Collects Star Wars: Vader Down, Star Wars issues 13 and 14, Darth Vader issues 13-15.

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This was another very fun Star Wars collection from Marvel. It goes straight to action.

Vader wants to track down Luke and has a lead that he’s in a desolate planet Vrogas Vas. He and his minion Doctor Aphra (with her two bloodthirsty droids) go there… and find themselves in the middle of Rebel Base.

Three squadrons of rebel pilots are on maneuvers when Vader appears over the planet. They’re sure that they can take on a single TIE fighter and engage him. Vader shoots down most of them. Luke engages Vader and they disable each other’s ships. They both crash down to the planet.

Meanwhile, Leia and Han hear that the rebels have engaged Vader. Leia is eager to destroy the Emperor’s chief ally. Han thinks it’s suicide but because Luke is on the planet, he also heads over to help. However, on the planet, Leia is adamant that all forces must engage Vader. So, Han and Chewie search for Luke.

This was an action-packed collection but it manages to have nice character moments, too. Doctor Aphra really shows off that she’s so afraid of sliding to Vader’s bad side that she’ll do anything to stop that. Her two droids, an astromech and a protocol droid, are the evil counterparts to our heroic droids and Triple-Zero’s dialog is a twisted version of 3PO’s speech. Fun (if you like that). Vader seems to easily hold his own against the full force of the rebels and is truly a ruthless badass.

This is again set between episodes 4 and 5, so we already know that the major characters aren’t going to die and Vader’s not going to meet, no matter how much the writers almost do it. That’s part of the fun of reading stories set in this time period so it worked well for me.

It’s not necessary to read the previous collections but I recommend it, especially if you want to know more about doctor Aphra who now has her own comic.