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Star Wars: Darth Vader #38 Review

4 min read
The action aspect of this installment is the big draw for me here with what does because Ienco really delivers when he gets to show Vader in action

“Executor Extirpatus”

Creative Staff:
Story: Greg Pak
Art: Raffael Ienco
Colors: Federico Blee
Letterer: VCs Joe Caramagna

What They Say:
THE SCOURGE COMES FOR THE EXECUTOR! – A DARK DROIDS TIE-IN! As DARTH VADER’S Super Star Destroyer flagship faces its deadliest threat ever, the DARK LORD fights the war on two fronts – against a horde of SCOURGED DROIDS…and against the forces of THE EMPIRE itself! Featuring a rare glimpse into the true character of ADMIRAL PIETT!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The recent storyline is one that certainly makes a lot of sense to be happening amid other events between films and but it’s also feeling like it’s eating itself with all the characters involved. Greg Pak is continuing to make good use of Sabe with this new storyline but I’ll admit some of the wariness is creeping in with how long you can really do something without it getting too complicated. Unfortunately, as expected, the series is taking its swing through the Dark Droids storyline that is leaving me feeling very wary of it. With this issue, Raffael Ienco returns to the book after some time away and I couldn’t be happier as their take on Vader definitely delivers for me. His art style works well in carrying the tone and style so that it feels like a part of the big picture. Federico Blee handles the color design for their work here and that helps to bridge things together as well while also having some nicely stylish moments.

With the Vader storyline working a bit better than some of the other things going on in the Star Wars books these days, this installment is a lot of fun even as it goes into areas that frustrate. Most of it takes place on board the Executor as we see how Vader is continuing to take down the droids coming for him while his team works to fix the failsafe. It works well to show just how he handles waves of droids but also how much the overall presence wants him as the ultimate goal of the combined power of meat and metal – and the Force. I do like how his team of droids have some concerns that the failsafe will cause them to shut off as well but they are loyal and they also know not to cross Vader. It’s a strong sequence that provides for some great action as Ienco continues to capture Vader beautifully in this powerful way, especially with the weapons he’s using now while still struggling for control over the Force since the Fermata Cage incident.

What also plays out amid this is the arrival of five other Star Destroyers that are here to eliminate the Executor and Vader specifically since they serve the Grand Vizier. What helps to slow this is that the admiral here served under Piett and has some minor deference. It’s almost comical how it ends up being his own undoing but that is how the Empire is designed with its internal competitiveness instead of cooperation. It’s a great big sequence of action that again paints Vader as far too cunning and capable but it leans into the space opera elements well. As does him returning to Mustafar, both to get the droids he retains worked on as well as to visit the Eye of Webbeish Bog that I absolutely hate. It’s an awkward bit but it does serve to remind Vader that the true place of control will come from one who has survived so much more and that he calls master. Getting all of this to connect to how their dynamic is in the sixth film will be interesting to watch in the issues to come.

In Summary:
The action aspect of this installment is the big draw for me here with what does because Ienco really delivers when he gets to show Vader either using the Force or just being so physical in his approach to opponents. It has the kind of impact and presence few other Jedi or Sith have been capable of having on the page and it delivers well for me. Pak keeps things moving well and allows the visuals to shine but slides enough character material in, particularly with the Imperial elements themselves, so that it has a wicked sense of humor about it. Definitely a solid issue and one that reinforces the positives of this storyline for me when it comes to the scourge or whatever it’s calling itself as it seeks out the best home to operate out of. You can’t do much better than Vader himself, considering its origins.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: September 13th, 2023
MSRP: $3.99

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