Home to the infamous Ore Barons, the world of Shu-Torun is rich in rare minerals and metals—some that can only be found upon this one world. These elements have made the Ore Barons rich beyond the basest dreams of avarice. It has also made them all the more important to Emperor Palpatine’s plans in the wake of the destruction of The Death Star.
To that end, the quotas for mining these rare metals have been increased. The corrupt Ore Barons care little for the increased strain on their workers—only that the increase in quotas has not come with an increase in payment! The Barons are asking for more money, and while there is no sign of the Shu-Torun joining the Rebel Alliance, the Ore Barons’ display of defiance is something The Emperor will not tolerate. And if The Emperor will not tolerate it, neither shall the Sith Lord Darth Vader!
Lord Vader finds himself tested as never before. Not only must he contend with the treacherous royal family of Shu-Torun (who rule only at the mercy of the Ore Barons) but he must also outwit the minions of Doctor Cylo—the cybernetics expert whose “children” continue to compete with Vader for The Emperor’s favor. Still, it is the Way of the Sith to be tested and prove your strength against those who oppose you. And those who oppose Vader shall come to know the power of The Dark Side.
The Shu-Torun War is perhaps the most political of the Star Wars: Darth Vader volumes to date. Kieron Gillen does a fantastic job establishing the political, economic and cultural systems of this single world. Despite this, Star Wars fans do not need to fear lengthy speeches on trade agreements in this volume. Lord Vader did not come to Shu-Torun to take part in the courtly dances that are all the rage among the nobility. Vader came to Shu-Torun to aggressively encourage obedience to The Empire and that’s what he does. I shan’t spoil Vader’s approach to non-violent diplomacy in the opening chapter but fans of dark (side) comedy will find much amusement in Vader’s gift to the royal family.
The story is the strongest point of the opening chapter, in which the artwork is handled by Leinil Yu. Yu is not a bad artist but the stylized approach does not fit the story at hand. The inks are far too heavy at times and obscure the detailing of the finished artwork in every panel set beyond the middle distance. Even the close-ups leave every character looking as if they are wearing heavy eye-shadow! Luckily, the series’ regular artist—the outstanding Salvador Larroca—handles the remainder of the book with his usual eye for fine detail and well-blocked fight choreography.
As with the earlier volumes in the Star Wars: Darth Vader series, this one is rated T for audiences 12 and up. It is a fair rating, with the volume containing adventure-based violence on-par with that found in the other Star Wars live-action films. There’s no sexual content or nudity and the most disturbing imagery in the artwork involves a young woman—one of Vader’s rivals—being allowed to fall into a lava pit.
Star Wars: Darth Vader, vol. 3: The Shu-Torun War
by Kieron Gillen
Art by Salvador Larroca and Leinil Yu
Marvel Comics, 2016
Publisher Age Rating: T (12+)