Publisher/Year: Marvel, 2016
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Collects: Star Wars: Darth Vader # 16-19 and Annual #1
The volume begins by establishing the situation on Shu-Torun. Vader is betrayed by the planet’s rulers and, thus, has them all killed. The only member of the royal family he spares is the young Princess Trios, who he appoints as the new Queen. This opening chapter is a quick reminder of the Empire’s brutality and a testament to the ends they will go to in order to obtain what they want.
From here, Vader and Trios team up in order to secure her newly acquired power by stopping the rebellion taking place throughout the planet. Though the straightforward planning and direct attacks seen here differ from the more subtle maneuverings see in previous volumes, they are by no means less entertaining. In fact, seeing Vader go all out and hold nothing back is a bit of a refreshing change of pace, as he is no longer restricted by a random officer hanging around. While previous volumes could be seen as a testament to Vader’s intelligence, this volume works well as a testament to Vader’s strength.
Alongside showing off Vader, Gillen also manages to do a great job in building up the minor characters throughout this volume. This includes a betrayal from one of “the twins”, the death of the other “twin”, and some unexpected treachery from Cylo. However, the best case of character development is Queen Trios herself, who goes from a scared girl to a harsh and exacting ruler. It isn’t exactly wholesome character development but it is still a great progression, especially considering how short a time it happens over.
The Shu-Torun War‘s only major negative comes from Vader’s two maniacally comedic droids. In our review of Volume One, we talked about how these droids push the boundaries on comedy, especially when compared to the otherwise serious nature of this comic. Now, in this volume, it is more noticeable than ever. With Aphra missing, her moderation of the droid’s action is gone and they end up playing a much larger role than ever before. If you were someone who loved them from the get-go, then it is possible this negative may actually be a positive. However, I found them to be a bit too silly and distracting in an otherwise great book.
Once again, Salvador Larroca is able to deliver another beautiful looking volume of the Darth Vader series. Characters, locations, and vehicles all have a great level of detail and realism to them. The only real downside here is that the book’s plot mostly takes place underground, which does not lend itself well to overly imaginative backgrounds. However, Larroca still manages to make this work and shows a good level of creativity when drawing the various ornate palaces or complex machinery one would find in this underground world. Overall, The Shu-Torun War is another visual success for the Darth Vader series.
Darth Vader Vol. 3: The Shu-Torun War continues the story from Star War: Vader Down. Both stories take place between the movies Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope and Star Wars: Episode V- The Empire Strikes Back.