Darth Vader’s search for the pilot who blew up the Death Star continues, and there’s about to be a big break in the investigation.  But will the truth be to his liking?  Your Major Spoilers review of Darth Vader #10 awaits!

DarthVader10CoverDARTH VADER #10
Writer: Keiron Gillen
Artist: Salvador LaRocca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Jordan D. White
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Darth Vader: :”It is a period of uncertainty.  After the destruction of the Death Star by a Force-strong rebel pilot, the Sixth Lord Darth Vader has taken it upon himself to discover the pilot’s true identity under the Empire’s ever-watchful eye.  Using the expertise of archaeologist and droid expert Doctor Aphra and a carefully selected crew of bounty hunters, Vader looted a stash of credits from an Imperial cruiser under the guise of an accident.  However, Vader’s new adjutant Inspector Thanoth knows that all is not what is seems and plans to investigate the situation further…”

THE SEARCH FOR A MYSTERIOUS PILOT

We open this issue with a seriously unfortunate Ortolan (one of the blue guys with the elephant ears, like Max Rebo from Jabba’s palace band) being interrogated by the Dark Lord Of The Sith himself.  The poor schmuck agrees that he will tell anything and everything, including the names of the people who sold him armaments, only to find that to be the information Vader doesn’t WANT him to spout.  One sabre-slash later, and it’s all over for the hilariously-named Dragon, but things are still tense for Vader himself, as his unusually adept adjutant and possessor of epic pirate beard, Thanoth, suspects that something is up with the cyborg.  Thanoth proves himself up to Vader’s level of awesome in this issue, and it’s clear that he has machinations of his own in play.  At the same time, Vader’s operative Doctor Aphra (the awesome-looking woman from the cover) makes her way to Naboo to discover whether or not Padme Amidala ever had a child.  Thanks to the brutal talents of her droids, Triple Zero and BT-1, she gets the information she wants, and as the issue ends, the former Anakin Skywalker finally confirms the truth about a possible heir to Naboo…

ACTION, ADVENTURE AND EEEVIL

It’s often difficult for writers to effectively create stories about the villains, especially a villain as powerful and frightening as Vader, without somehow watering-down or damaging the character’s mystique.  (For instance, as much as I enjoy some of Geoff Johns work, his use of Luthor and Captain Cold in ‘Justice League’ has felt off the mark for me, as neither villain seems to be in those stories.)  Gillen works a difficult balance here in Vader’s own book, as most of this issue is dedicated to Aphra’s story, and his portion of the book is mostly carefully done sparring with Thanoth, who is excellent crafted to feel like a worthy antagonist.  Most importantly, though, this issue’s art is top-notch, featuring a protocol droid identical to C-3PO, technology and architecture that feels appropriate to the setting, and most of all, a Vader who is picture-perfect from ‘Star Wars,’ all combining to give the story real heft and visual drama.  Add to that the wheels-within-wheels that come from villains doing villain stuff with villains, and you’ve got an entertaining read from start to finish.

THE BOTTOM LINE: FEELS LIKE STAR WARS

Probably the biggest compliment I can pay this issue is that it feels like Star Wars, something that I can’t always say about SW expanded universe comics, even the ones that take great cares to play within established lines.  Darth Vader #10 is pretty much great, with great care taken to keep the main character mysterious, evil and intimidating, all the while populating the rest of the pages with fascinating characters and interesting plot, earning a well-deserved 4 out of 5 stars overall.  If you don’t read this, he’ll find your lack of faith blah blah blah Star Wars joke…

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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