative, but it does hold the comic back from greatness.

When it all comes down to it, Darth Vader #11 is putting all its cards on the table for what feels like a climatic conclusion to the Thanoth investigation. Vader has to cleanup this loose end before he can continue his own hunt for Luke. He also has to deal with all those Emperor Hand wannabes, which could mean there’s still a future use for Aphra. She has proven useful to Vader, after all, and it’s not like he has any friends. Regardless of where the series goes, Kieron Gillen has me hooked, and for that I give this issue a five out of five.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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