Monday, May 9, 2016

Darth Vader #15 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Favorite Quote:  "Leia!  I knew you'd never abandon us.  I mean, me."  "As if I could ever get rid of you this easily."  -- Han and Leia, with the banter

This event has been a bit uneven, veering from the hilariously chaotic to the confusingly vague.  But, Gillen sticks the landing, showing the emotional impact that it's had on the characters and, therefore, making it clear that it was definitely a "moment" in their lives.  In so doing, it also fleshes out some of the details about these lives that we've all craved.

For all her commitment as a commander in the issue -- where she told Han that she was willing to sacrifice Luke to take down Vader -- Leia is unable to do so as a soldier.  When Threepio describes the dire circumstances that her friends face, she passes up the opportunity to take out Vader, since she can't get pulled into his fight with Karbin:  she has other fights that she now has to win.  (Namely, she has to punch out Aphra as she's holding the guys hostage.)

In many ways, this issue is LaRocca's.  The pivotal moments all come by his hand.  He conveys the conflicting emotions that Leia feels as she contemplates taking out Vader but then finding her dead friends' corpses if she doesn't respond to Threepio's call for help.  He gets across Karbin's surprise to find himself in the middle of a trap himself, using a full page to show how small he is compared to Aphra's ship as it slams into him.  Finally, he makes clear the threat that Vader poses all on his own, standing on a rock outcropping, his cape whipping around him, and using the Force to take down the shuttle transporting Luke to Karbin's ship.

In the end, Vader is definitely the worse for the wear after this event.  Most direly, he's lost Aphra to the Rebels.  Although she did her best in this issue to try to win back his trust -- lest he think that she really did lead him into that Rebel fleet at the start of the event -- it's hard to see him ever trusting her after she spends some time answering the Rebels' questions about him.  That said, he has managed to defeat Karbin, striking off one more enemy from his list.  But, for a guy with a list as long as Vader's, does it really matter?

Meanwhile, Luke is similarly in a dark place.  Before this event began, he escaped Nar Shadda with only Ben's journal.  For reasons that aren't entirely clear to me, he leaves Vrogas Vas believing that he'll never be able to return to explore the Temple.  (Seriously, he couldn't just return after the Empire's troops leave?)  But, Gillen also makes it clear why Ben was so concerned that Luke would find the Temple last issue:  the last scene -- of Vader watching Luke depart on the Falcon -- makes it clear that Luke would've learned the truth about his father.  I have to agree with Ben, that he wasn't ready to learn that.  But, it also means that Luke has lost more answers about his -- and the Jedis' -- past than he even knows.

*** (three of five stars)

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