Darth Vader, enforcer of the Galactic Empire, has learned
that Luke Skywalker was the rebel pilot responsible for blowing
up the Death Star.
New to the ways of the Force, Luke has discovered the
journal of Ben Kenobi and has begun investigating any
information he can on the Force-using Jedi Knights and their ways.
Through the underworld sources of his secret ally, Dr. Aphra,
Vader has received word of Luke's location-the former Jedi temple on the planet
While chasing Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader crashes on a remote planet that happens to be a Rebel training camp. The entire Rebel Alliance converges on him to try and rid themselves of one of their greatest foes. But Vader still has a few allies of his own...
The crossover event spans the following issues:
- Star Wars: Vader Down (Part 1): a one-shot special issue.
- Star Wars: Darth Vader #13
- Star Wars #13
- Star Wars: Darth Vader #14
- Star Wars #14
- Star Wars: Darth Vader #15
Star Wars: Vader Down provides examples of:
- Ace Pilot: Vader's status as one is reaffirmed here; the first scene shows Vader coming out of hyperspace to Vrogas Vas right into the middle of a training Rebel Fleet. Despite being alone and unprepared for them, Vader single-handedly destroys three squadrons of fighters. The only thing to stop him is Luke ramming his X-Wing directly into Vader's TIE to bring them both crashing to the surface.
- Arc Villain: Commander Karbin sets the events of this arc into motion, with using an informant to give Aphra info on Luke's whereabouts- which albeit accurate, don't mention that he's with several squadrons of fighters, thus leading Vader into a trap. After Vader has done most of the job of wiping out the Rebel forces, he swoops in with an army to clean-up, kill Vader if he's alive, and take all the credit for himself.
- An Arm and a Leg: During a standoff between Dr. Aphra and Han Solo, Chewbacca enters the situation by ripping off Triple-Zero's arms. Later on Triple-Zero, with help from Beetee, does this to C3PO so he can return to action with replacements.
- As Long as There is One Man: Leia, with her back against the wall, gives a speech along these lines to Vader.
- Attack Reflector: Like always, Vader and Luke's lightsabers can deflect laser fire back at the people firing on them. In tune with Vader's ridiculously upgraded show of power in this event, at one point he deflects a massive blast from a tank with no more effort or care than standard blaster fire.
- Badass Boast: Vader is full of them. From responding to dozens of X-Wings coming his way and Aphra's worries that he should retreat with "I am a lord of the Sith- they are the ones who should be running." to responding to an entire Rebel army surrounding him to drop his weapon with "All I am surrounded by is fear, and dead men."
- Call-Back: Chewie makes good on Han's threat in A New Hope of ripping arms right out of sockets. Which he does to Triple-Zero. And beats him with it. LET THE WOOKIE WIN.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Darth Vader alone against hundreds of Rebel infantrymen, speeders, tanks and fighters. They never had a chance.
- Double Knockout: Han Solo and Dr. Aphra knock each other out when they both notice the other is taking cover under a nest of wasp-worms, which they shoot down, before running into each other trying to swat off the creatures.
- The Dreaded: Vader is stranded, alone, and facing everything the Rebel Alliance is willing to throw at him and they are the ones scared of him.
- Dual Wielding: Commander Karbin from Vader's book, who was designed in-universe to be General Grievious 2.0. Vader demonstrates that when you're an actual Force user, one saber is all you need.
- Foregone Conclusion: The Rebels' campaign to destroy Vader is destined to fail, as are the villains' efforts to capture Luke.
- Ghost Planet: The planet Vader crashes on, Vrogas Vas, seems to be full of wastelands, ruined buildings and the remnants of a Jedi Temple.
- The Gloves Come Off: According to writers, now that's Vader's only concern is his own survival, he's more dangerous than he's ever been portrayed in the new continuity. He showcases this with such feats as deflecting a tank blast, and detonating an entire front line of rebel troops' thermal detonators with the Force simultaneously.
- Godzilla Threshold: Vader gets this reaction twice. Luke and Leia both are willing to commit likely suicidal actions for the chance to bring him down.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: Chewie tears Triple-Zero's arm out and violently beats him with it until the protocol droid manages to inject him with Mandalorian poison.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Leia's plan, once Vader slaughters the entire Rebel army sent to take him down, is to lure him to her position and then have the spot blasted into oblivion by reinforcements, which would result in both of their deaths.
