Darth Vader #3
Kieron Gillen, Writer
Salvador Barroca, Artist
Edgar Delgado, Colorist
After a slam-dunk last time out with Darth Vader #2, I’ve been eagerly waiting for the third issue’s release.
In the previous issue, a scheming Vader removed a few inconvenient obstacles in his path back to the top. Now, his plots are slowly taking form, but rather than rid himself of associates, this time the Dark Lord is looking to acquire a few allies in his quest.
Much like last month, where we observed a side of Vader we wouldn’t normally expect, we get another surprise in that he actually needs help. That help comes in the form of a not necessarily evil, but morally ambiguous “rogue archeologist”, Doctor Aphra. It seems Aphra built the droid Vader used to assist in eliminating General Tagge’s aid. As you may remember, even while destroying the poor little droid, Vader admired its ability to complete the mission.
Now, he needs more droids, among other things. This gives Gillen the opportunity to introduce evil versions of C3PO and R2-D2. These new droids share a few quirks of the more famous pair, but they are twistedly and delightfully evil. For example, the C3PO-like droid, Triple Zero, specializes in etiquette, customs, translation AND torture. For those who played the old Knights of the Old Republic game, this might be the closest we ever get to HK-47 in today’s continuity. Standing in for R2, is the “homicidal” BT-1, who is so unnerving, that even Vader preemptively activates his lightsabre when the droid is activated.
The droids are nice addition, but this issue is really about introducing Aphra to the series, and she’s given more panels than anybody else. Besides archeology, the Doctor is quite the talented thief and programmer: skills Vader is in need of. From the moment Aphra meets up with Vader, she pretty much talks and talks . . . and talks. Not only does she talk a lot, but her demeanor is obliviously disrespectful to the baddest man in the galaxy. I found it a bit annoying at first, and so does Vader, or as he says to her, “You are overly fond of speaking.” Fortunately, Gillen provides a reason for Aphra’s somewhat off-putting personality: she’s scared to death of Vader.
With his new associates in place, Darth informs Aphra is in need of additional “private resources” and “troops of unquestioning loyalty.” Aphra lets Vader know his needs can be met on the planet Geonosis (same planet Anakin Skywalker’s hand was chopped off in the Attack of the Clones. Darth Vader’s quiet reaction to Aphra’s suggestion of traveling to such a significant planet from his past is a perfect combination of writing and artwork.
With that, Vader and his new companions are off to Geonosis and Issue 4.
Debuting characters aside, things slow down in this month’s issue of Vader. He has a plot apparently in place, and now’s he’s in the process of assembling his henchperson and henchdroids.
Darth Vader not only needing assistance, but also reaching out for it is another new facet to the iconic bad guy. Of course we’ve seen him hire Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back and this comic, but his approach to Doctor Aphra seems a bit different. He clearly respects her capabilities, and almost . . . almost seems to like her in some begrudging way. I mean, he hasn’t yet force choked the woman during her nonstop chatter. That’s pretty impressive restraint from Vader.
Artwork continues to be very good, with the exception of Aphra. Her depiction is sometimes cartoony and sometimes realistic. A bit inconsistent, but not horribly so.
Not bad—pretty good actually. I loved the first two issues, and as I said, I’ve been anticipating this book. Maybe my expectations were a little too high, but this is still an outstanding addition to the series. It’s going to be interesting to see Vader continue on his quest with Aphra and company, so this will be a comic I definitely continue to read.
Tags: Aphra, BT-1, Darth Vader, Darth Vader #3, kieron gillen, Marvel, Star Wars, Triple Zero