Star Wars #14

Star Wars #14 (Vader Down Part 5 of 6)

Writer: Jason Aaron
Story By: Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen
Artist: Mike Deodato
Colorist: Frank Martin Jr.
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Artist: Mark Brooks

“This is not a war, princess. Wars are for lesser men than the Emperor and myself. This is a series of executions. And yours is long overdue.” -Darth Vader

Star Wars #14 brings the Vader Down series one step closer to the end as the action picks up and everyone is in battle. Vader faces off against Karbin amongst the ghosts of the past. Chewbacca and Krrsantan pummel each other in a Wookiee rumble. Luke gets surrounded and captured while Leia makes a move of her own. Surprisingly, all the moving parts work pretty well together.

Leia looking mean and…ugly? It is a little off putting, partly because of the photorealistic quality they’re trying, but failing, to capture.

Shadowtroopers! Honestly, what’s with all the shadows on the stormtroopers? Is the sun setting?

Starting off with the bad, the artwork in this issue is pretty much subpar. The colors and lighting is very subdued. It makes the story feel dark, but not really in a good way. Instead, it’s like the dull colors and shadows are used to hide the artwork so the artist can get away with less detail in the panels. Even when the characters aren’t hidden in darkness, they don’t look that good. The biggest problem is with Leia who looks off in all the panels. My second complaint would be with Karbin who is just a direct copy of Admiral Ackbar. Rather than trying to make him look different, the artist phones it in with a movie copy of a character we’ve already seen. It’s a failure on two levels. First off, there’s a lack of creativity. None of the panels scream “new”.  There’s even a shot of R2-D2 shooting a syringe, but instead of creating a cool sci-fi looking syringe, it’s just a normal looking syringe from our own reality. It’s boring. It’s lame. It’s uncreative. But secondly, if you’re going to go the route of movie likeness, you have to really sell the photorealistic style. The artwork in this issue fails to do that as well. It’s not terrible artwork, but it’s also not the kind of artwork that earns you much in the way of praise. It gets the job done, but it doesn’t raise any eyebrows.

Vader, also cast in heavy shadow so you only have to draw half of him.

An R2 panel that looks like it’s straight out of the 70’s complete with real world syringe.

Now this panel I actually liked. The odd use of lines to add texture to the face kind of works.

As for the writing, it’s a lot better than the artwork. There’s some fun moments, and once again, the killer droids from the Darth Vader series get some of my favorite scenes. Aphra tells them to do whatever it takes to keep Karbin’s troops from capturing Vader’s prize, ala Luke, and that means wanton destruction. It’s just the situation for these two dark humored murder droids. The lightsaber fight between Karbin and Vader is nicely paced, and even though I hate Karbin and his third person speech, I rather enjoyed the fight. Han has some good moments, Luke gets to speak to Obi-Wan, Leia has a nice little speech with a good barb by Vader, and it’s just overall fun and enjoyable.

Ackbar makes an appearance! Or not. It’s actually Karbin cosplaying as Ackbar.

My favorite panel from the comic.

On that note, I do have one gripe that was quite unexpected. In the last issue, I was really looking forward to a Wookiee fight. This issue delivered, with plenty of Chewbacca versus Krrsantan action. However, I did not foresee that a Wookiee fight is a lot like a dog fight. It’s painful to watch. Seeing someone fight a Wookiee is one thing, but watching two Wookiees fight each other, you can’t help but cringe when either one of them is hurt. That’s certainly no fault of the writer, just an interesting observation. In fact I can’t think of any other time when two Wookiees have fought each other. It’s might have happened somewhere in the EU, but I certainly can’t recollect any moments.

Wookiee hugs!

While the appearance of zombie Chewbacca is very bizarre, he does look cool.

In the end, I give Star Wars #14 a four out of five metal bikinis. Even though the artwork is subpar and kind of disappointing, the writing makes up for it. It’s fun, has some good moments that really pick the story up and make it enjoyable, and it’s leading us toward the finish line in a good way. With one more issue to go with Vader Down, we’ll hopefully see the end of Karbin. Hey, I can wish can’t I?

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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