I decided the other day that I was enjoying "Star Wars" so much that I should really also be reading "Darth Vader." So, I bought all the back issues on Comixology, and I had a great time making my way through them this weekend. Gillen is as amazing here as he was on "Young Avengers." It's a real treat.
Somehow, this issue is even better than the previous ones. We see Aphra on her own here, organizing a group of bounty hunters to steal "kerzillions" of credits from a vault on an imperial Star Cruiser. It's always fun to read an issue dedicated to a great caper, and Gillen and Larroca do a solid job of taking us through it step-by-step. Throughout the theft, I was wondering how Aphra was going to hide it from Vader, fearing for her that he would find out somehow. This concern made it all the better when it was revealed that she was doing it for Vader. Now, he not only has his own army, but his own treasury. Clever.
One of the best parts of the issue is that the bad guys are actually competent. Aphra pulls off two schemes virtually flawlessly: invading the ship in the first place and then double-crossing her bounty-hunter partners to make sure that the lion's share of the score is saved for Vader. (Sure, Tagge discovered the theft, but we don't know how yet. Given the overwhelming force that she was facing, I'm still giving Aphra credit for almost pulling off the job without the Empire noticing.) Moreover, Vader's new minder, Thanoth, proves himself "observant," and you've got to be damn good to make Vader pay you that sort of compliment. Sure, it probably means that he'll wind up dead. But, in the meantime, it's great to see Aphra and Thanoth portrayed as skilled at their professions and not the usual bumbling idiots that we usually see villains be in comic books (even the well written ones).
*** (three of five stars)