With as many tales that have already been spun in the entire STAR WARS Universe, how does Dark Horse do it? How do they keep upping the ante with each new issue of the STAR WARS title being penned by scribe Brian Wood? Seriously, there’s been no end to great little moments in this run – now in its fourteenth issue – and this one manages to deliver much of the same. To be precise, it actually dials up the tension further than expected as some dark secrets indeed come into the light, and the needed knowledge is finally in Darth Vader’s hands.
(NOTE: the following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
With a squad of elite Stormtroopers in tow, Vader has taken leave of his command within the greater Imperial structure, shunning the demands of the Emperor himself in order to run off on a personal errand of much import. He’s shanghaied a young officer – Ensign Nanda – to do some of the dirty work, but, before all is over, the Sith Lord will be served up with perhaps his greatest awakening since his fall twenty (or so) years previous in the events depicted in STAR WARS: EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH. Now with full understanding of the stakes before him, Vader returns to Coruscant to put his own destiny back into the hands of his master.
Wood’s writing continues to propel this series into corners fans have long only imagined – where did this happen? When did that happen? Who put this into motion? etc. – and it’s been nothing short of inspired. Like those original films (or certainly much in the way THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK played out), the tale has become a galactic chess match with pieces constantly in motion as a certain Jedi Master once told us. There may not be a lot of grand character development, but what there is is great serial writing building on established mythology while tweaking new avenues worth further pursuit. Plus, issue #14 feels very much as though it’s bringing a suitable conclusion to the whole “What happened with any survivors of Alderaan?” that has been toyed with previously. I’m not sure that there’s anything more to that angle: Wood has surprised me before, so I’ll be here if he chooses to do it again.
STAR WARS #14 (Ongoing) is published by Dark Horse Comics. The story is written by Brian Wood; the pencils are by Facundo Percio; the inks are by Dan Parsons; the colors are by Gabe Eltaeb; and the lettering is by Michael Heisler. STAR WARS was originally created by George Lucas. It all comes with a cover price of $2.99 an issue, and that is the best bang for your buck in all of the Outer Rim worlds, my friend.
HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION POSSIBLE. Vader finally puts all of the pieces to the puzzle before him together, and then returns to Coruscant on bended knee in order to get back into the good graces of the evil Emperor Palpatine. The conclusion of this two-issue arc (which began in the last published installment) delivered as it promised: “Five Days of Sith.” Revelations were made, and an all-new character (Ensign Nanda) entered the mythology … but all of the real action was precisely where it should be: on the Dark Lord of the Sith himself. Jump aboard this story before it comes to an end, my friends, and you’ll be glad you took my advice.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Dark Horse Comics provided me with a digital reading copy of STAR WARS #14 (Ongoing) by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.