Star Wars: Darth Vader #15 by Greg Pak

Star Wars: Darth Vader #15 (Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-))Star Wars: Darth Vader #15 (Star Wars: Darth Vader by Greg Pak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is cracking stuff!

Both the art and the writing are top notch. Vader’s presence is felt throughout the comic, despite him not being physically present for much of it. Instead a plot is woven which, on the surface, seems to be about finding out who Bokku the Hutt is working with. However, this story isn’t really about testing Bokku’s loyalties, it’s about testing the loyalties of Ochi of Bestoon. After all, he was originally hired to kill Vader, so it’s understandable that Vader would want to test him to find out if he can really trust him…or, at least, rely on him to be loyal.

As I said, the writing is great, as it has been throughout Pak’s run, and Ienco doesn’t fail to deliver artistically either. The cover art by Aaron Kuder also feels suitable iconic.

This book has been consistently excellent and this issue is no exception.

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Star Wars: Darth Vader #14 by Greg Pak

Star Wars: Darth Vader #14 (Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-))Star Wars: Darth Vader #14 (Star Wars: Darth Vader by Greg Pak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is more excellent work from Pak. One of the things I’ve always loved about the Star Wars books and comics is their ability to take relatively obscure characters we only got a glimpse of in the movies and flesh them out into interesting characters with fully formed lives of their own. This issue does that with Chancellor Palpatine’s Umbaran aide, Sly Moore.

The force sensitive Sly has been trying to assassinate Darth Vader, presumably so that she might take his place as Palpatine’s apprentice, and her most recent unsuccessful attempt has led to her being demoted. Yet another attempt on Vader’s life results in her decision to try and work with him, by attending Crimson Dawn’s auction for Han Solo. But, as ever, Vader is one step ahead of her and is clearly manipulating the whole situation for his own ends.

It’s a good decision to give us another character from within the Emperor’s inner circle to view Vader through. Usually we see him from the point of view of his enemies, but rarely from a rival. Not that Moore is anywhere near Vader’s league!

Pak continues to find new and interesting ways to explore the character of Darth Vader, which is a huge challenge considering the almost countless movies, TV shows, novels and comics that have been written about him over the years.

The art, by Raffaele Ienco, is the usual high standard we’ve come to expect from this book.
All in all this is an excellent comic in what has, so far, been a truly outstanding run.

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Star Wars: Darth Vader #13 by Greg Pak

Star Wars: Darth Vader #13 (Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-))Star Wars: Darth Vader #13 (Star Wars: Darth Vader by Greg Pak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Greg Pak continues to do an excellent job of tying all three trilogies together while offering us some real deep cuts into the existing continuity and serving up bit of extreme fan service in Vader vs IG-88.

This was not a fight I thought I needed to see, but here we are, and it was epic. Vader’s continued search for Han Solo, because he believes he’ll lead him to Luke, winds up in a confrontation with the Droid Crush, who just so happen to be working with IG-88. Once again I find myself wondering about the time gap between that little scene with all the bounty hunters on the bridge of the Executor and this. But, as I said before, the time it would have taken the Falcon to fly from the Anoat system to Bespin probably accounts for that (and, don’t forget, Luke did ALL of his Jedi training with Yoda in the same time gap).

Anyway, as fun as this is, the real meat was saved to the end. Who would have thought anyone would have ever done anything with Sly Moore, eh? I can’t wait for the next issue…

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Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #12 by Greg Pak

Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #12Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #12 by Greg Pak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Prelude to the War of the Bounty Hunters continues, and as is the way with preludes, nothing of great significance really happens. But that doesn’t mean this comic isn’t great, because it is.

Instead we get a lot of insight into the way Vader sees Luke. We see him wondering if the pain he caused him on Cloud City has made him stronger, and concluding that it hasn’t because Luke’s reliance on his friends makes him week. Thus Vader’s seeming obsession with Han Solo, because his friendship is weakening his son…so he can’t use his son to defeat Palpatine.

Indeed, Vader has now concluded that due to what he’s seen on Exegol, Palpatine cannot be defeated, and therefore Luke needs to die. Of course, we know that he ultimately comes to a different conclusion and is redeemed (spoilers for Return of the Jedi!).

The writing is, as ever, phenomenal, and the art is great. Darth Vader continues to be the evry best when it comes to Star wars comics.

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Star Wars: Darth Vader #11 by Greg Pak

Star Wars: Darth Vader #11Star Wars: Darth Vader #11 by Greg Pak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Vader finally reaches Exegol and confronts his master in a battle that is, quite simply, epic. It involves giant Lovecraftian horrors and hordes of Sith acolytes and, yes please, this is what I want from visits to Exegol.

