Vader Down has been a crossover event that I have been looking forward to since they were announced. This issue, Vader Down #1, kicks off the event and does not disappoint. It perfectly portrays why Darth Vader is a force not to be reckoned with. The comic has great artwork and writing and I can’t wait to see what happens next. This comic goes by really fast and there never is a dull moment.
Vader Down #1 starts with Vader in his iconic T.I.E Advanced flying in hyperspace to the planet of Vrogas Vas in hopes of finding Skywalker. The dark lord talks over the comlink to Aphra who tells him her information is correct otherwise her life will be lost. He arrives out of hyperspace only to find three squadrons of X-wing Starfighters who were in the middle of a combat drill. The rebels think it is a simple buckethead until Vader flies straight into the fighters with no hesitation. Aphra promises him she did not set up a trap when the Sith Lord senses his son on the planet below. He takes out several X-wings with ease using his blaster cannons on his fighter. The freedom fighters use all the firepower they got only to realize the Imperial craft is armed with deflector shields. They lock on to his ship with torpedoes expecting to finish the job. Vader casually raises his hand and the torpedoes explode around him causing him no damage.
Luke Skywalker enters the dogfight in his X-wing giving the other pilots confirmation it is Darth Vader piloting. Vader quickly lays waste to the surrounding fighters and gets excited to have a decent challenge. He quickly realizes that it’s Luke Skywalker piloting the craft. Luke apologizes to Artoo as he crashes the X-wing right in Vader’s T.I.E Advanced causing both to crash down on the surface of Vrogas Vas. The soldiers on the secret rebel base scramble to take out the Sith Lord. Y-Wing bombers take off to neutralize the dark lord.
Meanwhile, Leia who is with a rebel fleet gets word that Vader is vulnerable and stranded on Vrogas Vas. She tells Han, who is opposed to fighting the man that they have ran from for so long. He realizes that Luke went to that planet and hopes he is safe. He orders Chewbacca to get The Falcon ready and they start to make their way to fight the Sith.
Aphra is worried sick as she sits in her starcraft waiting for updates regarding Vader. Triple-Zero, the killer protocol droid, suggests they can always murder everyone they encounter. She starts up the ship and flies towards the fight.
Back on the planet’s surface, the Y-wings target Darth Vader. Just as you think there’s no way out for our villain, he uses the force to pick up debris and launches it at the bombers. He casually walks away from the explosion as if it’s a regular Tuesday night. Across the planet lies Luke Skywalker’s crashed X-wing at the ruins of a Jedi Temple. Luke and Artoo Detoo stand around the fallen ship and suspects Vader still lives only to be confirmed moments later by the exploding bombers in the air. He tells his droid being a Jedi can wait and he must go help his friends. The issue closes as rebel troopers and tanks surround Vader, only to have him ignite his saber and say, “All I am surrounded by is fear. And dead men.”
This issue may be my favorite Star Wars comic since the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm. This comic had me flying through each page desiring to know what happens next. This issue perfectly portrays why Vader is feared amongst the galaxy. Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato really brought their A game to this comic. The only negative I can think of is that the comic was too short for a 5 dollar special. Overall, I highly recommend this issue and I’ll give it a 9.5/10.