Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Mike Deodato
Colors: Frank Martin Jr.
Story: Jason Aaron & Kieron Gillen
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
When Darth Vader accidentally finds himself facing off against the Rebel Fleet on his own, the rebels will learn the true strength of the Dark Side of the Force! Once Vader crashes on a nearby planet, the Rebellion is willing to risk everything for this once-in-a-lifetime chance to take out one of their biggest enemies! Luke! Vader! Leia! Aphra! Han! Chewie! And all manner of Droid, good and evil!
The landmark Star Wars crossover Vader Down is finally here. The crossover has one of the best names of any event in recent memory, since everything that you need to know to get into this story is in the title. At the onset of the story, Sith Lord Darth Vader faces the Rebel troops head-on before crashing on a planet with no outside communication. Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen plot this story together, with Aaron writing this first issue.
While Aaron excels in script duties here, Gillen’s voice is ubiquitous throughout the story, shining through the patent cocky tone he has established for Vader. Given Aaron’s penchant for humor, seen in titles like Wolverine and the X-Men, the laughs come hard and fast in Vader Down, proving to be some of the strongest parts of this issue. This first installment has a lot of pieces jiggling around, as the series juggles establishing its own story while weaving in opposing arcs for the flagship Star Wars and Darth Vader comics. That said, this juggling feels effortless because of the oppositional Jedi v. Sith dichotomy established by the films.
Mike Deodato is a somewhat polarizing artist, but proves himself here because he is allowed to draw the things that he excels at, namely machines and flying space ships. His rendering of Vader himself is also stirring. I was never confused about some of the action that was taking place on the page in this issue. Aaron and Deodato’s previous collaboration on Original Sin seems to have given them a comfortable working rhythm, allowing each to bring out the other’s strengths. Frankly, I’ve never been more excited to see Deodato on a comic book.
The solo Darth Vader title is a morally complex tale with more cerebral elements and darker shades of humor than the flagship Star Wars comic. Vader Down #1 goes back-and-forth between the two tones much like the movies do at times, to a resounding success. New aspects of the Star Wars shared Universe are lovingly meshed with the original trilogy to create a stunning crossover experience. I hope Vader survives it.