We also get to see that Palpatine is already working on Snoke and the Sith fleet, and that he has someone’s severed hand in a jar. Oh, I wonder who that could possibly belong to… I suspect that this is simply an Easter egg and that nothing will come of Palpatine apparently having Luke’s hand…but you never know. Still, it’s not like Star Wars fans to wildly speculate over the meaning of one tiny detail…

The art is superb and the writing is top notch. I’ve really enjoyed this deep dive into the nature of Vader and Palpatine’s twisted relationship. What we’re seeing is that Vader’s betrayal at the end of RotJ didn’t come out of nowhere, but whereas his tendency towards betraying his master previously came from a place of rage and hatred, in RotJ it comes from a place of love…from the Light Side, and that’s why he succeeds that time. I think.

This series so far has beautifully woven together aspects of all three trilogies, which is no mean feat.

It’s a shame that our visit to Exegol is being cut short by the impending War of the Bounty Hunters, but hopefully that will prove just as rewarding.

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Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #10 by Greg Pak

Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #10Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #10 by Greg Pak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A slightly frustrating issue as, despite being expertly written and drawn, it doesn’t get where we want to go until the final page. I was promised Exegol, dammit!

This is one disadvantage to reading a series like this in single issues, rather then in trade paperback form. Issues like this, which basically serve to move us from the end of the previous issue to the start of the next, feel somewhat unsatisfying. In tpb format that’s not a problem because you can just keep reading, but as single issues…I now have to wait.

Still, there’s good stuff here, with Vader taking on a giant, Lovecraftian space squid. That’s not something you get to type every day…

Oh, and I’ve just realised that Ochi definitely survives all of this because he ultimately dies on Pasana.

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Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #9 by Greg Pak

Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #9Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #9 by Greg Pak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We’re all going…to Exegol!

But, not quite yet, first Vader has to fight some droids that Ochi has called in to hunt him down, who then turn on Ochi when Vader starts slaughtering them. You see, they taunt Vader that his flesh is weak, that it’s failed him and they’re now going to steal his parts…but then they realise that his mechanical parts are nothing special. What makes him special is his flesh…and his connection to the Force. What this comic is saying is that he is NOT more machine now than man (and with that epiphany I changed my score from four starts to five…damn Pak’s good).

And so to Exegol…next issue…maybe…if Vader doesn’t get eaten by space Cthulhu first…

I’ve said it before and I’ll no doubt say it again, I absolutely love what Pak’s doing with this series, tying all three trilogies together. It’s work like this which will ultimately make me love The Rise Of Skywalker as much as the rest of the Saga. And, quite frankly, I can’t wait till we get to Exegol.

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Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #8 by Greg Pak

Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #8Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #8 by Greg Pak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve said many times before that the strength of this series is the way in which Pak is weaving together elements from the original trilogy, the prequels and the sequels, but here he goes further than that, including a character from the cutting room floor of The Rise Of Skywalker, although they remain in the novelisation (which I really must read)…The Eye Of Webbish Bogg.

The Eye seems to be a sort of Sith oracle who Vader visits seeking answers, but The Eye provides him with nothing but questions…and a Sith wayfinder. Which presumably means we’ll be heading to Exegol soon…which I’m very exited about. I may have my criticisms of The Rise Of Skywalker, but I still want to see more of this ancient Sith world!

Pak continues to tie the entire saga together wonderfully in this series and Raffaele Ienco’s art compliment his story wonderfully.

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Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #7 by Greg Pak

Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #7Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #7 by Greg Pak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, this is superb, and as I said in my review of #6, I love that Pak is weaving elements from the Prequel and Sequel trilogies into this series, which sis et during the original trilogy.

But he seems to be taking things a step further here. Not only do we have Ochi of Bestoon, assassin of the Sith, whose body was found by Rey and the gang in The Rise Of Skywalker…but we also have a strange creature from the concept art from…well, I’m pretty sure it’s from Duel Of The Fates, Colin Trevorrow’s original take on Episode IX (the script for which was actually one of the first reviews I posted on GoodReads). Either way, this creature certainly appears in the Art Of Episode IX book.

Star Wars beyond the movies, in my opinion, is often at its best when it’s drawing from the concept art for the series, and I’m looking forward to seeing where Pak’s going here.

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Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #6 by Greg Pak

Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #6Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #6 by Greg Pak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

so far Pak has brilliantly linked the Prequels with a Vader comic set during the original trilogy, between Empire and Jedi. Now he’s linking to the Sequel trilogy, which is likely to prove controversial with some fans, but is providing much needed connective tissue to the Saga as a whole.

Returning from his quest to find out the truth of what happened to Padme, Vader is now on the receiving end of some harsh punishment from Palpatine. This essentially takes the form of him reliving his mutilation and abandonment on Mustafar. Which seems harsh, but, you know…Palpatine’s gonna Palpatine.

And then we have that last page reveal and…well…I’m not going to spoil it for you, but I certainly wasn’t expecting that.

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