Darth Vader (2020) #16 Review

by NumidianPrime on September 17, 2021

Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Raffaele Ienco
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel

In the latest installment of the Darth Vader series' tie-in with the War of the Bounty Hunters event, Vader has successfully taken possession of Han Solo's frozen body and used it to bait Luke into his trap. The only obstacles that could stand in the way between him and his quarry now are the enemies he's made in his recent maneuvers: Administrator Sly Moore and Bokku the Hutt.

I've been fairly critical of the way Vader was incorporated into this event from the start but I was admittedly happier with how this issue handled his presence than how I was with the previous ones. The earlier issues presented Vader as having some kind of personal vendetta against Han that I never really bought into. This issue instead shows Vader simply using Han as a tool to lure Luke to him, which is much more in line with the characters, considering it's how Han ended up in carbonite in the first place. I think I would have enjoyed this arc more if they had framed Vader's motivations this way from the start, but I'm at least glad to see it now. 

Aside from Vader's presence in the event, I was also a little concerned about how an encounter between Luke and Vader in this time period would be handled without undermining their reunion in Return of the Jedi. I'm happy with it being limited to ship-to-ship combat, at least so far, and I like what the encounter has done for Luke's character. If the last issues continue with this direction, I think I'll feel better about Vader's involvement in the overall crossover.

I'm also always glad to see that the normal staples of the series don't get lost in the chaos of all these big events. Ochi continues to be far and away my favorite part of this series, and this issue does give him a few good moments. Sly Moore and Booku are interesting antagonists and I like the active role they play in shaping both the arc of this series and the crossover. The flashbacks that have annoyed me in some previous issues are limited to the opening here, where they mostly work with some nice artistic style from Ienco. 

Some repetitive moments from other issues of the crossover can get a little tiring for those keeping up with everything, but overall this was a pretty solid installment in the stories of both the crossover and the series. We draw closer and closer to the end of this crossover and I'm looking forwarrd to seeing the impact it has on the rest of this run. This series has had its ups and downs for me but if it can maintain this pace and tone, I think it could end up as a well-regarded chapter in the life of Darth Vader.  

Our Score:


A Look Inside