Writer – Kieron Gillen
Artists – Lenil Yu and Salvador Larroca
Colourists – Jason Kieth and Edgar Delgado
The third graphic novel of Kieron Gillen’s series contains the Darth Vader Annual, which is set before the events of of ‘Vader Down’ and sets the events of the Shu-Torun storyline into motion when Vader wipes out the planets royal family except the youngest daughter, Trios who Vader places on the throne to rule the planet that provides a lot of resources to the Empire.
The main story follows Vader who is sent back to Shu-Torun when Queen Trios need aid to fend off a rebellion from the planets Barons who wish to overthrow the Empire’s hold over the planet.
Vader arrives as well as Doctor Cylo and his remaining abominations. Vader works closely with the twins, Aiolin and Morit in the battles until he is inevitably betrayed by them and in the battle Morit sends his sister into a pool of lava. Vader takes pity and pulls her out and she gives him a data card with evidence of Cylo’s betrayal, he has been working with the rebelling Barons to try to thwart Vader and Queen Trios. Cylo escapes before Vader can confront him.
Vader and Trios successfully thwart the Rebellion with the help of 000 and BT who reactivate the Droid soldiers Aphra found for Vader in the first volume.
Through all of this, Vader also sends Bounty Hunters to find Aphra who was captured by Leia at the end of ‘Vader Down’. In the end, after a Bounty Hunter attempts to double cross Vader with the remains of someone else (and Vader kills them) the Dark Lord receives a message from Inspector Thanoth who has found her.
The story is good and well written. With every volume Vader feels more and more like the character from the films and the artists draw him amazingly, and the colourists beautifully depict him in dark and shadowy tones and lighting that make Vader look incredibly sinister, almost like in a horror movie.
Whilst this book is great, it pales in comparison to the first volume in the series and the ‘Vader Down’ crossover, although Gillen needed to put Vader in a situation where he was able to uncover Cylo’s betrayal and vanquish more of the mad Doctor’s abominations. Although it does turn out that there is more to the Shu-Torun storyline as Gillen brings the planet and Queen Trios back during his run on the main Star Wars title.
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