- "Hey, You!" Haymaker: How Leia captures Aphra at the end.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Each of Aphra's team is eliminated in this way - Aphra is knocked out by the same tactics she tried to use to flush Han out of cover, Three-Zero's obsession with torture getting him sidetracked with his plans to cut Chewie into pieces leads to his own arms getting chopped off, and Beetee is blinded by Artoo's oil, causing him to misfire and blow all three of them away.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: When Artoo attempts to scare Beetee away from an unconscious Luke with his electric prod, Beetee demonstrates the size of his own internal arsenal- including several rocket launches, a flamethrower, multiple miniguns, several regular blasters and missiles.
- Hypocritical Humor: Both Han and Aphra deride the other for not noticing that they've taken cover right beneath a Wasp-worm hive... at the same time. Hilarity Ensues.
- Mass "Oh, Crap!": When the Rebel Army surrounds Vader, even before he draws his lightsaber, they're all clearly freaking out, terrified to even attempt to take him on.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: Aphra is worrying about how to get Vader to safety and convince him this mess wasn't a deliberate set-up. Triple Zero suggests they just murder everyone they encounter. He's found that to be the "most elegant solution" to any possible problem.
- No One Gets Left Behind: When Han finds out that Leia and the Rebellion Command don't intend to send people out to even confirm if Luke survived his crash into Vader's TIE, reasoning that any speeder they could send out could be the one thing to tip the balance in their favor and finally bring in Vader, he's furious, and sets out with Chewie and the Falcon to find him, capturing Vader be damned.
- One-Man Army: As the solicitation for Darth Vader Issue 13 puts it: "Vader vs. All the Rebels... its not a fair fight!" In the first issue, when Leia learns that Vader is stranded on Vrogas Vas, she and General Dodona agree that the one company stationed there isn't enough- and decided to send an entire fleet with a battalion of back-up soldiers.
- Pineapple Surprise: While there aren't actually pins to pull on Thermal Detonators in Star Wars, Vader manages the same effect when the Rebel Army demands he surrender- he uses the Force to lift all the grenades they are carrying and detonate them, decimating the front line infantry.
- The Psycho Rangers: R2-D2 and C-3P0 meet their Evil Counterparts, BT-1 and Triple Zero and Chewbacca fights the Wookiee bounty hunter, Black Krrsantan. Han Solo also comes into contact with Doctor Aphra.
- Ramming Always Works:
- Luke realizes that the Rebels above Vrogas Vas don't have enough ships to take Vader in the air, so he rams into him to strand him on the planet, buying the Alliance time to converge on their location.
- When the Millennium Falcon tries to take off to rescue Leia, Black Krrsantan rams his ship into it, forcing it back down to the ground, so that he can kill Han and Chewie and take Luke for Aphra.
- Doctor Aphra rams her ship into Commander Karbin.
- Shut Up, Kirk!: Vadar's response to Leia's defiant speech is that he's not fighting a war, just carrying out a series of executions. And Leia's is long overdue.
- Subverted Catch Phrase: C-3PO gets halfway through saying he has a bad feeling about the mission. Han assures him that they all do.
- Title Drop: In the first issue, as word of Vader's crash is sent out.
- True Companions: Han Solo couldn't be less interested in chasing after Darth Vader, considering how close their past run-ins with him have been. At least, until he learns Luke is already there and thus in-danger- then he and Chewie are immediately leading the Rebel reinforcements' jump to Vrogas Vas.
- Use Your Head: Chewbacca's fight with fellow wookiee Black Krrsantan has him headbutting the former when he has Chewbacca on a crushing bearhug. Black Krrsantan then answers with one of his own.
- Villainous Rescue: When Vader sees the now-deceased Karbin's troops taking Luke in a shuttle back to the Emperor, he knocks the shuttle out of the air with the Force. Beetee then snipes the Royal Guards who were escorting Luke so they won't go chasing after him.
- Villain Protagonist: Like the title indicates, Darth Vader is the focus character.
- Villain Respect: Before even realizing that Luke is the sole X-Wing pilot who eludes getting destroyed and is fearlessly coming head-on towards him, Vader comments: "Finally. A pilot worth killing."
- Xanatos Gambit: Commander Karbin sees the whole conflict as this. Either the Rebels kill Darth Vader, making his job of proving himself worthy as Vader's successor to the Emperor significantly easier and thus he wins, or Darth Vader slaughters the Rebels stationed at Vrogas Vas, possibly killing Princess Leia and other Rebel leaders in the process, weakening his primary enemy in the galaxy. What actually happens is that Vader ends up personally killing him.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Given that Aphra is an Evil Counterpart for Indiana Jones, there's the Obligatory Joke when both she and Han Solo simultaneously get attacked by a swarm of Wasp-worms.
- Zerg Rush: The Rebel Alliance sending the whole of their forces to the planet Vader crashed on in hopes of taking him out once and for all.